While this hotel is not in a charming, historic residential neighbourhood, it is certainly well-positioned for enjoying the east side of London. A short walk will get you to the Jubilee Line or DLR, but I recommend using the Thames Clippers boat service that leaves from a pier close to the hotel and will get you to the West End in half an hour. The Tower of London, Spitalfields Market, Maritime Greenwich and the O2 Arena are all within easy reach - along with the huge indoor shopping malls of Canary Wharf.
The hotel has eight floors and the guest rooms include 14 suites. Some are classed as 'City View' and look onto the far from exciting Westferry Road - but honestly, the additional charge for a 'River View' is not that great and it is definitely worth getting a room that looks onto the Thames. Most of these have wood-framed picture windows to help you drink in the skyline views and watch the boats come and go, while the amenities include the famously comfortable Four Seasons king-size bed, a separate bath and shower, minibar, safe and DVD player. The higher the floor the better the view, but note the eighth is for smokers.
The lobby is a grand, airy affair with a central purple-carpeted 'floating' staircase and pillars faced with sculpted white blocks full of symbols that could contain some coded message - or maybe not. Part of it is given over to Bar Quadrato where you can get drinks and Afternoon Tea.
Eating and drinking
Adjacent to the lobby is the classy Quadrato restaurant specialising in northern Italian cuisine. It is generally busiest at breakfast and lunchtime as it attracts non-residents coming in for that power-meeting. In summer it has some outside tables, and both the food and ambience are of a high standard. If you don't want to venture out for dinner you will be well served here, or consider booking a table at The Battery next door, which sits on top of a Phillippe Starck-designed tower and has panoramic river views. A good à la carte breakfast is served here (although on Sunday there is a buffet).
Between the hotel and the river is a gleaming, standalone glass-walled Virgin Active health club that adds a touch of theatre to proceedings. You have to walk across to the entrance, but guests have complimentary admission and the facilities include a 20 metre infinity-edge swimming pool plus spa pools and steam rooms. The hotel also has a well-equipped, unstaffed fitness centre on the second floor that is open 24 hours.
I find the smartly-uniformed staff working in reception and the lobby to be very on the ball - think doormen in bowler hats and receptionists who spontaneously offer a bottle of water if you're heading to the gym. Service in the restaurant is brisk and attentive, if a little cold.
Who stays there
Primarily business travellers with work to do in Canary Wharf or the City. However the hotel has such a great riverside position, and good transport links, it is worth considering for a leisure trip, particularly in the summer. The Four Seasons brand is also family friendly - for example the hotel runs a 'Gen Y' package specifically created for guests travelling with teenagers.
Rates generally exclude VAT and breakfast (Continental £19.50, English £25, excluding service). Rooms are normally cheaper at weekends. There is a charge for WiFi and parking.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Families with teenagers
- Sporty types
- Great views / scenery
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Large indoor swimming pool
- Superb river views
- In a business district
- Corporate feel