Four Seasons Ten Trinity, London
Room type: Deluxe Room
Duration: 26th > 27th January, 2017
Booked with: AMEX FHR
Whilst I would never, ever, ever, not in a billion years, use hyperbole, I can easily say that Four Seasons Ten Trinity is the hotel opening for 2017 in London. Even if we’re only in January, there is nothing else due to open this year that will come close to what the Four Seasons have created. It seemed only appropriate that I should head along to experience my first opening day at a hotel, as that way you don’t have to wait to read what those charlatans in the press think.
As a disclaimer, this is probably the most unfair review I will ever write. How can anyone be expected to be perfect after having been open 2 hours? Yet this is a Four Seasons – and me, with my impossibly high standards – so there must be some consideration towards that. The whole experienced reminded me of buying a PlayStation 4 on launch day, where it seemed such a good idea at the time, until realising that it was in fact useless and did nothing as there were no games available. With the spa not finished, no suites available, one of the restaurants not open, the hotel visibly under construction and the location being far from ideal, you better have a good reason for staying here that ranks higher than “because I’m bored”. I was bored, so that one is taken. Get your own excuses, buster.
I booked everything with the masters of coin, AMEX – as they have opened immediately with FHR Benefits – but even their wisdom did not allow them to know how much the suites were, so I reached out directly to the hotel. Responses took around 24 hours to come back and confirm they are not open until May, so a Deluxe Room it twas destined to be.
Read any of my previous London luxury hotel reviews and you’ll see a common trend: they’re all a single tube ride away. Ten Trinity involves changing tube stations, which I fairly compare to as difficult as a North Korean escaping across the border. Getting the tube is one thing, but changing lines is a life altering experience. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do that again. If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself on the Circle Line, you can get there without changing, but I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Not even Voldemort deserves that.
Once you do arrive, you will be in the arse-end of London, an area I can say with a strong sense of pride I’ve never been to before. This is not your Mayfair or Knightsbridge; no one here has likely ever stayed in a hotel in that part of London, as they all have their 3rd and 4th homes there. This is right near the City, the area where those loveable bankers will be coming a-plenty. It will be called up and coming by some journalist at some point, and with it being a short distance from Shangri-La at The Shard, it’s clearly an area of large investment and perhaps the beginning of something new. Apparently it’s up and coming too.
Ten Trinity is hosted within a historic building, built in 1922 and previously used by some tax payer funded group that felt it necessary to spend my great, great grandfathers taxes on something quite so extravagant. Luckily they did, as it provides possibly the most impressive visual experience of any London hotel. Thanks Grandpapa Geoff! It feels like you’re looking at a museum, but then entering a grand palace. The attention to detail and clear love on the project is palpable, and not only from the building itself, but the buzz and excitement between all the staff. The doorman could not wait to help me with my luggage, management were everywhere, reception were beaming with smiles, the GM was coming around to talk to guests and I think I even saw someone riding a unicorn around the lobby.
The building itself is beautiful, with the lobby doing the outside justice and being in itself a work of art. You then walk straight through into the main area which contains lots of seating areas, their main restaurant and the bar. The bar was already full last night, but somehow the acoustics of the room do not make it feel empty, even when it is. The only area that has room for improvement, which I’m sure is just down to construction, is how cold it is when you walk in. The doors to enter lead into a small corridor, with another set of doors in front of you, or doors to the right-hand side that lead to the glass elevator. If you find yourself in this corridor, bring your coat.
Not one to overwhelm them, I asked for a Tempur pillow and dental kit. It’s the simple things in life, you know? Like being able to sleep and not waking up smelling like you’ve eaten 5 day old dog food from a dumpster. That’s a story for another day. Their reservations team kindly confirmed this will all be taken care of, so after whispering sweet thoughts the general direction of the god of the Four Seasons, I set off knowing everything would be absolutely perfect. Could the Four Seasons come through during their first and finest hour to deliver upon this arduous task of self-sacrifice? Could they bollocks. At least during the repeated knocking on the door and people letting themselves in without asking I was given an opportunity to ask for them. Like magic they then appeared, with pillows so fresh that they were still in the packaging.
