Grand, historic hotel in tony Knightsbridge edging Hyde Park
Near tube, top sights, and exclusive shopping on Sloane Street
Elegant rooms mix eye-catching, modern decor with period furnishings
Some rooms have Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs or balconies
Top-tier spa with tranquil pool, high-tech loungers, and open fireplace
Bar Boulud bistro; gastronomic cuisine at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Excellent high tea at The Rosebery Lounge; cocktails at sexy Mandarin Bar
Small, well-equipped 24-hour fitness center with Technogym equipment
Free juice, water, tea/coffee on request; suites have Nespresso machines
Business center, plus meeting and event space, including a ballroom
24-hour concierge and room service; higher-category suites have butlers
Rate does not include breakfast
Busy section of Brompton Road subject to traffic and crowds
Free Wi-Fi in Standard Rooms requires direct booking
There's a fee for on-site parking
Located in Knightsbridge on the edge of Hyde Park, this 186-room historic hotel is a class act that lives up to its favorable reputation. The five-pearl property deftly balances stylish modern and British traditional decor. Rooms are turned out in elegant, Victorian-inspired furnishings, with flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, and marble bathrooms. Notable amenities include a fabulous spa with a pool, restaurants from boldface-name chefs, and a 24-hour gym. Do note that the Mandarin is undergoing major renovations scheduled for completion in 2018, with half the rooms currently under construction and The Rosebery Lounge temporarily relocated. For a nearby boutique property that's equally luxurious there's The Wellesley, and for trendier accommodations, The Hari. Both can run half the rate of the Mandarin.
Historic landmark property with a fresh mix of traditional and modern decor for the well-heeled
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London holds rank among the city's storied grand dame hotels. The historic property, built in Franco-Flemish style with a red brick and Portland stone facade, dates to 1889 and was originally a private gentleman's club. It became a hotel in 1902 and today shares its Knightsbridge address with embassies and London's most exclusive retailers. The Mandarin attracts business and leisure travelers looking for a classic luxury hotel with a modern spin.
The hotel's triple-arch entrance presents a palatial lobby sheathed in marble. Smoky charcoal columns topped with gold scrollwork line the walls, and passageways have stonework in geometric patterns. The wood-paneled reception area offers a warm contrast with gleaming inlaid wood.
The bright breakfast room provides views of Hyde Park, and in fine weather, tables are set up on the terrace for alfresco dining. Shoppers toting bags from Sloane Street boutiques fill The Rosebery Lounge for high tea throughout the afternoon. Done in 1920s-inspired decor, the salon has low-back, loden-green seats and a cozy fireplace. But the showstopper is the lighting fixtures: concentric circles of gold set with buds of white light.
On the same level, the Mandarin Bar serves libations in a sleek, low-lit setting full of dark leather. The equally sexy and refined Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is a warm space, with espresso tables, cocoa-colored leather chairs, and pained windows. Downstairs is London's only restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. Bar Boulud has the casual feel of a rustic French bistro, with a zinc bar, unfinished wood floors, and scattered terra-cotta pots of herbs.
On busy Brompton Road edging Hyde Park in Knightsbridge
The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is centrally located in Knightsbridge on Brompton Road. It's across from luxury retailer Harvey Nichols and near Sloane Street, home to some of London's most exclusive boutiques. The hotel is less than a one-minute walk from the bustling Knightsbridge tube station for easy access to sights. This section of Brompton Road is busy -- with five lanes in front of the hotel -- and can become congested and chaotic at rush hour, especially within the crosswalk.
One-minute walk to Knightsbridge tube station
Eight minutes to Piccadilly Circus via tube
13 minutes to Buckingham Palace via tube
14 minutes to Trafalgar Square via tube
17 minutes to Westminster Abbey via tube
18 minutes to British Museum via tube
21 minutes to London Eye via tube
23 minutes to St. Paul's Cathedral via tube
23 minutes to Tate Modern via tube
28 minutes to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre via tube
32 minutes to Tower of London via tube
27-minute drive to Heathrow Airport (more with traffic)
Updated Victorian rooms with striking modern details, well-stocked minibars, and marble bathrooms
The Mandarin's guest rooms artfully mix traditional furnishings with modern details. Rooms are elegant and fresh -- not stale or stuffy -- and they avoid the pitfall of using generic antique reproductions. Decorative accents such as patinaed mirrors and prints on walls are carefully chosen and provide a sense of place. Beds have crisp linens and scalloped headboards in distressed leather or grommeted fabric and throw pillows in rich mustard and red damask. Silken drapes are voluminous, and some have balconies and offer views of the Queen's cavalry returning from morning exercise. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, safes, free juice, water, and tea and coffee on request. But rooms below the suite level require direct bookings and (free) online registration in order to receive Wi-Fi for free.
Large, marble-clad bathrooms contain bathtubs with rainfall showerheads, antique fixtures with porcelain detailing, heated towel racks, magnifying mirrors, and some have double console sinks with shiny chrome legs. They're stocked with Ormonde Jayne bath products and terrycloth bathrobes.
The Mandarin's rooms start at 336 square feet, junior- and mid-rate suites are about 500 square feet, and full suites are roughly 800 square feet and up. Mid-range suites add separate seating areas -- many with fireplaces -- Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations with sound systems, and some have separate walk-in showers and stand-alone soaking tubs. The hotel's highest categories are top drawer and can include divine Regency-style furniture, French doors that open up to large balconies overlooking the park, and private butlers. (Note that half the rooms are under construction until 2018.)
Spa with tranquil pool and open fireplace, on-site bar and restaurants, and 24-hour fitness center
Among its extensive amenities, the spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London is the jewel in the hotel's crown. In addition to a menu of super-luxe services, there's a tranquil, electric-blue pool that shares space with an open fireplace, pod-like loungers, and an amethyst-crystal steam room. A connecting 24-hour fitness center with Technogym equipment is available as well.
A breakfast room, tea salon, bar, and two restaurants from boldface-name chefs are major draws. Mornings can start with an a la carte or continental menu for an added fee in a room that overlooks Hyde Park. In summer, the terrace opens for dining alfresco. Because of current renovations, the hotel's excellent high tea -- normally served in The Rosebery Lounge -- has been temporarily moved to The Loggia. Items include traditional finger sandwiches with a twist, like slow cooked short rib with horseradish and watercress and Portland crab with pickled carrot and ginger, plus pastries and scones.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal serves dishes with English pedigree and each item has the approximate year of its creation. There are starters like savory porridge with frog legs, garlic and parsley (c.1660), mains such as spiced pigeon with ale and artichoke (c.1780) and powdered duck breast with grilled red cabbage (c. 1850).
London's only restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud adds cachet to the hotel's roster. The rustic French bistro delivers impressive starters, such as charcuterie from renowned charcutier Gilles Verot. The kitchen cooks up mains like herb-crusted cod with sautéed spinach and lemon, and harissa-spiced lamb with eggplant and apricot.
A business center provides a place to plug in and print documents. Meeting and event space is available for rent, including a ballroom. The hotel also provides the services expected of a luxury property, such as a 24-hour concierge and room service. Free Wi-Fi is only available to suite guests or those with direct booking that complete a free registration, others must pay a fee.
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