In January 2020, I checked into the Club Premier Room Canton Tower View at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou. Occupying the top floors of the 103-storey Guangzhou International Finance Centre (IFC) in the city’s business district of Tianhe in Zhujiang New Town, and sitting directly along the Pearl River across the bank from the iconic Canton Tower, the 344-room hotel ranks as one of the tallest five-star hotels in the world. The hotel is located around 45 minutes away from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and 10 minutes from Guangzhou East Railway Station, with easy underground access to Zhujiang New Town station. Nearby attractions include the Guangdong Museum, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Guangzhou Opera House as well as the popular K11 Art Mall with its blend of art, fashion, dining and retail.
The hotel is rated five stars by Forbes Travel Guide 2019, an accomplishment shared by notable hotels such as Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, the Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore and Capella Singapore. The hotel is one of the notable accommodation destinations in the vibrant Zhujiang New Town area alongside Park Hyatt Guangzhou, Jumeirah Hotel Guangzhou and the snazzy new Rosewood Guangzhou.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Sky-high luxury haven with all-window exteriors in Guangzhou.
The must-dos (if any): Take in the architectural beauty of the soaring atrium, enjoy an evening long soak in the oversized bathtub in your room with a view of the Canton Tower, go for a swim in the indoor pool, have drinks and roast meat delights at the Executive Club Lounge, have a meal at Michelin-starred Yu Yue Heen, wind down with a bespoke cocktail at Tian Bar.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GUANGZHOU
After a ride in one of the dedicated express elevators from the ground floor, guests will emerge on the 70th floor at the hotel lobby and be greeted by remarkably dramatic architectural and design features, courtesy of interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (behind the design of Marina Bay Sands as well as recent room renewal projects at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore and Fairmont Singapore). Against the backdrop of textured, backlit feature screens, a three-metre red steel sculpture “neO” by Australian artist Matthew Harding stands in the middle of the main lobby. The sculpture seemingly floats on a watery glass surface which reflects the skylight at the top of the triangular tower and draws your eyes upwards, upon which you will witness a glorious glittering effect caused by the various reflective and refractive elements across the 30 floors of tapering diagonal glass, a mesmerising visual which makes you feel like you are inside a multifaceted gemstone. For an even more striking view which most dramatically and intensely captures the architectural marvel that is the soaring, sparkling atrium, guests can make a special advance request to access the bridge on the 100th level which projects outward towards the void at the top of the atrium, a location so special that it is a hotly-demanded spot for wedding photography.
The skylight atop the 30-floor-high atrium allows natural light to flood the spaces within. Coupled with the building’s all-window facade – all the guest rooms spanning across the 74th and 98th floors have floor-to-ceiling windows – and the property’s use of contemporary Chinese art focused on nature and the elements as well as design flourishes such as the watercolour-like carpets which conjure imagery of skies and clouds, the full impact of being in the sky is brought home to stunning effect.
The hotel houses a whopping seven F&B concepts: lobby lounge The Atrium on the 70th floor; the Michelin-starred modern Chinese restaurant Yu Yue Heen on the 71st floor famed for its dim sum and refined Cantonese cuisine; Japanese restaurant Kumoi which offers various specialties such as hotpot, teppanyaki, robatayaki and yakitori dishes and all-day Italian restaurant Caffe Mondo, both of which are situated on the 72nd floor; cocktail bar Tian Bar which offers breathtaking 99th floor views, thumpy dance beats and playful Chinese-inspired tipples; seafood restaurant Catch on the 100th floor, the highest restaurant in the hotel; and Dolcetto by Caffe Mondo on the ground level which serves light savoury bites, pastries, cakes and coffee.
Wellness facilities are situated on the 69th level. The Hua Spa offers indulgent treatments ranging from Aroma Crystal Massage and exfoliating Vichy Shower to the intriguing Flowers of the Four Seasons which involves the use of mu mian, lotus, Chinese rose and peony, each embodying one of the four seasons. Elsewhere, the Fitness Centre with steam room and sauna facilities allows you to get your daily sweat time sorted, while the Indoor Lap Pool gives swimmers access to panoramic views of the Pearl River Delta.
CLUB PREMIER ROOM CANTON TOWER VIEW
Offering stellar sky-high views of the Pearl River and the cityscape below, and directly facing the iconic Canton Tower through floor-to-ceiling windows, the 70sqm Club Premier Room Canton Tower View plays it gray, ivory and taupe tones accented by teal flourishes, featuring a king bed with leather headboards, spacious sofa area as well as a glass writing desk, all of which face outward towards the clear skies. A sizeable walk-in closet is situated near the entrance of the room, close to the pantry which is equipped with Illy coffee and TG tea-making facilities along with a minibar stocked with a range of canned drinks, mini spirit bottles and beers.
The marble bathroom features double vanities, heated floors, enclosed rainfall shower facilities as well as a gloriously oversized soaking tub which faces the Canton Tower and provides opportunities for night-time romantic champagne-kissed moments in the semi-darkness whilst admiring the Canton Tower light show. The delicious grapefruit-scented bathroom amenities are from Atelier Cologne (a brand also used by Mandarin Oriental, Singapore).
