Tried & Tested: Mandarin Oriental, London

Sophisticated and charming, the newly refurbished Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park overlooks its leafy namesake on one side, and the upmarket shopping streets of London’s Knightsbridge on the other.

Flanking the Knightsbridge entrance are doormen dressed in bright red tailcoats and top hats. I’d already been gazing at the hotel as I approached; its Franco-Flemish-style facade is striking with its brick and Portland stone turrets, finished with manicured flower pots.

Mandarin Oriental, London Hotel
Image: Mandarin Oriental
Mandarin Oriental, London Hotel
Image: Mandarin Oriental

The architecture complements its grandiose past; first opening in 1889 as a gentlemen’s club, then as the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel in 1902 with a royal entrance from the park. It has since gone on to host many illustrious guests – Winston Churchill once lived at the property and is said to have offered room service waiters two cigars in return for the delivery of an early breakfast – as well as holding many glamorous soirées.

Throughout the hotel’s different iterations, the latest restoration is said to be the most extensive. Internationally acclaimed designer, Joyce Wang, was tasked with reviving the guest rooms and public spaces. Wang looked to neighbouring Hyde Park for the aesthetic, using motifs such as fallen acorns and leaves to inform the colours, textures and fixtures of the hotel’s 181 rooms and suites. Lighting evokes the crown jewels, hinting at the hotel’s regal history; and there’s an Art Deco undertone. 

My Hyde Park suite is a dreamy 80-square-metre space comprised of an elegant bedroom, sizeable bathroom and a chic salon overlooking the park. An Art Deco-style cabinet in the salon houses a mini-bar stocked with top-tier pours like Rémy Martin XO and Ruinart Champagne.

The bathroom has a deep-soak tub and rain shower, and is kitted out with London-based Miller Harris bathroom amenities and Jo Hansford hair products, as well as big, fluffy bathrobes.

The hotel is home to Michelin-starred Dinner by renowned chef Heston Blumenthal and the more relaxed Bar Boulud, from restaurateur and chef Daniel Boulud. Bar Boulud offers French bistro-style classics, as well as Boulud’s famous foie gras-infused BB Burger.

Mandarin Oriental, London Hotel
Fine dining bar. Image: Mandarin Oriental

Rates start from £780 (about A$1,396) per room, per night.

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This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, spring 2019, issue 112

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