When it comes to luxury hotels, like any real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park London combines a perfect Knightsbridge location with luxurious accommdations, delicious food and personal service. I spent a few nights there during my recent London luxury adventure and found it just might offer the ideal combination of all the elements necessary to be the perfect London luxury hotel.
This is old-school London luxury at its best, the classic Edwardian building dates back to 1902 when it first opened as a hotel. That old school luxury is balanced by Mandarin Oriental’s cool, modern approach to management and the guest experience. Together, they provide the perfect combination for a city like London. Two amazing on-site restaurants from two amazing chefs (Daniel Boulud and Heston Blumenthal) mean the hotel is also a foodie destination. First impressions are often quite accurate and guests are immediately impressed by the beautiful marble and ornate gilded metal lobby area, entry hall and stairs. This classic style carries through to all the hotel’s public areas, with the restaurants receiving a very modern style and look (one designed by Adam Tihany).
I enjoyed one of the hotel’s Mandarin Junior Suites, with a great view over busy Knightsbridge. The suite had a large sitting area by the window and a big, comfortable bed. Very well furnished, it was a large, luxurious yet comfortable space. Double-paned glass kept out the noise, and the view was really cool, both during the day and at night.
The overall style was elegant, high-style British with paneled walls, thick drapery, rich fabrics draped behind the bed and beautiful artwork. The suite featured a large, Bang & Olufsen TV with full digital integration of billing and other guest services. A nice touch, guests are greeted by a personalized welcome message displayed on the screen. High-speed Wifi is included, as is twice-daily maid service.
I have to also mention the beauty and quality of the furniture, which all looked like (and just may have been) real antiques. The finishes on the wood dresser, bureau, bed stands and leather-topped work desk were all especially beautiful. Although clean and new, the suite had that wonderful feeling of quality, with thick wood doors and other details that reminded you of the building’s rich history and are just not found in modern hotels.
The bathroom was long, airy and rectangular with lots of marble and beautiful cabinetry and hardware. All the necessary luxury amenities were there including heated towel bars, a bidet and a rain showerhead. A video tour of the suite can be viewed here.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park really shines as a foodie destination with two world-class restaurants on-site, from two different world-class chefs. Bar Boulud is the only London restaurant from genius chef Daniel Boulud and true to his roots, it’s a French bistro. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner there, featuring some amazing charcuterie and house-made sausages. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is the MO’s serious foodie, two-Michelin-starred restaurant serving British classics. The attention to detail here is incredible, historic British recipes are researched by food historians and replicated from a modern perspective. It’s one of London’s most popular restaurants, quite an accomplishment in a city with a huge foodie culture.
A full range of treatments are offered in the Mandarin Oriental spa, which spans two floors. A menu of half- and full-day spa and wellness programs are offered with treatments and lifestyle consultations. Some programs combine lunch or tea with treatments and there’s also a special gentlemen’s spa menu. A large gym (open 24 hours) and a very nice pool and whirlpool are also part of the spa complex.
Whether you’re in the capital for shopping, sightseeing, business or romance, the hotel really has a perfect location in the heart of London. For luxury London shopping it’s ideal, only steps from Harrod’s, Harvey Nichols and the other Knightsbridge retailers. The hotel is diagonally across the street from Harrod’s, with an entrance to the Knightsbirdge Tube station right next to the hotel building. The other side of the hotel faces Hyde Park with the rooms and suites on this side commanding some beautiful park views. If you’re in the mood for a new car, the city’s McLaren dealership is right across the street.
We flew Norwegian’s great Premium service, with several direct flights per week from LAX (and several other US cities) to London’s Gatwick airport. Much better than Premium Economy and with almost all the amenities and luxuries of Business Class, Norwegian’s Premium ticket prices can be around what other airlines charge for an Economy ticket.
Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
London SW1X 7LA
Follow luxury traveler Freddy Sherman on Twitter – @luxuryfred