Mandarin Oriental London is like the sleeping beauty who has awakened after lots of rejuvenating shut-eye, and the gal can report that the treatment has resulted in a luxury hotel that is absolutely beautiful. Designer Joyce Wang, working with the Mandarin Oriental people and, of course, the stylish GM Amanda Hyndman, have, together, personified luxury. See the details in a bedroom shot, above, and also the must-try sales display in the beautiful Rosebery Room, on the left. As before, half the 180 keys, which include 40 suites, are ‘town’, overlooking Knightsbridge, the rest ‘country’, facing right over the Park. After a closure that was forcibly but unexpectedly prolonged by a fire last June, the restaurants and ballroom opened 4 December 2018, which ‘Amanda’ – as everyone calls her – says was brilliant as the team started working in sync. Bedrooms opened in March.
First thought on entering suite 222 is that this is the London apartment that I could easily make home, especiallyince the big windows look directly out into tree tops of Hyde Park. Full-length curtains in both main rooms are dimpled silver-taupe silk, simple pull-across (there are also pull-down sheer blinds, and windows open just enough for ‘fresh air’). Facing the living room windows, I have a dark marble ornamental mantelpiece on the left flanked by framed stacks of wood logs – at the far end stands tall green plant. There is a round black marble dining table with 2 chairs. A three-seat deep purple velour sofa faces two taupe velour armchairs, a lucite-topped taupe buttoned bench between them. The high-set ceiling light is like a sprig of acorns, as if from the Park outside.
My bathroom is a white haven of white marble, stretching to the window, with underfloor heating. Along the left wall I have, in a mostly-black marble surround, a pair of white Villeroy & Boch square sinks, a standing magnifier, and a taupe leather box with really stylish brown-edged boxes holding the necessities, including a serious-size Gillette shave foam and razor. Next comes a ‘toto’, by Duravit. Along the right wall hang Coze by Gallarde robes, and next is a heated metal rail, from which hangs a plentiful supply of Liddell Van Gogh towels. Glass doors lead to the wet area, and a yellow plastic duck shares shelf space with toiletries, both Jo Hansford and Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac. The bed has a dark green padded leather headboard with fibre optics – comforter-free, and mercifully lacking those ghastly thick mattress toppings, the bed, with Josephine Home linens, is marvellously comfortable: either side are dark marble-topped Art Deco units with UK sockets and USB ports.
Dinner calls. From the ground floor I take 22 steps down to Bar Boulud. This restaurant, which should actually be entered from its main, street-set, entrance, is much lighter hued than I remember. We are brought diagonals of baguette standing upright in a metal cup. I start with baked half-eggplant, filled with pomegranate, spring vegetable salad and yoghurt. One of us has to have the Daniel Boulud signature burger, and we try the sommelier’s recommendation Inopia (‘made from nothing’) Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2014 Rotem and Mounir Saouma. In the morning, after a good work-out in the well-equipped Citterio-Technogym fitness area, overlooking the 17-metre indoor pool, I head to Dinner, yes, Breakfast At Dinner,j to catch up on New York Times headlines while simultaneously watching riders in Hyde Park, outside, and sampling a Brown Cow Organics yoghurt. This was all so agreeable I was loath to leave this stylish luxury hotel (it is, by the way directly across the road from Harvey Nichols). AND NOW SEE SUITE 222