15 NOVEMBER 2021


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Article from BTNews 15 NOVEMBER 2021

ON TOUR: London hotel goes East

Business Travel News first mentioned the new and exotic Pan Pacific hotel back in January 2020.  Twenty dramatic months later it is finally open, a dramatic presence in the City of London’s heart.  It’s been worth the wait.

Described as “catering to discerning well-heeled travellers who seek to find a balance in life” this new glass-and-brass skyscraper is the first hotel in Europe by the Singaporean-based Pan Pacific Group, selective with properties offering Beijing, Dhaka, Kota, Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Seattle Singapore, Vancouver, Whistler and plus now inevitably London.  

Pan Pacific is a uniquely seamless blend of Asian hospitality and contemporary British elegance.  Whilst London, meaning “The West End”, is well supported when it comes to luxury properties this is not the case with regard to “The City”, long bereft of real opulence concerning accommodation.

Fine hotel, however, the Pan Pacific is not perfect.  Read on. 

Whilst many guests will be arriving by chauffeured limousine or taxi it will in the future be directly connected to Heathrow by the Elizabeth Line.  Paddington Station with its dedicated Crossrail entrance means crossing Bishopsgate, the heavy traffic of old now banned.  London City Airport is seven miles away and Stratford, with the Olympic Park, half that distance.  The Bank of England is less than a five-minute walk, the Barbican arts centre not much further and close by is The Gherkin and Cheesegrater both iconic buildings, and also Leadenhall Market somewhat older.

Clearly aimed at visiting business people and tourists from the East they will not feel out of place, nor will those Brits who need an uplift and something different from the conventional 5-star property.

The ground floor is dominated by the Orchid Lounge, perfect for an afternoon tea.  Traditional Delights showcase quintessentially British sandwiches and scones, whilst the Singaporean-inspired Kopi Tiam celebrates bao and dim sum.

Passing through one enters the flower-adorned Ginger Lily bar, where the walls are lined with more than 500 illuminated wine bottles (including rare Chinese ones), 200 types of champagne and 150 rums. Or the Malacca Straits-inspired dishes on its restaurant’s menu: Singapore wok-fried chilli crab, lobster thermidor omelette, mango panna cotta.

Up on the first floor, and overlooking the Bishopsgate Plaza and St Botolph’s Church is Straights Kitchen, very adaptable serving a typical English breakfast (and steaks for Americans) to dishes from afar, Asian Spice Rubbed Duck Breast Crispy Noodle, Stir Fried Vegetable.  Sitting alongside Straits Kitchen are Newton (nine guests) and Katong (plenty of space for 12), two intimate private dining rooms accommodating all tastes and occasions, from working breakfasts to lunch hour meetings and celebratory dinners.

On the fourth floor is a light-filled gym, fitted with state-of-the-art Life Fitness equipment and Europe’s first performance-analysing TecnoBody D-Wall. One sets the treadmill to any of the many locations offered and run (or walk) for as long as you like.  But it needs the London Marathon route!  A 3m deep 18.5m long three-lane infinity pool is picture-perfect alongside a full-height glass wall, so you can watch besuited workers and double-deckers pass below. There are sauna and steam rooms.

The 237 rooms range from spacious doubles to enormous suites, but all very much to the same standard with both walk-in shower and a large bathroom with heated floor, plenty of USB charging points and a 55inch LCD Smart Television with built-in Chromecast solution.  Floor to ceiling windows are provided with some stupendous views wherever your room is located.  The hotel takes the first 19 floors, the balance of the 43-storey building given over to private apartments.  Next door is the Sales Force Tower, once the Heron Tower.

To balance the urban views the designers have furnished the bedrooms with comforting natural materials and designs inspired by nature: wooden floors; soft woollen rugs; incredibly cosy towels, gowns and slippers.  The wardrobes and hanging spaces are lit and the nightlight in the bath is set to the perfect brightness (or lack of brightness).   There is of course 24hr room service.  

On the fifth floor is ‘The Meeting Place’ consisting of five meeting rooms, all named after renowned coaching inns that were once located in and around the current hotel site in the days of Samuel Pepys.  With an 81sqm breakout area known as Punchbowl, all meeting rooms enjoy natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows.  Accommodating up to 294 guests, the entire floor can be hired exclusively.  

Deep down underground is the Pacific Ballroom with a private entrance from Bishopsgate Plaza via a single escalator, plus elevators for those less nimble.  The moving staircase is reversed when it is time to leave. Up to 400 guests.  Plenty of breakout/bar space and advanced technology including flexible lighting options, surround sound and Smart LED 4k video walls.  There is also a VIP Room located in the pre-function area and the space is sub-divisible into two separate soundproofed rooms to provide extra flexibility.

And throughout the hotel plants dominate the decor, whether that’s planters of orchids, pottery dishes of moss and terrariums planted with bonsai trees.

Children and dogs are welcome (it claims to be pet friendly) but the four-legged guests are not allowed in the dining areas.

The City of London is not noted for its night life and likewise dining, but there is an Ivy restaurant nearby, several typical British pubs, and within a ten-minute walk Spitalfields Market, once a fresh fruit and vegetable market rival to Covent Garden, but in recent times the home of independent traders for a variety of goods, food stalls and restaurants.  It’s a lively place.

And now for the moans – The guest rooms may be imaginative in their design but a simple table for working on a laptop (nor for makeup) is not provided.  And no depth was posted for the swimming pool.  It’s about four feet and and 15m long.  Newspapers could not be ordered.  Due to Covid-19 it was said.  All can be sorted out and the BTN visit was within two weeks of the official opening.  

The City of London has a new bright light.


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