A New Approach to Hotel Dining in London at Park Lane
Opening January 31, 2011, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is shaking up the city's culinary scene with a unique new dining experience at Amaranto restaurant.
With the launch of Amaranto in London, Four Seasons is introducing a stylish new Italian restaurant, helmed by a chef freshly arrived from Rome.
But the new venue is significant in many other ways. Over the past few years, Four Seasons has been rethinking its approach to “food and beverage”—with the goal of transforming the concept of hotel dining.
Informal, More Flexible
“We’re moving away from formal restaurants that people only visit for special occasions,” says Guy Rigby, Four Seasons Vice President, Food & Beverage, Americas. “Our new restaurants are comfortable and welcoming places, where people want to come on a regular basis.”
That emphasis on comfort extends to pricing. While Four Seasons menus still feature high-end specialties, there are more options that are priced appropriately for casual occasions. “It’s up to the guests what they want to spend, rather than something that’s dictated by the restaurant.”
Even wine lists are being reconceived. While rare and high-priced options are still available, there’s now a deeper selection of mid-priced wines, which, in truth, are the wines most guests tend to choose anyway.
Italian at its Finest
There’s no question that a Four Seasons restaurant needs to be a beautiful destination with its own character and appeal.
“Restaurants have always been an important calling card of the hotel,” says Rigby. “They define the style and mood. And to be truly successful, they need to have a strong concept, whether it’s defined by a great view or special décor or a style of cuisine, be it French or Chinese.”
In London, Italian cuisine was decided as the direction, providing an inspiring theme for great food and wine. The name Amaranto is the Italian word for the amaranth flower, a fact reflected in the rich red highlights of the interior design.
The guiding intention was to create a vibrant new addition to the fashionable Mayfair social scene.
A Part of the Mayfair Neighbourhood
To reinforce the sense of a distinct destination, Amaranto has its own separate street entrance—though of course, it can also be reached through the hotel lobby. This trend for a separate entrance is in evidence at other new Four Seasons restaurants including EDGE Restaurant in Denver and Culina, Modern Italian, in Los Angeles.
“We want people to see us as part of the neighbourhood,” says John Stauss, Park Lane’s General Manager and Four Seasons Regional Vice President. “Mayfair residents and businesspeople can walk in easily off the street, dropping in after work or coming for lunch. And for Hotel guests, the local character adds to the appeal.”
Lounge, Bar, Restaurant in One
There’s also a trend for Four Seasons city hotels to feature a single restaurant, instead of multiple venues. (This trend is different in Asia and the Middle East, where numerous restaurants are more common.)
With a single focal point, there’s a greater concentration of people and energy, resulting in a more dynamic atmosphere. Interior layouts feature communal areas to create an exciting “see and be seen” social factor.
Though Amaranto may be one destination, it includes three different experiences—lounge, bar and restaurant—and in fact, each of these areas offers a variety of options within it.
Bright and airy, beside a wall of windows, the lounge features three separate salons, ranging from a soaring two-storey space with a grand piano to more intimately scaled living rooms.
Warm and cosy, the bar includes club chairs for casual seating, a tall wine-tasting table for 10, along with stools at the bar counter. Glass-fronted wine walls line both sides of the room, showcasing a large, predominantly Italian collection of fine wines.
Separated from the bar by a two-sided fireplace, the restaurant encompasses a traditional seating area, a private dining room, a glass conservatory overlooking the garden and tables in the garden itself with views of Hyde Park.
When guests arrive at Amaranto, they can choose for themselves where they’d like to sit—opting for breakfast in the garden or beside the fireplace in the bar—depending on their mood and the occasion.
Chef Adriano Cavagnini Leads the Team
Choosing the right chef for Amaranto was paramount.
After an extensive search, Adriano Cavagnini has been named Executive Chef, following his seven-year, Michelin-starred tenure at the Hotel Eden in Rome.
“Our cuisine will be modern,” says Cavagnini, “an innovative yet classical combination inspired with Italian flavours, British style and enhanced by tastes from around the world.”
For example, in addition to the classic English afternoon tea, there’ll be an Amaranto tea menu with Italian influences.
The Four Seasons specialty has always been personalisation, and with this new approach to dining in London, guests will enjoy the utmost in personal choice and flexibility.
Next, we’ll look at how Four Seasons is redefining the role of the hotel concierge.
For more information on Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, call 44 (20) 7499-0888 or send an e-mail to Gerrie.Pitt@fourseasons.com.