Tradition is sewn into the seams of the red-brick facade of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park – one of the capital’s most beloved ‘grand dame’ hotels. Housed in a building which dates back to 1889, the hotel – originally called ‘The Hyde Park’ before Mandarin Oriental took over in 1990 – has welcomed the great and the good – from Royals to Winston Churchill; Hollywood A-listers to larger-than-life rock stars. Its gilded ballroom is where the Queen and Princess Margaret learned to dance in the 1930s and it doesn’t get much more glamorous than that.
But hotels can’t survive on memories alone – reinvention is key. At Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, therefore, you may still be greeted by a doorman in top hat and red tails, but the property offers a cutting-edge approach to hospitality with new collaborations part of its DNA.
The latest takes place in the vast basement spa – renowned for its large 17m pool and its outposts by some of the best names in the wellness business, including pedicures by Bastien Gonzalez; facials by Oskia and massages by CBD brand OTO. Recently launched, and ramping up the offering even further, is a completely new wellness approach in partnership with Movementum in a dedicated studio.
Helping people take control of their health through the power of movement, the launch heralds a new concept in wellness with a blend of personalised fitness programmes and treatments being offered. The Movementum Regenerate, for instance, is a mix of massage (to reduce tightness and restore mobility) and stretching and movement of the limbs (to loosen and relax). Specialised oils are used to restore the mind’s balance, meaning that you leave invigorated yet mentally ‘reset’.
Meanwhile studio classes – all of which are attractively short and concise at 15 minutes – give essential skills to get moving again (for those wanting to get back to exercise); to rehabilitate (if suffering from an injury) or to help those who are higher athletic performers achieve their goals.
While the Movementum launch may have guests charged up, another new development at the hotel is just the thing for those wanting to wind down. While the hotel is best known for its Heston Blumenthal Dinner restaurant, it is also home to a lesser-known gem. Having opened in January 2022, The Aubrey London is Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park’s Japanese drinks-led eaterie. Focusing on Japanese cuisine, the concept is inspired by the traditional izakaya – a Japanese take on a pub – where sake and small bites can be enjoyed in an intimate yet convivial setting.
In the dining room, blood-red walls, adorned with art and embellished mirrors, are matched with opulent rugs, scarlet velvet banquettes and deep armchairs to give a sophisticated yet cosy feel to the space. Meanwhile, in the adjacent bar, inspiration has been gathered from a traditional private-club aesthetic with wood-panelled walls lined with an eclectic collection of art, soft lighting and green leather stools and banquettes.
Here you can enjoy an eclectic menu consisting of oysters and caviar; or an endless array of light snacks – such as Shisito Peppers; Wagyu Sando or Mushroom Gyoza. From the selection of sushi and sashimi – the Ebi Prawn and Hamachi yellowtail are not to be missed. While, for something more substantial, the Lobster & Hokkaido Uni Fried Rice and silky Tenderloin Robata elevate comfort food to a new level. It’s all accompanied by a wide choice of innovate cocktails and drinks, making for the perfect space for relaxed catch-ups with friends.
What’s more, tapping even further into authentic Japanese traditions, and overseen by bar director Pietro Rizzo, is the new Omakase Bar, a six-seater bar offering an exclusive and tailored-drink experience and set to be one of London’s most sought-after addresses. Translated as ‘I’ll leave it up to you’, the omakase experience will see the bar team create a range of unique and seasonal cocktails, using a selection of premium Japanese spirits, including umeshu, shochu and sake, as well as Asian herbs and spices. Japanese-inspired light bites – such as octopus with pickled myoga & yuzu vinaigrette – will enhance the drinking experience.
The Omakase Bar has been designed by interior designer Brady Williams and gives a nod to the traditional aesthetic izakaya are known for. Walls layered with art inspired by the Japonisme movement, gilded finishings offset deep greens and blues from the marble bar and plush leather and velvet textiles, all tucked away from behind a secret door.
Two years ago, the hotel was given a fresh overhaul led by designer Joyce Wang. Inspiration was the nearby Hyde Park – and throughout the public spaces you can spot her ode to natural beauty – from the crystal flower-shaped chandeliers to the effervescent displays of flowers by McQueens.
Wang’s style is particularly striking in the signature suites – which not only look over the park but which are expansively given over to her stylish aesthetic. Silvery rugs, buttery buff leather chairs and wallpaper embossed with copper leaves are elegantly regal; while glamourous mirrored wardrobes, forest-green oversized headboards and marble bathrooms bring a touch of stardust to the rooms. After all, it’s what ‘grand dames’ are made of.