Overlooking the newly created Bishopsgate Plaza, a landscaped public space set among the City's most famous skyscrapers, this new 237-room hotel inhabits the first 19 floors of a 43-story building and offers the feel of a residential building with all the perks of a hotel.
While its location will certainly appeal to the business traveller, it is also strolling distance from Whitechapel Art Gallery, Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane so a good option for a short break in the capital.
Pan Pacific is the first UK property by the Singapore-based hotel group of the same name and has been designed by celebrated New York-based Yabu Pushelberg, whose previous UK hotel projects have included The London Edition in Fitzrovia and more recently, The Londoner on Leicester Square.
The design brief was to create a calm, serene space in the heart of the financial district that offered a sense of place, while also providing the sort of leafy, green environment you might expect in Singapore.
The building’s interior framework, built using innovatively adaptable wall panels, has been designed to ensure there isn’t a square space in the building. While every room has spectacular views through floor to ceiling windows, the one-bedroom 19th floor Pan Pacific Suite is its crowning glory in every sense.
At 1280 square feet, The Pan Pacific Suite is by far the hotel’s biggest room and it can be connected to an additional bedroom, as we did, with our 10-year-old in tow, to make it even larger.
Situated on the 19th floor, the views of the surrounding city buildings from this corner suite – the Gherkin is so close you feel you could reach out and touch it – are extraordinary and they only get better as day turns to night.
The suite is arranged as a series of intimate chambers, with a spacious corner living-dining room, with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides – its centrepiece. One half of the room is the living room side, with multiple places to sit and a 55-inch LCD Smart TV.
A long, organically curved, stone-coloured sofa, ideal for curling up with a cocktail to enjoy the view and furnished with velvet scatter cushions in dusky shades blue, green and earth tones with bumble bee and botanical motifs, faces a pair of low round marble coffee tables.
A pair of curvy, cocooning arm chairs, provide an additional seating area. By the window stands an impressively stocked, Deco-style cocktail trolley, laden with both items one has expressed a preference for on booking the room and an array of interesting mixers (e.g. elderflower tonic water) by boutique brands such as Franklin and Sons.
On the other side of the room is an elegant dining table, comfortably seating six, crowned by a vintage-looking pendant chandelier. Just off this area is a butler’s pantry with a kettle, a coffee machine, fridge and a private door for discrete entrances and exits.
Then the thoughtfully designed string of smaller spaces begins, kicking off with a cosy study with a well-lit desk and several shelves of books, about Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel and Hockney, architecture, London and a whole fleet on gardening.
Beyond that is a dressing room with wardrobes and a vanity area with a Dyson hairdryer and straightener. Then you get to the elegantly decadent, low-lit bedroom with dark blue fabric walls and a huge bed with a calming, hand-painted floral mural above it.
Lastly comes the pleasingly spacious bathroom generously stocked with Diptyque bath products. It's an Italian marble-fest of a space with an enormous (marble) tub, walk-in shower, window-facing double basins and tucked away around the corner, a ‘loo with a view’.
I find it's the little touches I like best: the plant-filled glass terrarium on a side table, the yoga mat in the wardrobe (and on-demand virtual yoga sessions), a book on tree climbing. I also enjoy an innovative air cooling system in the bedroom to ensure you get the best sleep possible.
What to expect
The hotel places a big emphasis on tailored, personalised service, so we were contacted by the team straight after booking for our in-room preferences.
While every suite comes with ‘butler service’, the Pan Pacific Suite has its own personal butler who is 'at your service' for the duration of your stay. Ours, Vijay, was great – friendly and efficient without being the slightest bit overbearing.
We found 'welcome' cold meats, olives and nuts waiting for us on arrival (plus Appletizer and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for our daughter, her current favourites, as they knew from the post-booking chat).
Armed with our pre-dinner tipple of choice, Vijay proceeded to roll out a late afternoon cocktail turndown, mixing an excellent gin martini for my husband and an equally good G&T for me.
This was all while making my famously dead-pan ten-year-old laugh more than once and bantering with my husband on where to find the best dry gin martinis in London (they both said Duke's, obviously). And then he melted away.
Being the only room with a full-sized dining table, residents of the Pan Pacific Suite can request a dinner party to be arranged in-room. There are numerous other services available to all suites on request, including books tailored to your personal interest and the services of an IT concierge.
The views, the personalised service and the pool.
Not so keen
If you’re coming to the hotel’s very good first floor Straits Kitchen restaurant from the ground floor, there’s a rather nice sweeping staircase up to it which makes for a fun 'entrance'. If you’re coming down from your room, however, it feels a bit like you’re arriving via the back door, which slightly kills the sense of occasion.
A majority of it opened early September. Stepping in off the street, you come into a light, plant-filled, double-height lobby which includes the Orchid Lounge drawing room, offering both a traditional British and a Singaporean afternoon tea and Ginger Lily, a bar serving the largest ranges of Champagnes in London.
Up one floor is Strait’s Kitchen, run by the hotel’s excellent executive chef Lorraine Sinclair, where contemporary cooking is inspired by heritage recipes that reflect the many cultures found in Singapore. We loved the oriental duck salad (a sharing plate) and the wok-fried Singaporean chilli crabs.
Wellbeing is integral to the Pan Pacific experience and the fourth floor is dedicated to it. There are two treatment rooms offering results-driven health and beauty treatments, a vast gym with the latest TecnoBody equipment like D-Wall and conditioning gym and a really lovely, 18.5-metre infinity-edged pool, which looks out across the Bishopsgate Plaza to 18th Century St Botolph’s without Bishopsgate Church. The church is so close, there is no need for a clock in the pool room as you can glance over to the one on its facade.
Adjoining Devonshire House, a 19th Century listed building, which will house a grab-and-go patisserie, destination restaurant, contemporary cocktail bar and designer boutiques, is due to open 'this winter'.
One thing that really struck me was how within about two minutes of arriving, everyone seemed to know our and other guests names – from the doormen and the butlers to the friendly team on the reception desk – no doubt all part of the hotel’s masterplan to make everything feel like home.
A two-minute walk from Liverpool Street station, where the City meets the East End.
Doubles from £540; Pan Pacific Suite from £5,500. www.panpacific.comInternet Explorer Channel Network