As London forges ahead with several new hotel openings this year, excitement grows with new progress on a Pan Pacific hotel set to open in spring of 2021. This is the first outpost for the Asian luxury brand in London and all of Europe. We Zoomed with general manager Anne Golden to get the scoop on the still-under-construction 237-room property, which will be part of One Bishopsgate Plaza, a bronze 43-story tower with 160 apartments, restaurants and high-end retail, located a few blocks from Liverpool Street station in the heart of the city, yet also within walking distance to many London landmarks and vibrant east London neighborhoods.
First, tell us a bit more about Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts.
Bringing Pan Pacific to London is thrilling on so many levels. In case you’ve never been to a Pan Pacific hotel, it is a Singapore-based company that owns and/or manages 38 hotels with a further dozen in development—most of which are in Asia. You may know the Pan Pacific in Seattle or the four properties we have across Canada; we also operate the PARKROYAL Collection in Asia. All our brands are known for their green credentials; Sir David Attenborough just lauded one of our Singapore hotels for its “hotel in a garden” concept. We hope to bring that eco-minded ethos to London, along with Asian-influenced hospitality.
So, we should expect to see plants in the lobby?
Yes, lots of lobby plants! You may feel like you’ve stepped into a bit of Singapore with all the foliage we have planned. There will be more landscaped outdoor space than any other luxury hotel in the city and gardens integrated into the design of the restaurants and recreational facilities. We will produce very little waste with eco-friendly elements, including a rainwater harvesting system, recyclable water system and a compactor that transforms food waste into compost. Interiors have been designed by Yabu Pushelberg, known for its modern esthetic (its done the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and the Edition hotels in London and New York, to name a few). We’ve also partnered with Diptyque, on its first hospitality venture, to create all our in-room amenities, which will be 100 percent recyclable using aluminum containers.
What will the guestrooms be like?
Firstly, our guest rooms are large by London standards, with the smallest rooms measuring just shy of 400 square feet. Complementing the public gardens strewn along the façade, our rooms and suites will feel like urban retreats, yet quite residential with little comforts like umbrella hooks, a place to take your shoes off and hot and cold minibars with choices in everything from Chinese tea to whiskey. In terms of suites, we will have 43 and all will have floor-to-ceiling windows offering views over the city. The very best views will be from the hotel’s signature Pan Pacific Suite, perched on the 19th floor, overlooking "The Gherkin." With nearly 1,300 square feet, in addition to a king bedroom with marble bathroom, there is an open plan dining area and lounge with L-shape sofa and comfortable club chairs all with these incredible views—and private butler service.
What about wellness?
Here is where the hotel will really shine. We will have an entire floor dedicated to wellness; located on Level Four, there is a 60-foot indoor infinity pool overlooking the plaza, a high-performance gym, mindfulness studio, relaxation pods, treatment rooms, steam rooms and saunas. The space itself has a very residential, Hamptons-like vibe, with plush chaises around the pool and comfortable sofas for lounging or getting a bite to eat. We will allow guests to use the spa before and after check-in, for more flexibility in their stay. Each guest will have the opportunity to experience a personalized approach to wellness with consultations with our spa staff. During lockdown, we’ve had our fitness staff recording workouts, so that when we open, if guests prefer to workout in their room, there will be a choice of options that are unique to the hotel. Also, we will provide yoga mats, hand weights, etc. for guests in-room.
Any special plans for food and beverage?
We have a female team so far, we’ve hired Singapore-born pastry chef Cherish Finden, who’s a bit of a celebrity here as she was a judge of Bake Off: The Professionals. Her first hotel job was actually at the Pan Pacific Singapore; most recently, she created award-winning afternoon teas for The Langham London. She is planning two afternoon teas for us—an Asian-inspired and a traditional. We will also have a full patisserie on the second floor. Our executive chef is Lorraine Sinclair, who is British-born, but has spent most of her career in Asia, running the culinary department for hotels with restaurants, which were awarded Michelin stars when she was based in Hong Kong. Both chefs are very sustainability minded and working with farmers in Norfolk to grow produce normally imported from Asia. So, expect innovation throughout the dining experience starting all the way with how we supply ingredients. We will have Straits Kitchen as our main restaurant and Ginger Lily bar, which has a terrace overlooking the plaza—both with Asian cuisine and cocktails. We will also have several options for private dining, and we expect to do a lot of meetings and events in our “smart” ballroom and meeting rooms.
Tell us more about the ballroom, what makes it “smart?"
It’s smart because all the technology is integrated. It is the first of its kind and size for the City of London. All the lighting, screens, even the temperature controls, are using smart technology. But the best bit is actually the space itself: Nearly 5,000 square feet with triple-height ceilings with its own entrance via a glass pavilion in the public plaza with a glass elevator. We have already booked quite a few weddings for next year. Another innovation is our Styling Suite, where we have enlisted partnerships with top brands for china, crystal and floral—and, here, Diptyque is also doing signature scents and small bespoke candles that couples can give as wedding favors. Basically, we’ve brought all the elements of event design and entertainment in-house, so that there is no need for a separate party planner. This has been a great selling point for us; plus, the use of the suite spaces for getting ready on the day.
Pan Pacific London is slated to open in spring of 2021. For questions or more information, contact Nicola Sani, sales account director, at [email protected]