I have had some wonderful birthdays in my time, but of the years that I have seen in a new decade none have been so memorable as my stay at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. Having previously eaten and sampled some rather fine cocktails at Amaranto and experienced a slice of heaven in the Spa I knew I was in for treat, but it seemed that even my very high expectations were too modest for this hotel and its exemplary staff; for this hotel only the best would do.
Home to nearly eight million inhabitants and hosting leisure visitors, businesses, celebrities and diplomats from around the globe, London is truly the crossroads of the world. From business to art to sport, the city is global in reach, but with distinctly English traditions and it was on a traditionally English wet and windy summer day that Emily, my guest, and I made our way to the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. This hotel is chic in design and offers global travellers the highest degree of efficiency and modern accommodation just off the iconic Hyde Park. Recently refurbished, this hotel is the epitome of sophistication and, in this hotel, sophistication is sexy. Pierre-Yves Rochon, the interior designer of the many a 5-star hotel, has combined deep red leather with black lacquer and magnificent chandeliers of Swarovski crystal to form an elegant yet alluring interior. Entering the grand, flower-filled lobby, somewhat bedraggled from the weather, we soon relaxed as we were greeted warmly at reception, where the staff knew instantly who we were (what can I say, this Lady loves Park Lane!). Check in was efficient and friendly, we even had a chance to say a quick hello to the lovely Gerrie, Director of Public Relations for the hotel. After check-in we were shown to our room and, ascending to our floor in the seductive red padded elevator, we were taken down the winding corridor to none other than the Presidential Suite, the top suite in this hotel, and upon entering you could see why. Perfectly located at the end of the hotel, overlooking Park Lane and the garden of the restaurant below, Emily and I were speechless.
As you enter the suite you pass through the reception area with guest bathroom to the palatial living room with office space which has breathtaking views of Park Lane and Hyde Park thanks to the floor to ceiling wrap around windows. Off the main living area is an opulent dining room with bar, dressed in tones of grey and silver, with dark polished services and classic sculptures, it has the feel of a French country chateau and we enjoyed a rather magnificent breakfast here the following morning, papers in hand and robe-clad. Through a door on the opposite side of the living area is the master bedroom, also with views of Park Lane and beyond. Decorated in muted tones of burgundy and cream it is warm and inviting, just like the king sized bed with crisp white linen. The main bathroom is located through a glass door in the master bedroom, with separate WC and a rather large bath, waterfall shower and much to my surprise a TV in the mirror, perfect for catching up on the politics while taking a bubble bath with the luxurious Roja Dove products. As if this was not enough, through another glass door and the walk-in dressing room, was a semi secret door which led into the adjacent suite and Emily’s room for the night, equally as breathtaking dressed in tones of gold and cream with a more feminine feel than the master suite. In this beautiful suite on Park Lane, I was President of my own slice of Mayfair and, since it was this Lady’s birthday, we popped open the bottle of Louis Roederer left as a gift with a birthday card in the living area and took in the views.
Next stop for this discerning diplomat of luxury was a trip to the icing on the (birthday) cake in this hotel, the rooftop spa. Memories of my previous experience came flooding back as we entered reception and after a refreshing glass of mango juice we were shown to the light-flooded Sky Suite. The Sky Suite boasts stunning views over Hyde Park and Park Lane, this indulgent escape allows you to relax and unwind in a serene spa setting that includes a private double steam shower, separate dressing room and relaxation area to provide the utmost luxury for two. Emily and I were to experience the Rebalancing foot ritual in this sensational setting. This indulgent ESPA foot treatment encourages balance, energy and focus for a busy day ahead. The ritual begins with a gentle exfoliation of the feet, followed by a relaxing massage to soothe tired, aching legs. A reflex-point foot treatment restores energy throughout the body, reduces fluid in the lower legs and leaves you completely refreshed. With the balance of classical music and warm spa beds Emily and I were transported as if by clouds to nirvana – how on earth were we going to be ready for cocktails and dinner, especially with the alluring call of the steam room and sauna? However, we were not going to let those perfectly pampered pins go to waste, so after a brief stop at the Presidential Suite to change the First Ladies of Park Lane were ready for their audience.
In our sexy sling-backs, we entered Amaranto, located on the ground floor and were greeted by the ever so charming Lorenzo, who insisted we start the birthday celebrations with a cocktail. Knowing how good their cocktails are, “no” was not an option. I went for one of my Amaranto favourites the Negroni Sbaglaito, sparkling yet bitter, a perfect refreshing start to what was to be an amazing birthday meal. Upon finishing our cocktails, we were escorted to the best seat in house, overlooking the courtyard garden and the lights of Park Lane. Looking over the menu with eager eyes, Emily and I were spoilt for choice. I spotted my favourite the Trio di Crostacei Scozzesi, never a dish to disappoint with Chef Davide Degiovanni heading up this modern Italian cuisine kitchen with international flavours. For main I went for the Filetto di Manzo Griglaito, perfectly cooked and seasoned, packed with flavour, the accompanying beets and pickled blueberries added a wonderful sweetness to this otherwise very meaty dish.
We had some very interesting wine accompaniments thanks to the wonderfully talented Raffel Peil who road tested some intriguing wines from Austria to New Zealand with our meal. Even if you never eat in this amazing restaurant you must pop by for a glass of wine chosen by Raffel, a very gifted and passionate sommelier. Emily and I were somewhat, like any political scandal, done in, the wonderful food and wine of Amaranto meant that when it came to dessert we were not sure if we could indulge further, even if it was a birthday. However, it seemed that this wonderful hotel and its staff had one last trick up their sleeve – the grandest birthday dessert I have ever seen. On a slate almost the size of the table came a bountiful platter of fruit, chocolate, nuts and written in the most exquisite calligraphy “Happy Birthday Charlotte”. The only thing missing from this presidentially perfect birthday celebration was Marilyn Monroe singing me Happy Birthday. As I closed my eyes and blew out the candles, I made a wish, a wish that the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane would be my mini White House on Hyde Park forever, for they had truly made me feel like a President.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
London W1J 7DR