London’s Royal Retreat Situated on Europe’s most valuable real estate, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is a glorious reinvention of the historic, Edwardian-style palace that has hosted the full gamut of British royalty since the turn of the twentieth century. Formerly the Hyde Park Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental saved the British high-tea-in-big-hats vibe and added $100 million of renovations to achieve a proverbial yet often unattainable equilibrium of old meets new.
The traditionally uniformed bellmen escort guests through the museum-like teal and black marble-clad lobby to the bustling check-in area, where gregarious staff balances personality with professionalism. The handsome handcrafted furnishings and Victorian trimmings of the 198 rooms and suites represent a distinguished past.
The hotel’s magical aura fosters fantasies of princely proportions. Most rooms gaze over Hyde Park or Knightsbridge, London’s most iconic and romantic backdrops. As you peer out the window at the world above and below, your room transforms into a fortress. The panorama plays out like an old “Wishing You Were Here” London postcard—royal horses, red buses, Harrods and Harvey Nichols shopping bags, the sights of the London Eye and the sounds of Big Ben chiming in the distance.
Bringing American talent across the pond, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park imported one of New York’s top chefs, Daniel Boulud, to headline its trendy restaurant, Bar Boulud. French-born Boulud champions a ménage à trois of tastes with French-American dishes for the more discerning British palate. For example, the American-inspired lobster chop-chop salad precedes a dinner of Saint-Jacques Forestière (sautéed sea scallops grilled to perfection with mushrooms and fricassee of peas and watercress) followed by the decadent Gateau Chocolat-Framboise. Next door, the contemporary British brasserie Dinner by Heston Blumenthal headlines the revival and reinvention of traditional British cuisine. mandarinoriental.com/london
Above: activity outside the Mandarin Oriental, Below: a suite in the hotel