Review: Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London
Courteous and smiling staff whisk you through the seamless check-in process, before taking you to your room
Location: Perfectly positioned in London’s prestigious Knightsbridge. The red-brick turreted property faces the Harvey Nichols department store and is a stone’s throw from Harrods. Buckingham Palace isn’t far either, which is probably why the hotel has a royal entrance, still used with permission by VIPs. At the rear of the hotel lies leafy Hyde Park – there’s no better back garden than this.
First impressions: Being the grande dame of the London hotel scene engenders a certain level of expectation. I’ve walked through the doors of the Mandarin Oriental on several occasions as a restaurant guest, but as I sauntered through the lobby for the first time as a resident, I was quickly made to feel right at home among the well-heeled clientele. Courteous and smiling staff whisk you through the seamless check-in process (while you enjoy a soothing cup of lemongrass tea), before taking you to your room. Shortly after, a member of staff phoned to check all was well. This level of impeccable service continues throughout my stay.
The facts: The building first opened in 1889 as a gentlemen’s club. It became a hotel in 1902 and has since hosted dignitaries galore. Sir Winston Churchill was a regular, while the Queen and Princess Margaret both learnt to dance in the ballroom. The property, originally called the Hyde Park Hotel, became a Mandarin Oriental in 1996. In June 2018, a major fire damaged the hotel, just as it was about to complete and unveil an extensive renovation. Forced to close for six months while the property underwent another transformation, it finally opened in its current guise in April 2019. The property’s 181 rooms and suites are all beautifully decorated with neutral hues and art-deco styling. In the bathrooms you’ll find Japanese-style toilets and deep sunken bathtubs. Advise clients to splash out on a suite overlooking the park, as opposed to views of the traffic in front of the hotel. The property boasts some of London’s best restaurants, with Heston Blumenthal’s two-Michelin-starred Dinner and French bistro venue Bar Boulud usually heaving with diners. My favourite meal, however, was the sumptuous breakfast served in the Dining Room, complete with views of the park and staff who regularly bring over ‘surprises’ for you to taste. For those after a simpler start to the day, The Rosebery serves light bites. The Spa is one of the best I’ve visited, with an amethyst crystal steam room, vitality pool, a 17-metre pool and 13 treatment rooms.
Explore: During my stay I was keen to make the most of the location, so after breakfast I went for a bike ride in Hyde Park before mooching around Harvey Nics and Harrods. There’s so much to see nearby – you’ll be pressed for time to see it all. Take advantage of the hotel’s proximity to museums such as the Victoria & Albert, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum – all just a 15-minute stroll away. Mayfair and the West End are equally close.
Wow: The heritage, the food, the decor, the service – everything about this hotel is a big wow!
covid policy: mandarinoriental.com/special-notice
Book it: Rooms are priced from £740 a night.
Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.