News & Reviews Europe England Short review: Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
Room type:
Mandarin Room
Duration:
29th > 30th October, 2017
Booked with:
Dorsia Travel

I’m 30. I should have learnt by now to listen not only to others, but also myself. Maybe next year is my lucky year of self-improvement. For those after the quick summary, I would definitely wait until the refurb is finished. For those after the slightly longer version, just read the last sentence again.  For those three people that enjoy reading these reviews, let me tell you how you can spend £720/n to enjoy these beautiful views from your room.

Alternatively, once you complain and say you don’t like it and they move you to a Knightsbridge view room for £980/n, where you can enjoy the blissful sounds of emergency services rushing past, followed by the occasional sound of a mans low self-esteem driving at the maximum Knightsbridge traffic-induced speed of 10mph, but sounding like they are about to take off towards the moon.

The Lanesborough is at a busier junction yet maintains absolute silence. In fact, neither The Bulgaria or The Berkeley in the same neighbourhood have any issues with noise. Even Cafe Royal, a hotel on a street that has not only competed, but won awards for Worlds World Street, has no issues with noise.

I actually liked the room. It had a pleasant design and everything I expect in a newly built room: lots of light colours and technology that almost never worked. How hard is it to setup AirPlay in a hotel? I cannot remember it ever working anywhere. The same goes with lights – there’s always something wrong. In this case, the wardrobe that had a light with a nervous twitch. Better was the motion sensors in the bathroom and it seems Toto is no longer the default choice for electronic toilets, as there’s a new kid on the block in Duravit. Blackouts were excellent, but I will repeat again: not a room if you’re a light sleeper. I had to do a double take to spot that a brand new room would not have a walk-in shower. So long it’s been since I experienced it, that I thought they became extinct along with the dinosaurs. The shower head was at least high enough that I did not have to crouch whilst using it, so my bad back lives to fight another day.

We came to the room to see 2 plates with knives and forks and then nothing next to them. So we asked if it was a mistake, and then the banquet of fruit and explanation of what fruit is begun. On departure we had 6 plates in our room. Mandarin Oriental takes complaints about fruit, very, very seriously.

We had a never ending supply of knocks on our door, like a punch line was due any minute.

“I have just left some fruit with you, I just wanted to be sure you’ve received it?”

2 minutes later

“I just wanted to see how the fruit was”

2 minutes later

“Would you like any other fruit?”

2 minutes later

“We are worried about your lack of fruit consumption, perhaps you would like us to order you the worlds first fruit doctor?”

If we were staying any longer I’m sure they would have started stool sampling to confirm what our fruit preferences were and adjust accordingly. I get the impression our dissatisfaction with the room probably made them keen to please. I don’t want to fault them for trying, but I will one day show up at their house and knock repeatedly and see how they like it.

Breakfast was good. For dinner, I could not bring myself to go to another Heston restaurant. The memories are still raw of paying so much for such little quality at The Fat Duck. The only thing that ever left there fat was Heston’s wallet. I was at Dinner around opening back in, I think, 2011, and I still do not forgive him for charging those prices for such basic food that had some hideous condiment to go with it. A steak with cucumber ketchup doth not maketh it a masterpiece.  Maybe it’s better now. I didn’t care to find out, so we walked to Cut at 45 Park Lane instead for an amazing meal.

The spa is closed and is being entirely rebuilt. Right now they just have their swimming pool that really does a lousy job compared to Ten Trinity, The Lanesborough or The Bulgari in terms of atmosphere and facilities. It is right near the gym, but to actually figure out how to get there is a big enough work out, especially as no one was at reception. Strangely they have a sauna in the mens changing room and a steam room in the ladies, so if you’re female and like saunas, your only option is to walk to Harley Street and come back a man.

The stay really was just fine. The problem I have is that it’s just so very mediocre. Everything is ok, with nothing being exceptional. The competition is too fierce in London to suffer mediocre; especially at these prices.

I would return, but only once it is fully finished, and definitely avoid any entry level room.

Conclusion

I spend ~50 nights a year in London, so it’s just one extra night of my year ruined and one extra post on here to whinge about it. Would I suggest that those traveling to London try it? Nope. Would I recommend it at all? Nope. Yet I do feel the work they’ve done to date on the refurb is really good. From what they were saying, it sounds like it could all come together nicely and offer some good competition. There is a lot of promise here and MO not only being the management company but also the owners of the property should see to it that they invest wisely too. Their mistake was in not shutting the entire hotel during the refurb and I would strongly advise anyone to stay away until it is completed, which is apparently Summer next year.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 31st Oct '17

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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