Earlier this Spring, under a cherry-blossom flecked sky, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park was finally reopened after a two year, US$130 million refurbishment.
The most extensive (not to mention expensive) in its 117-year history, the hotel’s renovation was so significant that even the awning that it had hidden behind was designed by Sir Peter Blake and although the project was dramatically derailed last year (when a huge fire broke out), the reopening was a monumental and joyous occasion for the British capital and the hospitality industry at large.
Of chief interest was the new decor, which had been devised by an all-star cast of starchitects and designers including UK firm Purcell, hospitality guru Adam Tihany and Hong Kong powerhouse Joyce Wang.
“Working on the redesign of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has been an incredible and, at times, surreal experience”, declared Joyce during the hotel’s official unveiling, “It had been a dream of mine to work on a building of significant heritage in a city I hold very dear”.
Wang looked no further than the hotel’s very own back garden, Hyde Park, for design inspiration, finding endless points of interest in the ever-changing colours of the trees, the reflections on the Serpentine river and even the horses that canter past the hotel each morning.
Acorn-inspired lighting, carpets in autumnal tones and silk wall coverings in thundery greys and bark brown fill each of the 181 rooms and the public spaces.
Lighting was a key component of the redesign and most of the fittings were provided by Chelsom, a bespoke manufacturer that has specialised in everything from chandeliers to sconces to shades since it was founded in 1947.
“Of all the interior products, lighting can arguably evoke more emotion than any other”, explains managing director Will Chelsom. “A hotel room is no longer just a room to sleep in – it is now a place to eat, sleep, work and relax – and so the lighting schemes need to reflect that”.
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The hotel is housed in an Edwardi-an-style building (Hyde Park Court), which was built in 1887 and was the tallest building in London at the time.
The hotel’s two restaurants, Bar Boulud and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, have also undergone significant changes as has the iconic spa located in the depths of the hotel. Adam and Joyce have worked tirelessly to preserve the hotel’s Oriental origins, integrating Chinese symbols into the decor and even the spa menu. For those seeking out cooler climes, both literally and figuratively, this summer the Mandarin Oriental is a reassuringly familiar breath of fresh air.
For bookings and more on the hotel, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/london/hyde-park/luxury-hotel.