UPDATE: Four Seasons Canary Wharf is now the Canary Riverside Plaza. Please see Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.
With its royal babies, the Tower Bridge, a bustling theater scene, centuries-old history and ease of navigation, London is one of the most popular destinations in the world. In fact, a number of 2015 surveys have revealed that it’s the hot destination right now.
The city is dense with excellent hotel options. We just enjoyed an incredible stay at Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf and would like to share why you should book it, too.
And, as former residents we know quite a bit about London. It’s one of our favorite cities.
Why Canary Wharf?
Maybe it’s his due to his IPO days when his work took him to Canary Wharf, but my husband was a major proponent of staying in the area while I, admittedly, was a little hesitant.
Over the last few decades, Canary Wharf — once merely abandoned warehouses — has been transformed into a major financial center in the east end of London with high rise buildings, newer Tube stations and the Docklands Light Railway. It’s also now a hip cultural hub full of excellent restaurants and nightlife.
My worry that the location would be too far away from my normal haunts was absurd. About a 5-minute walk from the hotel, it’s possible to catch the Jubilee Line at Canary Wharf station, which leads directly to my old stomping grounds at Green Park (Fortnum and Mason, Bond Street, Hyde Park and the like). I’d change trains once at Westminster to hit Sloane Sloane Square, our old home Tube stop to cruise around our old neighborhood and walk up trendy Sloane Avenue to Harrods. Easy peasy.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) will take you even further into the east end and the Thames Clipper water taxi ferries passengers down the Thames to the Tower Bridge, London Eye and beyond in a faster and more convenient manner than the Tube.
The area around Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf also feels more open and less congested. There are even patches of wide-open grass for people to enjoy a fantastic view of the Thames (or do cartwheels).
Traffic in Canary Wharf itself is almost nonexistent (buses and taxis are easy to find, however). It’s rather peaceful on the riverfront here.
The bottom line? Canary Wharf is newer, cleaner and calmer than Central London. This type of ambience bodes well for families and is exactly why many people, like my husband, prefer it. I would also encourage it for those who have already explored London’s major sights and would like to check out the trendy East End. In that case, this is your luxury hotel option.
Candy at Check-In
Four Seasons debuted its new app right before our trip and you can very easily check-in through it. I forgot, so walked to the front desk. My daughter was escorted to the Hardys Original Sweet Shop pop-up shop which cleverly sits in the hotel’s old phone booth.
The famous confectionery shop has all sorts of nostalgic favorites and she chose a bag of goodies that we enjoyed by the three of us and long gone by the following day, which speaks to our indulgence as there was an amenity waiting in our room, too, that we also polished off.
Rooms with Views
After a journey in from Paris on the Eurostar, it was a treat to walk into a lovely one-bedroom suite with one of the most incredible views of the Thames river that I’ve seen in a long time. And, the windows in each room have a seat which we took advantage of on many occasions. Even my daughter appreciated it, setting up her stuffed animals and our amenities on the ledge while we settled in.
I eyeballed the view and immediately predicted a lot of room service. I find there is nothing better than wine with a panoramic view — especially one you don’t see every day — and my husband tends to agree.
The suite was what you’d expect at a Four Seasons. It was well-appointed with bits and bobs like wine glasses, plug converters, luxurious bath amenities, WiFi, robes and plenty of storage. Crisp white linens and a comfortable bed made for an excellent night of sleep, especially after turn-down service (pictured).
A rollaway fitted with kitty-themed bedding was placed in the living room for my daughter, which she was thrilled by.
The two things I was looking forward to most in London: fish and chips and an English breakfast. In-room dining delivered both, of course, with upscale flair (which I love).
My husband went out with old friends one night so my daughter and I opted for a casual meal in the relaxed Quadrato Bar and Lounge. There’s a terrace, too, for al fresco dining but I spotted that after we collapsed into our comfy chairs. Our server could not have been nicer and we enjoyed a nice, leisurely dinner.
We ended it with housemade sorbet, of course.
A Cool — James Bond Cool — Pool
Remember the scene in Skyfall where James Bond (Daniel Craig) is sitting on the edge of a pool at night? That’s where guests of Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf will swim.
The heated infinity pool is part of the Virgin Active Health Club next to the hotel and has the same panoramic view of the Thames. Exit the hotel lobby and walk a few paces to the club. Note that family swimming hours are at certain times of the day, the rest is left for lap swimming and lessons. Pool noodles and toys are available.
Spa and Fitness
I regret that I had a cold during our stay otherwise I would have taken advantage of the various fitness classes available at Virgin Active Health Club. This is a very nice health club with gym facilities including a cycling studio, lounge, yoga studio, whirlpools and, of course, the pool above. The club is free to access for Four Seasons guests and I think a selling point for those who like to stay fit on vacation.
A private river view spa treatment suite offers facials, massages, couples’ treatments, manicures and pedicures. I’ll have to try that next time.
Convenience Within Walking Distance
In addition to the Canary Wharf Tube station and DLR providing easy access to the rest of London, the buildings surrounding the stations house a number of to-go and dine-in food options that primarily serve those working in the financial district.
This means there’s an awesome to-go sushi joint, a PAUL bakery, a TESCO, Boots (a chemist), a place dedicated to California burritos, cafes, ATMs and much more. Not to mention, there’s shopping, too, ranging from Zara to Jo Malone. It’s like a self-contained little city that you don’t really have to leave… but it’s London so tour away!
The trendy Shoreditch area’s bustling street art scene is steps away. Not too far (though taxi or Tube is best) also is Brick Lane for fabulous curries and a cool Sunday market, Mudchute Farm (London’s largest urban farm) animals, and much more.
Good to Know
The lobby flowers are beautiful, of course.
Canary Wharf is rather quiet on the weekends, however, the hotel has a fantastic-looking Sunday brunch that we weren’t able to take advantage of.
It may take a bit longer to get to popular attractions from here, depending on where you’re going. Frankly, a journey to the British Museum from Canary Wharf took no longer than it would have from our flat in Chelsea.
I think you’ll usually find that a stay at Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf may be less expensive than comparable hotels in Central London.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf
46 Westferry Circus
Canary Wharf, London
E14 8RS Tel.
+44 (20) 7510-1999
*We enjoyed a media rate during our four-night stay.