Soaring above the Pearl River in China’s third largest metropolitan area and economic powerhouse, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou will occupy the top 30 floors of the new 103-story International Finance Center (IFC) Guangzhou.
“We’re literally taking it to a new level as Four Seasons continues its expansion in China,” says General Manager Bahram Sepahi, noting that Four Seasons will also open a second hotel in Shanghai at Pudong this year, marking the 5th and 6th in the company’s Chinese portfolio. “Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is in the heart of the trading port that was once known as Canton. It will be a destination for international business travellers, and a centre of business and social life in the city.”
The Look of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
Designed by Wilkinson Eyre architects of London, the iconic IFC Guangzhou is “woven” together by a unique “diagrid” structure featuring concrete-filled steel tubes laced around the three-sided vase-shaped structure. Aligned to the prevailing winds with soft corners that cut into the wind like the bow of a ship, IFC Guangzhou is also perfectly situated for positive feng shui.
The three sides allow form to meet function as the building offers two faces that take in the Pearl River Delta, and another that overlooks the Central Business District and old city centre. The building is already receiving international accolades, including the 2011 Best Tall Building, Asia and Australiasia, by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Pearl River New City, or Zhujiang Xin Cheng, is Guangzhou’s new focal point for business and culture, located at the river’s edge and home to the world’s most prestigious companies, plus government consulates, shops, restaurants and arts institutions, including the new Zaha Hahid-designed Guangzhou Opera House, right next door to Four Seasons. At the heart of the area is the Flower City Square - Huacheng Guang Chang – China’s largest urban park, on a scale comparable to New York’s Central Park. Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is just 20 minutes from the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center, home of the Canton Fair, which attracts 200,000 international visitors semi-annually.
Life in the Clouds: Inside Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
Entering on the ground floor, guests board dedicated express elevators to the 70th floor lobby. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a panoramic view of the Pearl River Delta, and another surprise is overhead. As guests step into the astounding 30-story light-filled atrium lobby, they are bathed in natural light funnelled down from a glass ceiling higher than the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or New York’s Statue of Liberty.
HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates – the Hotel’s design firm - has envisioned a marriage between Chinese culture and modern design with a series of motifs that references dragons and clouds. From the first elevator ride, the stage is set with the use of onyx fantastico, a unique red stone that changes colour and tone depending on how it’s viewed. Symbolizing the fiery breath of the dragon lifting guests through the building, it’s a dramatic start to a stay at Four Seasons.
“The dragon, so often depicted riding atop the clouds in Chinese mythology, is a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, enlightenment, energy, leadership, success and good fortune,” continues Sepahi, who leads a team of more than 700 carefully chosen employees. “It’s this atmosphere that we are striving to create at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou.”
Throughout, guests will see stylized dragon and cloud motifs, such as in the custom-designed guest room carpets that create an illusion of walking on air. In the Hotel’s Premier Rooms, triangular free-standing bathtubs are inspired by the building’s three-sided shape, positioned next to seamless panoramic windows. In all, the Hotel offers 344 guest rooms, including 42 suites.
On Top of the World: Dining and Drinking at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
Executive Chef David Greenhill leads a carefully assembled international culinary team that will bring to life four restaurants and two bars, as well as cater social and business functions and in-room dining.
It may seem impossible to top cocktails at the 99th floor Tian Bar, but that’s just what happens when guests ascend even higher to the spectacular signature seafood restaurant on the 100th floor at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou. Envisioned by Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Designers Ltd, Catch will present the freshest seafood much of which will be prepared in the restaurant’s demonstration kitchen.
Yu Yue Heen, wrapping around the atrium one flight above the Hotel lobby, will welcome up to 226 guests for innovative Cantonese dining presided over by Chinese Executive Chef Law Yiu Choi. Eight private dining rooms offer parties from 10 to 32 more discreet spaces for business meetings and intimate celebrations. HBA’s design is rich and sophisticated, with light from red chandeliers reflected on polished black stone in the main restaurant, while modern abstractions of Chinese calligraphy flow across walls and floors.
Michelin-starred Japanese Restaurant Chef Kazumi Sawada has come from Tokyo to lead the expert teppenyaki, yakitori and sushi teams at Kumoi on the 72nd floor. Enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass etched with cherry blossom patterns, the Japanese restaurant’s centrepiece will be a central bar of raw natural stone. Expect many delicacies on the menu: Chef Sawada is one of the few chefs to hold the rare certification required to prepare blowfish outside Japan.
Also on the 72nd floor is Caffe Mondo for Italian-inspired all day dining, featuring what could possible to the world’s highest brick lined pizza oven. Welcoming guests at the 70th floor lobby is the Atrium Bar, perfect for light fare, tea, and cocktails throughout the day.
Business Meetings and Celebrations, Four Seasons Style
Even before Portuguese traders first arrived in the region 500 years ago, Guangzhou was a centre of commerce and trade in China and throughout the region. Today, thousands of deals are struck daily across the city – and soon, a good number are likely to happen at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou.
With 3,585 square metres (38,585 square feet) of formal meeting space, the Hotel can accommodate banquets from ten to 720 in three ballrooms and eight smaller meeting rooms, all conveniently located on the first five floors of the IFC. In addition, 11 private dining rooms in the restaurants above offer the opportunity to solidify relationships and celebrate success for parties from 10 to 32 persons.
The Hotel’s major meeting spaces - Pearl Ballroom, Grand Ballroom, and Onyx Ballroom - are all beautifully appointed for weddings and other social occasions, with the added advantage of built-in functionality to host conferences and meetings as well. All three ballrooms offer an adjacent VIP room, ideal for brides, speakers and visiting dignitaries.
The Sapphire Room is specifically designed for press conferences, and there’s a fully functional business centre conveniently located in the heart of the meeting complex as well. The 99th floor Executive Club is a haven for business travellers accustomed to the very best in service and amenities.
Relax and Refresh at Hua Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
High above the hustling and bustling city 69 floors below, Hua Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou will offer an opportunity to relax and refresh among the clouds. Each of nine heavenly treatment rooms, including three sumptuous double-size VIP suites, features natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, a vitality tub, private shower and steam room.
At 1,070 square metres (11,517 square feet), 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. These extensive facilities allow Hua Spa to offer a broad range of treatments, from traditional Chinese therapies to the newest wellness approaches from around the world, whether tailored to the jetlagged business traveller or those who simply want to look and feel their very best while in the city.
To stay in shape, 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.