A dramatic brick façade forms the unmistakable face of Mandarin Oriental’s first and only outpost in London. The high-end, Hong Kong–based hotel group, with properties from San Francisco to Shanghai, took over the century-old Hyde Park Hotel back in the late nineties, reopening the Edwardian-era beauty just in time for the new millennium. In the past 15 years, as the London hotel market boomed and numerous young pretenders swung wide their doors, the Mandarin has managed to stay current while still retaining its old-fashioned appeal. The reason is the hotel’s two destination restaurants. The first, Dinner, is a collaboration with maverick molecular-gastronomy pioneer Heston Blumenthal. Currently ranked as the UK’s top restaurant, according to San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best list, it has garnered a loyal following for its historical-themed menu. Downstairs, the more informal but no less illustrious Bar Boulud is the only London outpost of French-born, New York–made, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, with a light, brasserie-style atmosphere popular for business lunches. The combination of these two spaces, with the Mandarin’s all-round opulence, makes a traditional choice palatable to modern tastes.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Centrally-located Knightsbridge is London’s most upscale shopping enclave. Exclusive brands stand shoulder to shoulder with historic department stores such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols. The high-end display continues along adjoining Sloane Street, where Dior and Dolce meet Valentino and Versace. Hyde Park reaches out in front of the hotel, providing the ideal space for a walk, whatever the season. Make reservations for Asian-inspired Zuma or stop by the Grenadier to sample traditional British drinking culture. Also worth checking out are French restaurant Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis (44 20 7225 2238), and Italian eatery Sale e Pepe.
Need to Know
Rooms: 198 rooms, including 25 suites. From $571. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Signature Dinner dishes include the 15th-century-inspired Meat Fruit—a chicken liver and foie gras parfait, concealed within a mandarin-style outer shell. Favorites at Bar Boulud include the Crabe Pressé salad. New additions include the Rosebery afternoon tea lounge, doubling as a champagne bar in the evening. For pre-dinner drinks, drop by the Mandarin Bar. Spa and gym details: You'll find a 24-hour gym, a spa with eight treatment rooms, and a pool.
Who's it for: Traditionalists with a taste for fine dining. Although there’s an Asian group behind this hotel, it still manages to feel very British, so those seeking an authentic London experience won’t be disappointed. Our favorite rooms: If you’ve got the money to splurge, the Regal Suite has a balcony that can accommodate 40 people. If your budget’s somewhat tighter, opt for room 521, a Junior Suite, also with a balcony and exceptional views of leafy Hyde Park. Tables with a view: When making reservations at Dinner, request tables 25 or 35, which look onto the glass-fronted kitchen, where you can see Heston’s protégés hard at work.