IF THERE’S ONE CITY IN THE WORLD THAT KNOWS HOW TO MERGE HISTORY AND LUXURY ALL IN ONE, IT IS DEFINITELY THE BRITISH CAPITAL, LONDON. CLASSIC ENGLISH ELEGANCE BLENDS WITH CONTEMPORARY, THOUGHTFUL SERVICE AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL HYDE PARK, LOCATED BETWEEN GLORIOUS ROYAL PARKL AND AND THE BUZZ OF CENTRAL KNIGHTSBRIDGE. FACT CHECKS IN FOR A STAY THAT HAS US INFATUATED FROM THE MOMENT WE STEP OFF THE BUSY CIT Y STREET AND INTO THE BEAUTIFUL ENTRANCE OF THE ICONIC HOTEL…
Walking through the very doors that the likes of Winston Churchill, the Queen of England and many other prominent world figures have stepped through really feels like a journey of discovery. This is the iconic Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London; a building that speaks to the very fabric of the English capital’s architecture, history and deep heritage. It is where traditionally-dressed bellman in red coats and top hats greet you with warm smiles and sincere wishes for the day – reminding guests of the oldworld, classic English charm that so many visitors are looking for in London. In fact, pleasantries are plenty and welcoming as the staff at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London all carry this same graceful approach to dealing with guests. In a bustling city during peak summer season, this is a first impression that we applaud.
Housed in a 117-year-old landmark building, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London reopened its doors in April 2019 after a restoration of its guest rooms and suites, including two newly created expansive penthouse suites. Conveying signature Mandarin touches, the London property boasts distinctive design and a strong sense of place, with both local elements and oriental flair meeting to create intuitive service that is as reflective of its British roots as it is synonymous with the brand’s Far East charisma.
Walk into the lobby and admire the understated elegance of a reception area that feels so much like walking into an old friend’s home. At check-in, we’re a little early and are shown to the very sophisticated Mandarin Bar for complimentary mocktails – a nice gesture by the MO team to start off our stay.
Instantly, you will recognise that the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is not doing things by halves – all 181 guest rooms and suites are now more luxurious and comfortable than ever before, with art deco-inspired features including carefully curated artworks and custom-designed furniture. There are too many nooks and details for us to capture for the ‘gram and we’re completely in zen mode when lounging in our Knightsbridge Suite.
It’s no wonder that the space feels so inviting and effortless as the interior is a result of internationally renowned designer, Joyce Wang’s meticulous skills. She has overseen the redesign of all guest rooms and suites, along with the creation of the hotel’s new Penthouses, taking inspiration from the peaceful parkside location, as well as the glamour of the early 20th century’s Golden Age of travel.
The suite is the size of a luxury apartment, designed with an airy, creative approach where space has been used practically and stylishly. Thoughtful touches with iconic decor like innovative lighting, are used to remind guests of the unique themes. These beautiful suites feature a generous living room with a velvet sofa, a reading chair and a mirrored coffee table.The striking glass chandelier, gilded mirror artwork and hand tufted carpets and rugs reflect the beauty of nearby leafy Hyde Park.
With a design inspired by the 20th century’s Golden Age of travel, these spacious suites provide a high level of luxury. Each lavish suite has a curated library of books by Mayfair publishers, Heywood Hill for guests to enjoy (we found a few by one of our favourite travel writers, Bill Bryson).
Featuring views of buzzing Knightsbridge, this suite offers a sense of comfort and understated luxury. The en-suite bathroom is one of those that you would dream of having in your own home; elegantly fashioned from Volakas marble with a frieze made from Palisandro Bleu marble and twin vanity units as well as a huge rainforest shower. More than ideal for a group of friends, a couple or even a young family, who need their own space and mirror for makeup or grooming. Space is no issue here. A separate walk-in wardrobe is situated next to the living room whilst cupboard and closet space is abundant in the bedroom and living room too.
However, it was in the details that we found the true essence of the Mandarin Oriental brand’s excelled service shine through. Plug sockets are neatly tucked away near both sides of the bed so there’s no arguing over who gets to charge their devices; in every suite, guests will find a host of special additions ranging from yoga mats for private practice, GHD hair straighteners, Nespresso coffee makers, his and her Miller Harris bathroom amenities and Jo Hansford hair products. We even receive complimentary amenities in the form of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of bubbly during the stay – it’s all about the small added touches.
If food is your forte, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has it all to make your stay the most exciting for every palate. All eyes are on the eclectic dining destinations which include the only London venue by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, Bar Boulud, the inspirational gastronomy of Heston Blumenthal at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and quintessentially British.
