A new limited-time ‘Hyde Away Park Experience’ package offers a taste of the capital at its very best. Mayfair Times checks in
Words: Jonathan Whiley
London isn’t exactly short of hotels offering the red carpet treatment, but there are a select few that are considered the crème de la crème.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is a mainstay of the A-list in all senses; their “I’m a fan” campaign has seen endorsements from some of the biggest names in sport and showbiz (from two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to award-winning actors and actresses from Stanley Tucci to Helen Mirren).
From a solitary hotel in 1962, the brand is now a global behemoth; widely recognised as one of the leading hospitality groups in the world with good reason (a new Mayfair opening in Hanover Square is scheduled for this winter).Despite its worldwide reach and uniformed high standards, individuality, character and a reflection of place have never been sacrificed (its hotel in Lake Como is set in the former home of a soprano, while in London it’s Hyde Park address is front and centre).
The experience begins with lunch at the hotel’s summer pop-up, The Hyde Park Garden, which is catered for by the team at two Michelin-star Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The latter is one of the city’s best restaurants for my money; its menu an exploration of historic British cuisine with a ‘meat fruit’ starter and ‘tipsy cake’ particularly show-stopping.
The terrace menu allows for a more informal atmosphere, with direct views of Hyde Park, but the cuisine is just as refined. Artful presentation and fine dining touches are never too far away; nibbles include English potato balls filled with oozing Tunworth cheese and adorned with burnt leek salt, a tomato sallet starter is paired with smoked goat’s curd, honey, basil and lavender and mains include beautifully blushing steak with sauce vert and Cornish lobster and lemon salad.
While away an afternoon with a stroll through Hyde Park (guests can listen to an exclusive episode of Clare Balding’s podcast featuring guests from Kensington Palace and The Household Cavalry), enjoy tennis, horse-riding or boating (the concierge will arrange on request) or head to the subterranean spa for a soothing treatment, time in the sauna (separate for men and women) or laps of the 17-metre indoor pool.
Come Aperitivo hour, head to the glitzy Mandarin Bar for a bespoke floral cocktail (vodka-based and very refreshing) while for an extra indulgence (though not included in the package), enjoy dinner at The Aubrey. This is the hotel’s new Japanese restaurant – formerly much-loved Bar Boulud – which offers an “eccentric izakaya experience” styled on the Japanese influence of English illustrator, Aubrey Beardsley.
In keeping, it’s a sexy space – with a particularly glorious bar – and while the cocktails are not all hits (the Ukiyo with matcha foam was a step too far), the food and service is excellent across the board.
Weekend brunch (£58 per person) is a recent addition with sharing plates of sashimi, oysters, gyoza, chicken Yakitori and Shishito peppers served alongside a choice of mains that include barbecue Tonkatsu beef rib (excellent), salmon Robata Teriyaki and vegetable Robatayaki (a miso-glazed cauliflower with bags of umami).
Live music ramps up the ambience and staff – much like the rest of the hotel, with an international roster that includes a charming Irish waitress in the bar to an attentive Hong Kong waiter on the terrace – are ever accommodating and eager to please.
Breakfast the following day is included and is a slick operation (not always a given even in the finest hotels), with a veritable buffet selection spanning the globe (tzatziki, anyone?) and made-to-order dishes from French toast to a full English. Check-out runs until 12pm if you want one last swim, then it’s back out in the white-hot heat of Knightsbridge in 2022’s scorched summer; refreshed, relaxed, and without the worry of whether your luggage made the journey.
The Hyde Away Park Experience runs until September 18, 2022. Rates start at £1,400 (including VAT). For more information or to make a reservation, visit mandarinoriental.com