The recently relaunched prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has much to be proud of. Standing boldly at the axis of Knightsbridge and the royal park, for decades it has catered to the more astute and less ostentatious end of the luxury travel market.
A fire in one of the new penthouses last year, mere days before it was due to reopen after a complete overhaul, delayed its grand reopening.
The hotel finally swung its doors wide open this summer with all the aplomb and ensuing excitement that its status as a celebrated London landmark rightly deserves.
Most luxury hotels aspire and others aim, but miss the mark, leaving only a handful to simply exude style. The Mandarin Oriental sits very comfortably in the successful category.
Inside, a marble staircase opens into the heart of the hotel while the reception desk is neatly tucked away by the entrance to the groundfloor bar, lending itself to the impression that you are visiting a huge countryside retreat, not a central London hotel.
The rooms are an art deco delight, with precise attention paid to the smallest details. Ample wardrobe space is a saving grace for the heavy traveller — yes, even I, on a short break, require multiple outfit options. The bright and airy bathroom provides the pampering space that one needs for a weekend in the world’s greatest city.
But ultimately, the measure of any worthy hotel stay is in the comfort of its bed. As I nuzzle down into the cosy mattress, my head nestles into pillow perfection with my body tucked under fluffiest of duvets, and within seconds I’m drifting off into a sleep so cushioned from the outside hustle and bustle that I could be floating in space.
Of course, the second measure of quality for any luxury hotel is the first meal of the day: breakfast. And here it’s beyond the imagination.
Berry juices made on the premises, salmon and meats are adventurously served without being unnecessarily fussy, while poached eggs are perfectly presented. ( And, yes, I am rather fussy about how my eggs are served in the morning.) By night, dinner and wines comes courtesy of the hotel’s signature restaurant Bar Boulud that serves seasonal French cuisine, where the seafood options stand out.
For those seeking a more revitalising experience, the refurbished spa offers treatments as diverse as traditional Chinese medicine, Bastien Gonzalez renowned manicures and pedicures, and antiageing Nescens facials. The relaxing Rasul water temple will transport you to another plane of reality altogether.
Sometimes you don’t need to travel the globe to give yourself a welldeserved escape from the outside world and all its stresses. A weekend away in the heart of the British capital, staying at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park serves up just that.