Recently I spent one night in the Mandarin Oriental London. Unfortunately, there were some difficulties upon check-in. Having arrived quite early I was told that, unfortunately, my room was not yet ready. That in itself was nothing to complain about because, after all, check-in time was 2:00 p.m. and they were apparently fully booked. However, when I asked at about 1:30 when my room would be ready I was informed that the maids would need another 20 or 25 minutes - only to be given the same answer when I inquired again at 2:00. This clearly should not have happened. When I finally got into my room - a Park View room on the third floor - I found it to be quite spacious (it seems I was upgraded one category) and to have, as expected, a nice view. The bedroom was well appointed and the mattress was one of the best I ever slept on in any hotel. The bathroom, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing: there was no walk-in shower and only one washbasin and the traffic noise was quite loud. In the bedroom, due to its better sound insulation, the noise was not as bad but still audible. After all, there is a road between the hotel and Hyde Park (South Carriage Drive), although on the hotel's web page they make it look as if there weren't any. (Given the very heavy traffic on Knightsbridge Road I shudder to think how loud it must be in their Knightsbridge rooms.) Speaking of noise, it was not possible to leave the air conditioning on during the night because it was just too loud.
The big plus of this hotel is clearly its location: You just have to cross one road to get into Hyde Park (and, from there, on to Kensington Gardens) so that you can always easily stretch your legs or even take a long walk in (comparatively) fresh air. South of the hotel is Knightsbridge with its many shopping destinations (such as Harvey Nichols). The Royal Albert Hall with its adjacent museums is just a ten minute walk away and, last not least, the Knightsbridge subway station is literally around the corner so that you do not need a taxi even if you have some luggage with you.
I did not have lunch or dinner in the hotel so I cannot comment on their restaurants. I did try to have afternoon tea however, which was quite a disappointing experience. You can have tea or coffee only in their bar which does not have any natural light and, therefore, no view. They will tell you that they cannot serve any of the things you would expect to go with afternoon tea and only after I explicitly asked for scones and pointed out to them that they were on the room service menu could could I obtain some. Furthermore, the bar with its lounge chairs and tables is a very uncomfortable place to have anything except a drink in the evening. I really do not understand why, between lunch and dinner time, it is not possible to sit in the restaurant with its view of the park to have tea or coffee. This is clearly not what you expect from a five star hotel in, of all places, London.
Breakfast was served in the restaurant I just mentioned. There was a wide selection of cold and hot dishes to choose from and everything was (or, at least, seemed to be) of the highest quality. Service was friendly and overall very good - although for it to be called excellent that little, hard-to-define extra something was missing.
Maybe I am being a little too critical but, being a regular guest of the MO Munich and thus having been spoiled quite a bit, I had rather high expectations for this MO Hotel - expectations that clearly were not met. Not only are the rooms of the MO Munich better appointed, more spacious (within their respective categories) and quieter. And not only is the lobby and bar area much nicer and more comfortable. More importantly, service is far better in every way. This begins with the welcome by the porter and the bell boys, continues with the very friendly and competent service in the restaurants (both at breakfast and at lunch or dinner) and does not end with the maids (for example, in London I missed the sheet with next day's weather forecast you receive at turndown in Munich). If you walk the corridors of the MO Munich you will never ever come across a member of staff who does not greet you and give you a friendly smile (which happened to me once or twice in London). I am quite aware of the differences between the hotel markets of Munich and London but there definitely is a reason why on Tripadvisor the MO Munich is consistently ranked the number one hotel in Munich whereas the MO London occupies a place somewhere between 150th and 200th of the London hotels. Although they are both five stars and although they both belong to the same chain, the MO London is clearly in a different (lower, that is) league.
Don't get me wrong: this is still a very good hotel. But, at least for me, there was no compelling reason to revisit.
One thing else: Before you tip anybody, remember there will be a 5% "discretionary service charge" on your bill. I mean, you don't want to pay twice for tips... (This 5% charge will be removed from your bill if you insist but nobody will tell you that you do not really have to pay it - which I consider a rather inappropriate procedure).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With bustling Knightsbridge on its doorstep and leafy Hyde Park at its rear, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is London's most prestigious address. Blending sumptuous guestrooms with a world-leading spa and a stylish bar, it is the definitive destination for a luxury escape. With two award-winning restaurants including Bar Boulud, London and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and a new Afternoon Tea salon, The Rosebery Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park stands at the culinary centre of the capital. On 19 September 2016, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London will be embarking on an exciting restoration designed to significantly enhance the facilities of the hotel. The property will remain open throughout the 18-month renovation, which will be undertaken in two phases in order to minimise disruption to guests. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London Hotel London
- Mandarin Oriental London
- Mandarin London
- London Mandarin Oriental
- Mandarin Hotel London
- Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London England