Ranking as the 88th property in the growing international portfolio of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou held its official opening ceremonies on July 23, 2012, celebrating the dawn of a new era of luxury hospitality in China’s third largest metropolitan area.
Rising 103 stories above the Pearl River, the new Guangzhou International Finance Center (GZIFC) building’s top 30 floors are home to Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, along with an events complex on the lower floors at ground level.
“We are particularly pleased to be the 88th Four Seasons hotel worldwide, doubling our luck for a successful future in Guangzhou,” says Regional Vice President and General Manager Bahram Sepahi.
To welcome the first guests to the new Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, the Hotel is offering a special Have It All Introductory Package, including luxurious accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, daily dining and entertainment credit, daily Spa treatment and premium internet service, available August 15 to October 15, 2012. The popular Four Seasons Bed and Breakfast package is also available beginning immediately.
“It’s the perfect time to book a trip to Guangzhou, in advance of the fall Canton Fair,” says Kent Li, a Guangzhou native who is the Hotel’s Chef Concierge, referring to the twice-annual China Import and Export Fair. Known widely as the Canton Fair, the 112th event takes place in three phases: October 15-19, October 23-27, and October 31-November 4, 2012.
“The famed Guangzhou Opera House is right next door to the Hotel, with a full calendar of concerts and other performances. And, to get to know more of the Pearl River New City area, we’ve created a walking tour, as detailed in our new In the Know newsletter,” adds Li.
Life in the Clouds: Inside Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
From the ground floor, guests of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou take dedicated express elevators to the 70th floor lobby, where a dramatic three metre (ten foot) red steel sculpture by Australian artist Matthew Harding appears to float on a sea of watery glass, reflecting the astounding ceiling window 30 floors above. The incredible naturally-lit atrium, surrounded by restaurants and rooms above, is higher than the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and New York’s Statue of Liberty.
Throughout the Hotel, a carefully curated collection of paintings, prints and sculptures by contemporary international artists enhances the sleek modern interiors created by HBA/Hirsch Bedner and Associates. Highlights include glass sculptures in Yu Yue Heen restaurant by Australian Clare Belfrage; a wood sculpture in Tian Bar by Richard Hutton of the Netherlands; mixed media sculptures by the American team of Jeremy Newman and Allison Ciancibelli in Caffe Mondo; paintings by Korean artist Yun Hee Toh in the Executive Club Lounge; nine sculptures by Yang Don Dong throughout the Hotel; and Lee Man Seng’s unique Chinese seal-inspired timber sculptures in Yu Yue Heen.
“A particular favourite among staff is the sculpture by Wei Chi Gao in Yu Yue Heen. It depicts two stylized weiqi players, an homage to the game often played outdoors in parks during the summer time,” says Sepahi.
In 302 guest rooms and 42 suites, guests will find beautifully appointed interiors naturally lit by floor-to-ceiling windows. On the 97th floor, the sumptuous Presidential Suite’s contemporary look is enhanced by original artworks throughout 253 square metres (2,725 square feet) of living space that includes a central living room and dining area with adjacent butler’s pantry and bedrooms on either side. Just below on the 96th floor, the Royal Suite’s design is inspired by a traditional Chinese palette, also accented by original artworks.
Dining and Entertaing at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
With six dining and entertainment venues, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is the city’s newest location for gourmet cuisine, impeccable service and see-and-be-seen atmosphere.
Presiding over the kitchen at Yu Yue Heen, the Hotel’s stylish Cantonese restaurant overlooking the 70th floor atrium lobby, is Chinese Executive Chef Law Yiu Choi. More than 50 years of culinary experience was highlighted in 1996, when he became only the second Chinese chef to be named a Chef Rôtisseur by the prestigious international gastronomic society Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which was founded in Paris in 1950 and traces its origins back to 1248.
Chef Law’s signature dishes includes whole Yoshihama dried abalone in supreme oyster sauce; braised egg noodles with shredded fish maw and spring onions in abalone sauce; crispy duck, Peking style; crispy marinated Japanese pork in red bean curd crust; double boiled liao sea cucumber soup with cordyceps; and roast goose with plum sauce. Other menu standouts include several bird’s nest soups and a dim sum selection, all accompanied by fine Chinese teas, scotches, cognacs, Chinese and international beers, and wine.
“Chef Law’s favourite ingredient is abalone, so guests can expect to find it prepared in many traditional and imaginative ways at Yu Yue Heen,” notes Executive Chef David Greenhill, who oversees all the Hotel’s restaurants and bars, as well as banqueting and in-room dining.
Chef Kazumi Sawada, under whose leadership Tokyo’s Banreki Ryukodo restaurant received a Michelin star, has come to Guangzhou to oversee the culinary team at Kumoi on the Hotel’s 72nd floor. Introduced by a saki bar made of natural stone, the completely glass-enclosed restaurant is a showcase of expertly prepared teppenyaki, yakitori, sushi and other contemporary Japanese dishes, mostly prepared in view of guests.
