It’s set to be the year of the staycation. With most of Europe off the cards unless you’re double vaccinated or prepared to jump through several test- or quarantine-shaped hoops, it seems wise to shift your focus back to British shores. And with cottages and Airbnbs in Cornwall, Devon and Kent being booked up like hot teacakes, it’s not a bad idea to consider a retreat in London, where there is such a huge number of amazing hotels. Enter Pan Pacific London – a smart new haven that blends Singaporean hospitality with contemporary British design in the heart of the city, moments from buzzing Liverpool Street and the ever-cool neighbourhood of Shoreditch, as well as the capital’s most recognisable landmarks: St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Design firm Yabu Pushelberg, responsible for projects such as the Four Seasons Downtown New York, Las Alcobas hotel in Napa Valley and The St Regis San Francisco, have taken over the interiors, so expect to find a sleek and fresh finish, neutral-tone bedrooms and plenty of natural light. And beyond the aesthetics, the hotel team has come up with something for every type of London staycationer…
There are five places to eat and drink throughout the hotel’s Bishopsgate Plaza and adjoining Devonshire House. Kick off with all-day dining spot Straits Kitchen – it specialises in Asian ingredients that are sourced and grown in the UK (specifically at the Nurtured farm in Norfolk) to minimise its carbon footprint – with dishes including wok-fried Singapore chilli mud crab and Scottish lobster nonya laksa. If you can, test out the two private dining rooms, Newton and Katong, located just off Straits Kitchen, which can seat 12 and 14 guests respectively and are ideal for family group dinners or intimate celebrations.
The hotel’s main bar is headed up by Francesco Putignano (formerly of Seabird at The Hoxton Southwark) and has what might be London’s longest list of Champagnes by the glass. Cocktails are inspired by the flavours of Singapore and signature tipples include the green tea and citrus Highball made with (yes) green tea but also blended whisky, lemon juice and honey, while the Palermo uses light rum, pineapple juice, Sauvignon Blanc and sugar syrup. And don’t skip on the hotel’s biggest draw – The Orchid Lounge. TV personality and executive pastry chef Cherish Finden has curated a new afternoon tea – a Singaporean-inspired kopi tiam – that celebrates bao, dim sum and choux. Next door, Devonshire House will unveil its destination cocktail bar later this year, but with interiors by Tom Dixon it’s set to be a sure-fire hit.
This is a properly smart retreat that also works as an ideal haven for families on the go, as well as solo travellers and business folk – who may also happen to be parents – taking meetings in the city (or perhaps ‘working from home’ in one of the 42 suites and 10 meeting venues). Spend an afternoon on the hotel’s wellbeing floor and take the kids to enjoy the city views from the large infinity pool. If shopping is on the agenda, head downstairs to the plaza to soak up some outdoor sun and pick up knick-knacks from the shops while you’re there.
FOR NIGHT OWLS
London is a city that never sleeps and Pan Pacific London fits right in to accommodate those visitors still stuck in a completely different time zone. It’s easy to lose track of the hours here, with a variety of places to hole up with a laptop or spend a Friday night drinking cocktails and dining on traditional Singaporean dishes. For those who literally can’t sleep, each room has a wellbeing and sleep programme using tools including ChiliSleep cool mattress pads and sauna blankets, while bathrooms are kitted out with products by Diptyque Paris. And in case a midnight workout session is in order, rooms also come equipped with yoga mats and on-demand digital exercise content.
FOR WELLNESS LOVERS
Spa fans and holistic healers will go directly to the fourth-floor infinity pool overlooking the bobbing heads of commuters on Bishopsgate. There are also treatment rooms and relaxation pods for destressing and sampling traditional South-east Asian treatments and clean beauty, plus a 24-hour high-performance gym featuring TechnoGym’s first hotel D-Wall, an interactive training wall, making it the most technologically advanced hotel gym in the UK. Far from a standard workout, each session here shifts the focus on real-time bio-feedback and long-term joint health through slow and mindful training. There is also a studio for yoga, Pilates and barre, as well as saunas, steam rooms and a lounge with a menu specially curated by an in-house nutritionist. Unassuming and completely serene, this is the place to relax and rewind away from the business of the big smoke.