There are other luxury hotels that have, well, unusual washbasins, but Adam Tihany has certainly come up with a success here, in the ladies’ changing room of the new wellness complex in Mandarin Oriental London (actually, says the gal, it is not exactly in the hotel but next door, in the apartment block that the Candy brothers built, One Knightsbridge, where little units have sold for so much that the Candys could change their name to Platinum as they can afford as much precious metal as they want).
Tony McHale, GM of this gorgeous hotel, has masterminded the wellness, which also comes with a 65-ft stainless steel pool in a granite room that has a working fire down one side. It is one of those inset fires, where you merely see flames coming up out of the base – the first I saw was in another Mandarin Oriental, the Geneva one, but there the designer is Buzz. Anyway, Tony is always full of ideas, and quite often they are entertainment related. End of October, for instance, the hotel sponsors Hollywood’s Britannia awards, at the Beverly Hilton – where the host with the most will be the hotel’s one and only Sarah Cairns, who knows everyone who is anyone in Tinseltown.
Tony McHale, meanwhile, will stay home, thinking up more ideas. Another of his innovations is opening an ultra-elegant tea and Champagne pad, The Rosebery Room, ideal for tête-à-têtes from eight in the morning until late at night – when the weather allows, look out through the Room’s open windows to Burberry, immediately the other side of Knightsbridge. Look in, however, at the absolutely gorgeous tea china that the hotel commissioned from William Edwards. The word covetable springs to mind, but then word comes up again and again, here. Take breakfast in DINNER, with an uninterrupted view of Hyde Park immediately behind the hotel. Again, covetable.
We were joined at breakfast by Paddington Bear, whose major movie Paddington launches end November 2014, with stars including Nicole Kidman. Colin Firth was all set to be the voice of Mr Bear but it was decided, presumably by producer David Heyman and director-writer Paul King, that his tones were not quite right so Ben Whishaw now ‘speaks’ for Paddington. The launch of the movie coincides with a Paddington special at this luxury hotel, which will also be sponsoring a lifesize, decorated bear sculpture. It will stand in an absolutely iconic pre-Christmas location, on Hans Crescent, opposite door five of Harrods. There will be 50 such bears – decorated by the likes of David Beckham and Hugh Grant and displayed around London, later to be auctioned off in aid of the NSPCC children’s charity. Good for you, Mandarin Oriental London!