With no suites available until the end of May, and all the higher-end room categories fully booked on opening night, I was left to enjoy the leftovers – a Deluxe Room. With an Executive Suite only £150/n more for almost twice the space, I was left licking my wounds when I got to see what a significant upgrade it was after a tour from the Director of Rooms on departure.
The Deluxe Room is just about ok. It’s boilerplate Four Seasons. It’s certainly more appealing than the corridors that could have directly been copied from Claridges, without anyone stopping to ask if the Claridges corridors are good. They’re not. They’re in fact terrible. I feel that due to the location they really needed to offer something more impressive than this. The bathroom is quite small and I could sense the embarrassment from the show around when they pointed that the bathroom window is freely visible from outside, so you can close the blinds….by walking out of the bathroom and pushing buttons on the wall near the bathroom door. It’s always the small details that come back and bite you. There is no free mini bar, £12.99 for movies, slow Internet (you can pay more for “premium Internet” that will still be slower than Connaught’s standard), and a rather small fruit plate on arrival. For an opening night, perhaps erroneously, I would have expected some type of celebration, such as a bottle of champagne. After all, we are the guinea pigs.
For a brand new hotel, the rooms don’t feel that new. There was nothing dated about it, but nothing elegant or impressive enough. A single vanity, a standard toilet (does no one have any decency anymore to make it mandatory to install Toto’s?!), a TV without Apple TV or Chromecast. The hotel itself is beautiful, but the rooms could do with some extra touches. They make up for it once you get to an Executive Room, so if the prices stay roughly in line with what they are, you would be crazy not to spend a bit more to go for one.
If you are reading this from the distant point of June 2017 and your room is perfect, you can thank my stay for it being so. As I got to experience a few ever-so-minor points along the way, whereby my feedback may just prove useful.
- The heating did not work in the room. Engineering had to come 3 times; first to confirm it does not work, second to try to get it to work and third to just handover a portable heater.
- The bathroom heating then wasn’t working either. It’s worth remembering it is winter in England, so not the best timing. They came to install another portable heater as none of the underfloor heating worked.
- The bathroom then flooded after taking a shower, so engineering had to come again. At close to midnight, there were people moping the floors in the bathroom.
- Near the windows it is absolutely freezing, so it does not feel properly insulated
- I did not have a good nights sleep at all, mostly due to the temperature of the room. It was frequently swinging between too hot or too cold.
- Rotunda (main hotel restaurant)
- French Restaurant, La Dame de Pic
- Yet another restaurant coming soon.
- Meeting rooms
- Private members club coming soon
- Spa coming soon
Due to open 1st April. Even being someone as ignorant about exercise as a terrorist is about liberalism, I could still appreciate the gym is pretty impressive.
You could form a flash mob and go protest against one of the nearby banks.
Having eaten lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch here, that probably makes me the most regular guest in the hotels history. I’m adding food expert to my CV right now.
It’s quite clear that food is a priority for them. Not only was Rotunda, the main hotel restaurant, offering wonderful food, but they have opened another restaurant with the most decorated female chef in the world, Anne-Sophie Pic, at the helm. And this does not mean that she’s put her name on it and never seen the place other than via some pictures her PA handed over to her, but in the very real sense of her being in the kitchen and coming around to talk to guests during dinner.
Rotunda offers 2 menus, which are the same for lunch and dinner: healthy and standard. I almost threw up in my mouth at the thought of eating healthy food, so I didn’t even look at the menu and ordered fish and chips instead. The chips were genuinely the best I’ve had, anywhere, anytime. The fish I ate half of and left. The next day I ordered something that was something about ceviche, unfortunately at this stage I had not quite reached food expert status, so I cannot remember it, but it was delicious.
For dinner we went to La Dame de Pic, which I thoroughly enjoyed and cost ~£260 for 3 courses + a few glasses of wine. We arrived around 8pm and they were not sure whether they could get us a table, even though the place was completely dead, so I was assuming they were doing the ol’ “you must have a reservation routine” to ramp up demand. When we mentioned we were in house guests they managed to get us somewhere, and then by around 9pm the place was packed. I would go back.
