Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, England – Hotel Review
When traveling on business, amenities such as period detail and historical significance often need to take a back seat to travelers’ necessities such as fast Wi-Fi and a good night’s sleep. This trip to London, first in several years, delivered it all and was a pleasant surprise.
The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park stands prominently in London’s Knightsbridge district, alongside landmarks such as Harrods and several embassies. Inside the front door, a grand staircase and fireplace welcome the traveler into the towering lobby. While several hours early for check-in I was escorted to my top-floor suite within ten minutes, and it was then that It dawned on me that the area in back of this grand London hotel was even more famous than the one in front.
My room, number 906, also known as the Sloane Suite, was of grand proportions, and featured a three-sided bay window with floor-to-ceiling glass providing an impressive 180-degree view of London. Formally called a Knightsbridge Turret Suite, it includes a bedroom, a sitting area and a parquet floor in the entry hall. At 850 square feet (79 square meters) the suite was enormous by American standards, let alone for crowded London. The king-size bed was firm, comfortable, and outfitted with memory foam pillows (several other options were available from the hotel’s pillow menu), and had an upholstered ottoman at the foot with a concealed Bang & Olufsen television that would rise at the touch of a button.
The sitting area, which filled the bay window alcove, had a comfortable and classically British overstuffed chair and loveseat. Behind the loveseat a working desk that looked antique was actually a modern reproduction with two electrical outlets built right in for a laptop or other devices. A faux-fireplace and built-in cabinet with another larger Bang & Olufsen television filled the space. The windows made the room extremely bright, and offered a 180º view of London, with the London Eye off to the left, and Harrods immediately to the right.
The full bathroom was completely clad in white marble. It featured a separate bathtub and walk-in rain shower, a large vanity, toilet and bidet, and a dormer window overlooking Chelsea’s rooftops made the room very bright.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
The Mandarin Oriental has a long history as a home away from home for executive road warriors; former residents of the hotel include Henry Kissinger. The room was well-suited for work: little noise reached it from the street, there were power outlets near the desk, and a selection of more than 200 international television channels would facilitate keeping up with any developments around the world. Wireless internet cost £14.95 for the two-day stay duration, but it provided speeds of 2 Mbps, supported connecting six devices, and was more than stable enough to support VoIP calling and sending large files, which seemed to be quite good value for the modest fee.