There are boutique hotels. There are bouji hotels. And then there are hotels like Pan Pacific London, perhaps best described as brand hotels – the towering centrepiece of a sprawling ecosystem of restaurants, bars and shops, no smaller than your average spaceship and no less advanced.
Towering is the appropriate adjective: the building’s 43 stories encompass not only the hotel itself but also the private Sky Residence apartments (more on them later). It’s an absolute monster in the best possible way.
The Pan Pacific Group has hotels across the globe, from Beijing to Melbourne to Vancouver, yet Bishopsgate Plaza is the first European venture from the Singaporean behemoth. It’s fair to say they’ve arrived in style, with gorgeously designed interiors – courtesy of renowned duo Yabu Pushelberg – and a host of bespoke offerings.
Private dining rooms, cocktail bars, a wellbeing floor, a ballroom: guests will not be short of ways to pass the time, and that’s without taking into account the location just seconds away from Liverpool Street.
We mentioned cocktail bars: Pan Pacific boasts an absolute doozy in Ginger Lily, a sultry, sexy enclave within which a multicoloured army of bottles glow behind a black marble bar. It’s the kind of place a Bond villain would take their Hinge dates. Appropriately enough, the menu is all killer, no filler, with an array of signature creations for you to sample.
There’s a whole section dedicated to rum, with labels such as Ron Zacapa and Diplomatico providing the base for the team to work their magic. (There are more than 150 different rums at Ginger Lily, while the champagne list is drawn from more than 200 houses.)
And while the cocktails are fantastic, among the best you’ll find in the City, the team at Ginger Lily will make your visit truly special. Led by their charming manager Francesco Putignano, the all-Italian staff are knowledgeable, gregarious and take palpable pleasure in their work. Sit up at the bar and put yourself in their hands.
Feeling hungry? Then head upstairs to Straits Kitchen, the hotel’s beautiful in-house restaurant that uses purely Asian ingredients, sourced and grown locally in the UK. Everything is superb, from service to decor to the food itself – and be sure to admire the gorgeously patterned chinaware before you get down to business.
Signature dishes such as soft shell Singaporean chilli crab, Hainanese chicken rice and native lobster laksa will take you to your happy place – fine dining with minimum fuss or fripperies. Can’t decide? Opt for the tasting menu and sample a bit of everything – while pondering which of the 500-odd wines to crack open. It’s all good, in every sense.
Balance out your indulgences with a visit to the wellbeing floor. You’ll need to box off a few hours to make the most of its offerings, which include treatment rooms, relaxation pods, a sauna, numerous treatments and one of the most advanced hotel gyms in the UK.
Centerpiece is the 18.5m infinity pool overlooking the Plaza, the closest you’ll ever come to swimming in the sky. Emerge feeling ten years younger and with a sudden urge to watch a Star Trek movie.
Considering there are 237 rooms and suites, you would forgive Pan Pacific were the accommodation to feel a little impersonal – but while the hotel may have the size of Las Vegas, the sensation is very different. Less hedonism, more haven.
Bedrooms are soft and soothing, with no 90-degree angles: everything is curved, rounded, sloped. The glimmering lights of the City could belong to another world, one you’ll be very, very reluctant to rejoin.
Nor need you – for atop Pan Pacific stand The Sky Residences, 160 private apartments that offer all the amenities and more of the hotel without the pesky requirement to check out. The one, two, and three bedroom residences start from the 21st floor.
Count them among the most aspirational properties in the City – the views alone will have visitors weeping with envy. At least they have somewhere to crash downstairs.
Pan Pacific is a mighty achievement, a hotel that thinks big while still taking care of the little things. Welcome to the good life.
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80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB; Pan Pacific London