With seven glossy hotel openings this year, it’s easy to forget about the London’s old faithfuls – the city’s loyal establishments that continue to the fly the Union Jack outside and stand firm in their traditional position. Stashed away in a quiet corner of Marylebone, The Mandeville hotel is proud to be one of these matriarchs of London. Having visited The Mandeville five years ago to sample the delights of a Zandra Rhodes afternoon tea, it made a lasting impression thanks to it’s approachable luxury and cosy aesthetics.
Arriving in Marylebone on a particularly grey and wet Saturday, it was exactly as I remembered it – all cream marble, printed red sofa’s and pruned bay trees. We headed up to the 5th floor with the knowledge that we would be staying in number 504 – one of the many rooms decorated by the great haute couture fashion designer, Christian Lacroix. As the lifts opened, there was no mistake we were on the right floor – bejewelled printed wallpaper paired with clashing striped chairs led us into a corridor adorned with pink and black striped wallpaper – all the tell-tale signs of a designer synonymous with extravagance. Bracing ourselves we entered our room to be pleasantly surprised that we had been graced with a decidedly understated design. Although one of the smaller rooms, 504 was clad in cream with black accents – a calming influence to contrast the eclectic atmosphere outside. With beautiful views over the city’s rooftops and a stunning bathroom that opened out to offer high ceilings, pristine surfaces and two showers.
Exploring the local area with a brisk afternoon walk, it became clear that The Mandeville has something that many new hotels can’t compensate with cutting edge technology and an over-priced menu – an exceptional location. With communal gardens, independent wine bars and boutiques, it’s a calm and understated side of London that isn’t often seen but reignites your love for the urban oasis when it appears. Heading back to The Mandeville, we stop off at the Reform Bar and Grill (the hotel’s all-day dining area) for a pre-dinner snack of chickpea and wild garlic scotch egg and savoury Yorkshire puddings. Beautifully presented and perfectly fresh, it satisfied every tastebud without hesitation. Admittedly the Reform’s previous décor of soft cream furnishings and elegant dining were much more to my taste the first time I visited in 2011, it’s sofa’s and tablecloths have now been replaced with leather booths and the unmistakable air of a gentlemen’s club, giving it a colder feel.
London’s hotel landscape may be drastically changing and evolving, making the capital a more exciting and thrilling place to be, there’s also more than enough room for those that have also stood the test of time.