Chef’s signature selections include Alaskan king crab with wakame and bonito jelly; steamed abalone with soy liver sauce; futomaki roll with shrimp, crab leg, egg, cucumber and pickled ginger; wagyu roll of Japanese beef with cream cheese and green onion; toro steak with wasabi salt and organic garlic chips; fresh abalone with eringi mushroom and spring onion; and a plate of assorted tempura including prawns, squid, asparagus, shiitake mushroom and eggplant.
Crowning Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou on the 100th floor, Catch is a spectacular seafood restaurant with a demonstration kitchen at the heart of the action. Chef Yvan Collet has created a menu of exquisite preparations of the freshest internationally sourced seafood, including Russian caviar, Norwegian salmon, Australian rock oysters and New England lobster, as well as choice cuts of meat including the showstopping grain-fed tomahawk beef steak. The beverage list at Catch and Tian Bar one floor below offers ideal wine pairings and liquors, including an extensive list of scotches, bourbons and whiskies.
Dining options also include the 72nd floor Caffe Mondo for Italian-inspired all day dining, featuring what could possibly be the world’s highest brick lined pizza oven, and The Atrium in the 70th floor Hotel lobby, perfect for light fare, tea and cocktails throughout the day.
A Heavenly Garden of Flowers at Hua Spa
Escaping the urban din 69 floors below on the streets of Guangzhou, guests will find a softly lit, gently perfumed retreat where they can relax, rejuvenate, and simply be pampered. The experience at Hua Spa is inspired by flowers – hua in Mandarin – from the light scent of geranium and rose as one enters to the lavish blend of indigenous flowers in signature therapies and treatments.
“Everything is centred on the physical and emotional wellbeing of our guests,” says Spa Director Sophia Patel, who was most recently with the acclaimed Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. “Using the highest quality products from Biologique Rechere and Aromatherapy Associates, we have created an extensive menu of massages, facials, body treatments and more for our guests to experience in one of nine treatment rooms – including three sumptuous, naturally lit double-size VIP suites.”
The signature Flowers of the Four Seasons treatment is a 150 minute journey perfumed by mu mian (spring), lotus (summer), Chinese rose (autumn) and peony (winter) that includes a foot bath, body scrub, face and body mask and finally a luxurious massage. The Bed of Roses treatment includes body exfoliation with gentle olive grains, a rose-fragranced bath, a body wrap in rose gel and evening primrose oil and a facial using essential oils of rose and frankincense for a complete top to toe ritual in 120 minutes. The Evergreen treatment, at 105 minutes, features a foot bath, face/body/scalp massage, eye treatment and face mask using expertly blended natural certified organic products including English camomile, evening primrose and peach kernel oil.
The 1,070 square metre (11,517 square foot) Hua Spa also offers a water-based treatment area with Vichy-style shower, rhassoul mud chamber, crystal steam room and laconium in the women’s area, plus herbal steam bath, Swedish and Finnish sauna and ice fountain in the men’s area.
The adjacent 24-hour Fitness Center is equipped with state-of-the-art gym equipment, and a stunning 25 metre (82 foot) horizon-edge lap pool overlooks the city with a windowed poolside relaxation terrace.
Celebrations and Other Events, Four Seasons Style
In the months leading up to the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, anticipation was building for the city’s newest venue for weddings, galas, conferences, business meetings and other events. “Before the Hotel had opened we had confirmed seven weddings – and that’s before anyone had ever attended a wedding here or tasted our food,” says Director of Catering Ginny Khaw, whose 15 years of experience at Four Seasons includes posts in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. “People in Guangzhou really like things that are new, but more often it is the reputation of Four Seasons. They trust us.”
With 3,585 square metres (38,585 square feet) of formal event space, the Hotel can accommodate banquets from ten to 720 in three ballrooms: Pearl Ballroom, Grand Ballroom, and Onyx Ballroom. All are lavishly appointed for weddings and other social occasions, with the added advantage of built-in functionality to host conferences and meetings as well. Each has an adjacent VIP room, ideal for brides, speakers and visiting dignitaries.
In addition, eight smaller meeting rooms are all conveniently located on the first five floors of the IFC, along with the Hotel’s business centre. In addition, 11 private dining rooms in the restaurants above offer space for 10 to 32 persons.
The Executive Club Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is also open daily, boasting its own private meeting space, concierge services and daily breakfast, refreshments and cocktails on the 99th floor.
Known to centuries of western traders as Canton, Guangzhou is China’s third largest city, located 120 kilometres (75 miles) upriver from Hong Kong and 165 kilometres (100 miles) from Macau.
Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou joins Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai; Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong; Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip; Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake; and the soon-to-be opened Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai and Four Seasons Hotel Beijing in the company’s growing portfolio, with a dozen additional hotels and resorts currently in advanced stages of development in China.