Breakfast is served at casual all-day Italian restaurant Caffe Mondo, which channels ethereal morning vibes with strong natural light, white surfaces and flowing sheer curtains all around. The breakfast selection includes pastries, Western breakfast sides, Asian dishes such as Braised Fish Bean Curd in Curry Sauce, Shredded Pork with Szechuan Pickled Cabbage, Spicy Minced Pork and Tomato with Fried Egg, an extensive range of Chinese dim-sum such as Shrimp Pork Dumpling, Steamed Pork Shrimp Mushroom (i.e. Siew Mai), Glutinous Rice with Chicken and Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun, noodle and egg stations and even an Arabic food area with dishes such as Tabbouleh, Fattoush Salad and Labnhe. Beyond breakfast, the restaurant menu offers pizzas, pastas such as Squid Ink Spaghetti Ai Frutti Di Mare and Linguini Aglio E Olio with Peperoncino and Carabineros Red Prawns along with mains and grilled options which include Red Snapper “Acqua Pazza”, Veal Ossobuco with Mash Potato and Yunnan Mushroom as well as New Zealand Lamb Chop.
One of the hotel’s headlining concepts is Yu Yue Heen, the chic Michelin-starred modern Chinese restaurant on the 71st floor which plays it all glossy black and red lacquer accents. The menu showcases various regional classics such as Braised Qingyuan Chicken with Dalian Abalone and Marinated Wenchang Chicken in Soya Sauce along with various barbecue, seafood, meat, poultry, rice and noodle options. The Barbecued Pork Belly crackled and released its saline passion with fervour, while elsewhere the umami-coated Sauteed Prawns with XO Chilli Sauce possessed a pleasurable suppleness and plumpness of flesh and the tender Roasted Chicken with Coconut Oil wore its crisp coat and coconut aroma with poise. Surprisingly, the Steamed Baby Cabbages, Garlic, Olive Leaves and Pickle stole the show, being a riotous circus of contrasting, explosive flavour and simultaneously having soft, chewy and crunchy textures all at once.
Located on the 99th floor, Tian Bar serves playful Chinese-inspired cocktails and light bites in a chic setting, with resident DJs coming in to bring on the club beats. Reservations are necessary if you wish to snag seats at the gorgeous bar counter which is cut from a rare piece of multi-coloured agate and dramatically lit-up in the dark. Many guests also covet the various outward-facing couple seats which face the Canton Tower and offer amazing views of its famous night-time light-up shows. Whilst menu options such as Golden Chrysanthemum and Osmanthus kept the proceedings breezy and non-committal, I thoroughly enjoyed my bespoke Negroni with Laphroiag 10 and Nordes gin, which was possibly the best cocktail I have had in a very long time.
Modern Japanese restaurant Kumoi on the 72nd floor serves an extensive menu featuring hotpot, teppanyaki, tempura, robatayaki and yakitori dishes, all of which are served izakaya-style for sharing (sample dishes: Teppanyaki Foie Gras Fried Rice, Eel Kabayaki, Sukiyaki Wagyu Beef, Teppanyaki Australian Wagyu Beef Sirloin (M4)).
Located on the highest level of the hotel, 100th floor restaurant Catch serves exquisite seafood dishes (think Steamed Atlantic Cod Fillet, Grand Seafood Tower and Cornish Crab) alongside meat options such as Wagyu 8+ Grade Oyster Blade Smoked Chuck Tender and Sugar Cured Wagyu Beef in a sophisticated gold, gray and purple dining setting with stunning views of the city.
Rounding up the F&B options is 70th floor lounge The Atrium, which is popular for their 3-tier European afternoon tea and sunset cocktails, as well as ground floor cafe Dolcetto by Caffe Mondo, which offers light savoury bites, pastries, cakes and coffee for both dining-in at the cafe’s outdoor terrace or for takeaway.
EXECUTIVE CLUB LOUNGE
Situated on the 99th floor, the Executive Club Lounge serves breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapes in an elegant, residential-style setting, with a selection of wines and prosecco available all day for your degenerate mid-day imbibing purposes.
While there are no exclusive items available during the breakfast presentation which cannot be found at Caffe Mondo‘s buffet spread, the evening cocktail presentation was suitably indulgent and fairly impressive. The buffet spread encompassed delectable appetisers such as Soba Noodles, Scallop Salad and Salmon Tartare, soup choices such as Pumpkin Soup and Chicken Soup with Chinese Herbs, greasy comfort bites such as Vegetable Spring Roll and Samosa and meat options such as Cantonese Soy Sauce Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Beef Meatballs and a very oil-slick and delicious Roasted Goose.
The cocktail menu on offer was fairly basic, but when I requested for a Gin & Tonic, I was shown a very extensive gin library menu from the adjacent Tian Bar which covers the major bartender-approved gins from the Scottish Botanist, French Citadelle No Mistake Old Tom and Japanese Roku to the Finnish Napue Rye and Spanish Gin Mare. When I asked for a recommendation, I was eventually given a G&T prepared using a Spanish Nordes gin, which is now one of my favourite gins given its irresistibly aromatic botanical profile.
I stayed at this property right before I checked into the nearby Rosewood Guangzhou, which also provides a formidably sky-high hotel stay experience as well as an extensive F&B dining programme. While the latter hotel does have glossier and more contemporary interior design flourishes and dining offerings, it must be said that this hotel more effectively harnesses its locational assets due to its all-window exteriors and overall architectural structures, and as such offers more of a “hotel in the clouds” experience throughout the stay despite Rosewood Guangzhou being the slightly taller hotel. It is a tough choice between the two.
Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
5 Zhujiang West Road
510623 Pearl River New City