Breakfast is also served in the same restaurant. They serve the greatest hot chocolate ever, which was served in a rather large tea cup, but they could have served it to me in a trough and I’d have been annoyed that there wasn’t enough of it. You will absolutely not go starving with their Landmark English breakfast, that must contain at least 15,000 calories and have depressed fruit prices for years to come, due to a market over saturation.
I am still fond of The Beaumont’s insistence in not having a gratuity line, as when 12.5% is already added to every bill, I’m not keen on seeing it appear whenever a signature is required.
Service was, for the most parts, excellent throughout, especially from the restaurant manager who is ex-FS Joburg and has been hugely accommodating. 3 of the staff here have recognised me, 2 ex-Connaught (1 was also ex-Beaumont) that left only a few months ago and another ex-Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road. If management walking in on me didn’t flag me as a VIP, 3 of the staff knowing me certainly did.
- The room was not ready until after 2pm. Not a big deal, but it’s opening day and there’s not the excuse that someone else was using it. Was housekeeping removing all the plastic from the furniture?
- They asked for my passport on check in. First time a UK hotel has ever asked that. I didn’t have one on me, so they just worked without it.
- The fire alarm went off at 2:30pm. Of course everyone sat there and did nothing, assuming it was a test, but I was then told we had to evacuate the building. So off we all went outside in 0C temperatures to not really be told what to do. It was just quite strange that as a guest I was not told anything, even where to go until about 5 minutes later when someone took charge. Luckily it was a false alarm and we were all back inside 15 minutes later.
- Head of housekeeping just walked in on me whilst I was in the room
- About an hour later, a knock on the door and someone walks in and asks me when I’m going to be finished taking photographs. I ask him why, and he said as a guest was coming to this room. I then explain I am the guest and the poor guy was utterly embarrassed by it. Worst of all, he was high management. I’m not even slightly annoyed by it, as he was devastated, but it was once again a bit strange.
To a strange extent, them having created so many issues and doing their best to handle them probably made the experience better than having no issues at all.
On checkout, and and without asking anyone, the room was discounted by 50% and a large portion of the food was compoed due to the issues experienced. Management came to apologise to me – I felt the service recovery was truly excellent. Good service is not being perfect, it is recovering perfectly from mistakes. They were trying to get me to stay another night in an Executive Room with a courtesy upgrade, and if they had the spa finished I’d have gladly said yes, but with it being in an unideal location and having tried everything in the hotel, I couldn’t really find there being worth anything to do there.
Some of the staff there are really, truly excellent. Of course, it being empty does add to the personalised service, but hopefully they can maintain it as they grow. Added on top of this the love I received from staff at other luxury hotels/restaurants that knew me, and I felt far better looked after in Ten Trinity after 1 night than I have after my now 4 stays in The Bulgari that I’ve done this year. I leave feeling optimistic about it, but the real test will be once it’s fully running in June.
Around 20% of the staff come from existing Four Seasons, whilst a large amount of others have worked in high-end hospitality throughout London. Over 10,000 people applied for the jobs here.
- Great food selection, with more on the way
- I feel the best is on the way.
- Expected teething problems
- Stunning renovation
- Excellent Four Seasons service
I rolled the dice with the opening night and I lost. Whilst it was fun to be there, it was not quite for the reasons I had in mind. Still, I do not regret it and would do it again, but it’s always best to go into these events with your eyes open and realise what you’re getting yourself in for. If you have a major life event and want to celebrate it, definitely don’t go to an opening night of a hotel. If you want to become lifelong pals with the staff through the perpetual challenges that await you, then there’s no better way. It certainly makes for a good story later when I run out of things to talk about to my imaginary friends.
The spa is meant to open 1st April and suites are due to open end of May. I won’t write it off, as most of the issues are hardware that will easily be fixed, but I’m still surprised that the rooms were signed off in the first place. I think I’ll give it another go sometime June/July.