The Roseberry for all-day dining and afternoon tea, alongside the magnificent Mandarin Bar. As far as food goes, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is bringing its A-game to the city’s luxury culinary scene.
Start your day with a sumptuous breakfast where an extensive (and very delicious) menu includes everything from eggs benedict to fresh juices, fluffy French toast, pastries galore and even weekly changing specials plus Chinese and Japanese breakfast menus including cantonese dim sum and miso soup amongst other delicacies. Healthy options are aplenty with granola parfait, porridge and oats, egg whites and more to choose from. We’d highly recommend going down for breakfast between 9.30am-10.30am and either sitting on the gorgeous patio outside or indoors by the window. Why? Because these are the best spots from where to view the liveried royal guards trotting by in formation with Hyde Park as a background – a truly British experience.
For dinner, we head to the acclaimed Bar Boulud and are very impressed with the mid-week crowd. The atmosphere is abuzz with diners when we visit – somebody celebrating a birthday, colleagues grabbing drinks after work, couples enjoying an intimate meal and families letting their taste buds explore new dishes for the evening. Our waiter for the evening, Jon Luca, is one of the reasons why the whole dining experience was an exceptional one. Friendly, accommodating of our dietary requirements and very knowledgeable on the menu, his forthcoming nature was appreciated.
Bar Boulud is a stylish bistro and wine bar specialising in seasonal, rustic French cooking. Its relaxed ambience and fabulous cuisine has won plaudits from critics and diners alike. Incorporating two large connecting rooms, the restaurant features stunning design points such as an impressive zinc topped bar and a sleek open kitchen. Classic materials such as wood, leather and cork add a contemporary touch. As well as the main restaurant, guests have the option of dining at the charcuterie counter where they can watch the chefs at work.
It’s simple dishes like the burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes and rocket pesto that remind us why freshness and flavour don’t have to be over-indulgent ingredients but rather quality is what matters. This is indeed a creamy burrata that we devour in minutes – Jon Luca’s recommendation of course (and a little of his Italian roots). The mezze is a great mix of baba ganoush, hummus, tzatziki lavash and socca chips – the perfect sharing dish to get conversation going. The Lobster Roll: Cornish lobster, confit lemon tarragon mayonnaise and brioche bun is a little bit of a revelation and a dish that seafood lovers should absolutely order. Next, the grilled sea bass, harrisa marinated peach Freekeh rice, spring onion is a dish that will please even the most discerning palate with its different textures and tastes. The restaurant is famed for its meat offerings with the pan-seared 12oz ribeye, 6oz hanger steak and range of juicy burgers taking centre stage.
We love that the menu is a good manageable size with enough options to please all dietary requirements without straying too far from the original dish. For those who would love to savour a glass of their finest liquid concoctions, ask for the head sommelier for his recommendations or let the talented barman whip up something flavourful. Service is at the level of what’s to be expected at a venue that belongs to a Michelin-Starred chef – everyone is clued up on the food and eager to make recommendations. Professional yet personable – Bar Boulud epitomises everything we love about London, and everything we love about good food.
TIME TO RELAX
New York designer Adam D. Tihany, has overseen the redesign of the next-generation Spa. In keeping with the fresh new look, the extensive spa menu has also been enhanced to include exclusive partnerships with some of the most sought-after health and wellness experts in the world. The new spa features 13 individual treatments rooms, an Oriental Suite with two massage beds and a Rasul water temple, a room designed for traditional ASANTE Chinese Medicine consultations and treatments and a Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio – the first of its kind in the UK. Their is also a well-equipped gym and a lovely indoor pool to while away the hours.
If walls could talk, this established hotel would have many stories to tell. The building was commissioned in the late 1880s however construction was initially delayed due to fears that its height would cast a shadow over the Serpentine. It finally opened in 1889 as an exclusive block of apartments for affluent bachelors, before opening as a hotel, with its own private Royal Entrance, in 1902. Since then, many honoured guests have passed through the hotel, and for several years after the Second World War it was the headquarters of the SAS. Glamorous parties and dance classes by the venerable Madame Vacani – who taught HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret to dance – have been held in the ballroom. Sir Winston Churchill lived in the hotel for a while and was known to offer room service waiters two cigars in return for the delivery of an early breakfast. Many of these momentous past events can be viewed in more detail in the newly created Historical Journey Exhibition on permanent display in the hotel.
There is nothing we love more than hospitality that so flawlessly exceeds our expectations. The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London did just that and then some – luxury living at its peak. ✤
GO: CALL +4420 7235 2000 OR VISIT WWW. MANDARINORIENTAL.COM/LONDON/HYDE-PARK/ LUXURY-HOTEL FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.