I’ve never been totally au fait with the notion of a staycation, preferring to venture further afield and explore places unknown. But how often is it that we take a moment to appreciate the beauty of our own city as if through the eyes of a visitor? Sometimes you don’t have to travel too far from home to experience that exquisite holiday feeling, in fact, 10 minutes on the Jubilee line should do it…
Canary Wharf is the latest addition to London’s Novotel clan, however the family resemblance with it’s brothers and sisters further down the Thames stops short at the name. Novotel Canary Wharf is a thing in its own right: a 313 room – including 26 suites – hotel spread over thirty nine floors with a gourmet restaurant, breathtaking rooftop bar, a hydrotherapy pool, a spa, a rugged-chic gym with state of the art equipment, meeting rooms and a lobby with a swing that wouldn’t go a miss in the Google offices.
Novotel Canary Wharf pays a fine tribute to the cultural history of the foundations that its sleek glass structure is built upon. The West India Dock once imported tea, tobacco, herbs and spices from across the Empire and the rich Maritime antiquity is present throughout the industrial styling – think brass lamps, exposed brickwork, copper piping and hessian decor – to the presence of Indian tea and Madagascan sugar shampoo in the bedrooms. The executive suite – in which I was lucky enough to spend a night – wouldn’t go a miss in a contemporary New York high rise. The dream bachelor pad, it features a large leather couch, dual flat screen TVs and a marble and copper clad wet-room with tiles that are worthy of Instagramming. What we really need to talk about though is the view. There are few words that describe the immensity of falling asleep and waking up with The City at ones feet and it’s impossible not to feel content with the world when sipping a morning coffee (fresh from the Nespresso machine, of course) and watching the Thames meander into the distance, or to feel a thrill as the city lights dance as sun sets.
One of the beauties of a staycation is not feeling the need to rush out and seize the day; instead I tore myself away from the view to enjoy a gentle dip in the hydrotherapy pool before getting ready for dinner, which is conveniently only a few floors away. Bōkan puts the ‘d’ in destination; a restaurant, bar and roof terrace spanning the thirty seventh to thirty ninth floors of the hotel, it’s menu continues to pay homage to the sites rich heritage, serving traditional British cuisine sexed up with contemporary European twists.
We begin with a glass of champagne and the chef’s amuse-bouche before delving into the small, but perfectly formed, menu which is compromised of six starters, three meat mains, two fish mains and a vegetarian option. Each dish was immaculately presented with the kind of attention to detail that can only be described as artistic, the organic Pugliese burrata with Cornish beetroot, figs, Barolo vinegar and melba toast a real stand out for its innovative flavour combinations, the sweetness of the figs complimenting the subtle saltiness of the soft Italian cheese. A feast for both the eyes and the tastebuds, Hereford 28 day-aged ribeye steak with bone marrow, grelot onions and red wine sauce was cooked beautifully rare and rich in flavour, but the organic guinea fowl & foie gras with black polenta, summer truffle, corn and bacon stole the show. Both courses were served with paired white and red wines respectively which were expertly chosen by the sommelier.
One might expect a restaurant in the Square Mile with far reaching city views and two AA rosettes for Culinary Excellence to come with a hefty price tag, but Bōkan offers incredible value for the quality, service and ambience. The chef’s six course tasting menu can be enjoyed for £65 per head and features delights from both the land and the sea including cured & confit salmon with smoked crème fraiche, potatoes and Avruga caviar, Merryfield duck breast with sweet potato puree and damson & miso marmalade and fresh figs & raspberries with cheesecake cream, cinnamon streusel and horchata ice cream, finished with coffee and petit fours.
With generous check in and check out hours of 14:00 and noon respectively, Novotel Canary Wharf offers a taste of luxury city living high above the hustle and bustle. The atmosphere is young and contemporary and the staff really cannot do enough to make your stay flawless. Perfect for both business and leisure travellers (or staycationers!) wishing to the enjoy the city from new heights, Novotel Canary Wharf is a welcome addition to the Accor group and set to be a firm favourite for sleeping, drinking and dining amongst Londoners and beyond.
Rooms from £135 per night for a superior double room and £254 a night for the executive suite.
I stayed and dined with compliments however all views and imagery are entirely my own.