Pan Pacific London
Pan Pacific London has at last opened its doors to the public. It is one of the most anticipated openings of 2021.
I had the great pleasure of a Pan Pacific London hotel tour accompanied by the designers, George Yabu & Glenn Pushelberg.
George, Toronto born, of Asian descent and as calm as a gentle breeze, glides from room to room taking snaps that on each occasion he shares with Glenn.
Glenn is tired and slightly disorientated, having arrived from New York a few short hours ago.
His enthusiasm, nevertheless, is infectious.
Neither have seen the hotel since much of the furniture arrived and both are keen to style the rooms they enter.
“There’s still much to be done, the finishing touches.
“Everything is here but I’d just like to dress the rooms a little.
“Small changes, big difference!” says Glenn as he pushes a sofa further into a corner and repositions a lamp.
It does make a big difference.
He then removes two teal cushions from the bed saying they’re “too hotel”.
Over all, I get the impression that they are pleased with the hotel.
Key elements get their approval: the standard of finishes, the angled wall in the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the carpets, the restaurant spaces.
What is notable about the design is a lack of hard edges.
The corners of the walls are slightly curved and smooth, the furniture is rounded.
This instantly softens the interiors and helps to give an impression of flow and continuity.
What was the brief for Pan Pacific London? George smiles, “Less of a brief, more of a feeling that the owners wanted to achieve.
“The owners were keen that this hotel would have an ‘East meets West’ vibe and they wanted it to embrace the ethos of the brand.
“I hope we’ve achieved that.”
The hotel brand has a reputation for delivering a seamless level of service in a very Asian style.
As their first hotel in Europe, Pan Pacific London is something of a flagship.
It needed to retain the service values that the brand is known for in Singapore and to integrate a degree of modern Britishness.
“Being in the City it had to be tailored to where we are.” adds Glenn.
“Many of the guests are here on business.
“They do not have the time to spend a day relaxing in the spa and wellness area.”
Have they added a recognisable Yabu Pushelberg signature style to the hotel?
“I don’t think that we have a stamp or a signature” says George, “but there is a thread of appropriateness in how we respond to our clients’ personalities, that is a part of the Yabu Pushelberg’s DNA.
“This means that our projects from client to client are always different and we are always evolving.”
“I think our work has longevity, we don’t respond very well to fads and fashions” says Glenn.
“We want to go to a hotel that we feel good about now, but it must also be one that we’ll keep going back to.”
Has their design approach changed over the years?
“With our hotel projects I think the biggest change has been to make our interiors a little more homely, more residential in style.”
There is certainly an informality to Pan Pacific London. The furniture and furnishings are tactile. The colour scheme is calming. The abundance of potted plants adds to the homely atmosphere.
As a business meeting place, it is unlike any other hotel in the City of London. It’s warm and unassuming and there’s an air of tranquillity about it.
Not quite Zen, but not City either.
The hotel has 237 guest rooms including 42 suites.
The rooms are ample in size and offer guests sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city streets below.
Unlike most hotel rooms in the City, these are extremely calming and comfortable spaces and they effectively block the noise from outside.
Rooms feature Hypnos beds, Nespresso machines and Dyson hairdryers as standard and the hotel provides personal services to guests including in-room Yoga and a curated library.
There are several meeting venues including what is billed as the ‘most technologically advanced Ballroom in the City’, the Pacific Ballroom, which accommodated up to 400 guests.
Public spaces include the exotic sounding Orchid Lounge and the Ginger Lily Bar, a deliberately darkened space which serves over 100 brands of champagne.
On the first floor is the Straits Kitchen restaurant, an all-day dining venue, serving ‘the melting pot of cuisines represented in multicultural Singapore.’
In design terms Straits Kitchen is a hit.
All the furniture is round edged, and comfy, oversized lamps appear as ornamental statement pieces, there are semi-private areas created for smaller groups of diners and the Asian artwork on the walls bring welcome splashes of colour to the space.
Look out for the funky cushions supplied by Timorous Beasties with their unique range of printed flora, fauna, and insect fabrics.
They fit in well with the hotel’s botanical theme, evidenced in much of the wall art, the in-room gardening books and the large plants arranged within public spaces.
An entire floor is dedicated to health and wellbeing integrating fitness, nutrition, treatments, and mindfulness.
Guests can enjoy swimming in the 18.5sqm infinity pool that overlooks the Plaza below, working out in the High-Performance conditioning gym or relaxing in the saunas, the steam rooms or in the mindfulness studio.
“This will be a lasting hotel.” states Glenn Pushelberg, relaxing in the Ginger Lily lounge. “I’m happy with it.”
Looking around the space, George Yabu agrees.
“I’m pleased with it, although there are still things we need to do.”
And we’re back to those small changes.
Changes that George and Glenn determine to attend to the following day.
Photography: Jack Hardy