The avid reader might have noticed my love for grand (old) luxury hotels, and the Mandarin Oriental chain is no exception. Last up was Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London; a distinct property with historical roots. Here’s what it’s really like staying in one of London’s true luxury gems.
A symbol of great hospitality
In Britain they’re called commissioners – the door men greeting guests at the entrance of the most luxurious hotels. While all operations in a hotel are extremely important, these commissioners hold a special place in many people’s heart. They’ve become a synonym with elegance and hotel history – and for many people, vacation, too. At Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park the commissioners are wearing a bright red uniform to welcome new guests and saying goodbye to old ones. In many ways, they’re the symbol of Mandarin’s high level of hospitality.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park takes its beginning in 1996, but the building itself can be traced back to 1889, where it served as a ‘Gentleman’s Club’. Today, the impressive marble lobby with fresco ceilings stands as a clear symbol of old school luxury and craftsmanship of the past.
Designed to impress
A warm welcome is what you can – and should – expect here. And when you check in to your room, you could probably stay there for days. Don’t. Instead, explore the hotel, which also contains a spa, a fitness center, 3 restaurants and a bar, but beware of the fact that the swimming pool is not connected to the spa. While this may seem a bit unpractical, you’ll forget all about it once you sink yourself into the 17-meter stainless steel pool designed to impress.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has lots of room categories to choose from. A so-called Courtyard room is the smallest, and at the other end of the scale, we find the Royal Suite, which is the absolute icing on the cake. If you’re looking for something right in between, a Junior Suite might be the perfect option. This is what I stayed in during my visit, and I’m still dreaming of the king size bed with fluffy pillows and the first class view to Knightsbridge. And let’s not forget the impeccable marble bathroom. It’s a true British gem in terms of interior – and you get to feel like a prince (or a princess) for as long as you’re staying! A Junior Suite starts at €1.190.
A premier gourmet destination
You’ll want to get familiar with one of the hotel’s excellent restaurants, as they’re regarded one of London’s premier gourmet destinations. This is where you’ll find ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’ – a world famous Michelin restaurant, where guests are being blown away by the historic-inspired British cuisine. It can be hard to get a table here though, so do book well in advance. Bar Boulud is completely different, but nevertheless a must-try for those looking for a casual yet very refined meal a la French bistro style. Michelin chef Daniel Boulud specializes in seasonal French cooking with a rustic touch, and since the restaurant is also a wine bar, why not take advantage of the exquisite wine menu as well? Tip: sit at the counter and watch your meal being prepared by the chefs. Lastly, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park offers the ideal afternoon tea venue by the name of ‘The Rosebery Lounge’. Celebrated for its large selection of fine tea and delicious pastry, this lounge is inevitably a must-try if you’re staying at the hotel. Oh, and if you’re a fan of pre- (or post) dinner cocktails (and who isn’t?!), Mandarin Bar deserves a visit too. Designed to look like a catwalk in materials such as brown leather, glass and beige silk, the bar serves as a chic venue in London’s after work scene.
Needles to say, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is an utmost elegant destination for hedonists looking for a slice of the good life. You’ll certainly get it here, so why look any further? As always, I’m a MO-fan and I can’t wait to re-visit this gem of a luxury hotel. Tempted? Head over to www.mandarinoriental.com for more info.