Ruben Tabares, above, is a quite a guy. Born in Colombia, trained at England’s Royal Ballet School, he switched to track and was a champion 400-metre hurdler. Via certain circumstances he progressed into wellness, serious wellness, and now he is personal trainer to the stars, based at the luxury Mandarin Oriental London hotel. That is where the gal met him, over breakfast (it is always a plus when someone does not mind at all meeting early in the morning – hoteliers who ‘do’ breakfast, or at least visit the operation, gain more networking with their guests, and they see the product, and yes, the hotel’s ever-alert Gérard Sintès and Sarah Cairns were around, as well).
What IS wellness, I asked? It starts with what you put in your mouth, said Ruben. What you eat paves the way for getting in better shape. Simply do not guzzle the wrong things. His own breakfast, this morning in the hotel’s DINNER by Heston Blumenthal, was steel-cut porridge with berries, and a thick juice. The general ‘wellbeing menu (by Ruben Tabares)’ also offers Cotswold scrambled eggs cooked in raw coconut oil, haas avocado sprinkled in bee pollen, rocket and organic goji berries with truffled acacia honey. He did not seem concerned at all that I was having plain yoghurt, full fat of course. What will he eat later? Lunch could be another smoothie, and dinner a baked potato, with salad and salmon.
Actually, he says, it is whatever his body craves, unless it is sugar, the big no-no. At all times he is a fat fanatic, including eating unpasteurised butter by itself, and avocado, and a variety of oils. Fortunately, he says, wine, or any alcohol, is good for you, in moderation. And then the conversation went on to working out; he is now doing some of his training in the adjacent Hyde Park – gosh this hotel is lucky, sandwiched, as it were, between Harvey Nichols, directly across Knightsbridge street in front of the hotel, and this glorious and world-famous royal park, behind the hotel.
This is the only hotel, by the way, that does have direct access to Hyde Park. Not surprisingly, therefore, many locals come in to breakfast here, in the luxury hotel’s DINNER restaurant (eat breakfast at DINNER? OK, at least you remember it!). Young women hostesses in full-colour chocolate gowns, milk chocolate-coloured T-shirts and plain chocolate full length skirts, waft around, with big smiles. After two cups of coffee I look across at Ruben and think no more, I have had enough caffeine for today. Wellness is infectious, and I could easily come back for more. WATCH THE VIDEO OF RUBEN, BELOW