Four Seasons is a name that ignites excitement and elegance for all.
Most think of the hunky masterpiece on Park Lane but Four Seasons London has a little sister, steps from the Thames at Ten Trinity Square.
Since William the Conqueror chose the same spot to build the Tower of London back in 1066, it’s fair to say the location is fit for a king. If you’re into history facts, there’s a sign in the lobby that marks the distance of the flight of an arrow – the boundary where those approaching the tower would stop at risk of being shot from the tower.
Nowadays, it’s far more welcoming. The hotel is based around the central Rotunda bar, a palatial domed building, and corridors adorned with glass cabinets filled with precious items span off in either direction.
A spa should be the cure to whatever has you ticking, and this one does the trick. The entrance looks like the inside of a genie’s bottle and we’re told the swirled mosaic walls are made of solid gold and I get the impression that it’s true. Everything is so sleek that even the furniture doesn’t look like it has been placed there at all, but simply risen from the floor as if under some hypnotic spell. It doesn’t take long to forget you’re probably standing a hundred metres below the nearest Pret a Manger.
It’s a soothing place to be. A large pool is the piéce de resistance, flanked by a sauna on one side and a steam room on another, and outside each is a tiny fridge filled with cold, aromatherapy infused flannels for an invigorating post-heat cool down. Steps rise from the water, and disappear again into a smaller vitality pool on the far side with a different massage jet for each part of the body.
Eight treatment rooms span off the main area, where the list of treatments is overwhelming – but that’s coming from someone who thinks a ‘royal rose nourishing wrap’ sounds like it belongs as part of a Boots meal deal. Jokes aside whatever your symptoms, chances are the remedy is on this list, with a very comprehensive selection of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and enhancements. There’s even a scrub that cures jet lag.
A series of different massages come with the option of personalisation to suit – body areas of focus, a selection of oils, with or without hot stones. Only the very best therapists work here, with hands like clouds that roll over your body alleviating tension, re-aligning muscles and doing away with any stress you came in with.
As you float up out of the basement spa (in the gold cladded lift), make a turn into the central Rotunda bar. A man on a piano sits underneath the dome, while couples sip merrily on champagne and nibble on tiny crustless sandwiches like something out of a Jane Austen novel.
Afternoon tea is that worldwide famous quintessentially British tradition that, when you’re actually British, is so indulgent that it is reserved for the most special occasions.
A glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne kicks us off whilst our ears enjoy what sounds like remarkably like the candlelight cover of a Daft Punk song. If you’re familiar with afternoon tea, you will know that everything arrives on tiers, but there’s no hierarchy here. At the bottom, we have those infamous crustless sandwiches – the flavours sound like things that can only be eaten by royal decree, like coronation chicken egg with truffle. Of course, salmon and cucumber makes a cameo appearance. Next level up, the French pastries begin.
Still warm scones are served on bone China with jam, lemon curd and Devonshire clotted cream (jam first then cream, you horrible people) and tea is served, because after all, that’s what we’re here for. I’m not usually one to divulge from my native Yorkshire brand, but when there’s stuff on offer like Lapsang Souchong or Cornish Manuka, one simply must do one’s du-tea.
A variety of spa and afternoon tea packages are available at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square. For more info, head to fourseasons.com/tentrinity
Four Seasons Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ. 020 3297 9200. fourseasons.com
Words by our man in the smoke, Sam Johnson