London may not be under-endowed with luxury hotels, but until now they have tended to cluster around Mayfair and Park Lane. So Four Seasons’ decision to open its second London five-star on the eastern edge of the City financial district, midway between the West End and the investment banks of Canary Wharf, marks a striking shift in the capital’s centre of gravity.
Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square occupies the former headquarters of the Port of London Authority, a grand Beaux-Arts building overlooking the Tower of London, which stood in for MI6 in Skyfall. Built between 1912 and 1922, when London was the greatest seaport in the world, it exudes Edwardian self-confidence, with an opulent marble lobby and walnut-panelled reception rooms that have been carefully restored to their former glory in a six-year, multimillion-pound programme of rebuilding and renovation.
The interiors of the 100-room hotel (which also has 41 serviced apartments that span the top four floors of the building) were designed by Bruno Moinard and Claire Betaille of Paris-based 4BI et Associés, whose previous work includes the Cartier boutique on Central Park and the rooms at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. The centrepiece, quite literally, is the Rotunda, a glitzy circular lounge in the middle of the building, whose shallow gold-ribbed dome is supported by barley-sugar columns, and surrounded by a series of relief murals intended to evoke the maritime heritage of the site.
Two restaurants open off the lobby: La Dame de Pic, the first British offering from the French-based three-Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic, with an equally upscale Asian restaurant designed by Hong Kong’s AB Concept to follow later this year.
Downstairs is the 1,680 sq m day spa, designed in a neo-Roman style by Joseph Caspari, includes eight treatment rooms, a hammam and a 14m pool. More unusually, the ground floor is where you’ll find the nine Heritage Suites, their location capitalising on the original five-metre-high ceilings and period detailing. These open in May along with the third-floor Presidential Suite, which offers dining for eight and a small private terrace – though our vote goes to the Executive Rooms for their winning combination of size and more contemporary design. Eastward ho!