An Insider’s Look at London’s Brand-New Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

The new Mandarin Oriental property is a worthwhile new addition to the already-packed London hotel scene.

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London’s prestigious Mayfair neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best hotels, but the competition just got a lot fiercer with the arrival of Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, the Hong Kong-based luxury brand’s second London property. Situated on the southern edge of Hanover Square, the 50-room hotel boasts an exceptional location near Regent Street, Soho and Hyde Park, as well as to the high-end restaurants and bars of Mayfair itself. It’s a worthwhile new addition to the already-packed London hotel scene, promising friendly, thoughtful service that some nearby properties lack. 

The building, which comprises both the hotel rooms and 77 residences, was designed by British architectural firm RSHP with inspiration from the area’s historical Georgian townhouses (hello, Bridgerton fans), while the chic, modern public interiors were brought to life by Tokyo’s Curiosity studio. The rooms and suites, designed by Studio Indigo, combine British style and Asian flourishes, including on the ornate floral wallpaper and the marble bathrooms, which, importantly, have heated Japanese toilets. All of the smaller touches are especially noticeable throughout the guest rooms, including a variety of bedside outlets, a stationary set hidden in a drawer, desks ideal for remote work, Natura Bissé bath products (and a gold rubber duck) and yoga mats in the closets. 

George Apostolidis A deluxe room at the new Mandarin Oriental Mayfair.

Mandarin Oriental hotels tend to be known for these details, but the Mayfair location (a sister to the original Hyde Park property) is also infused with local-specific notes. The hotel tapped British brand Vivienne Westwood, which has a flagship store nearby, to craft its signature fan, which showcases the meeting of two abstract figures in front of the neighborhood townhouses. Vivienne Westwood senior designer Alex Krenn drew on the history of 300-year-old Hanover Square for the colorful design, which is also splashed on the hotel’s shopping bags. 

George Apostolidis A peek inside one of the suite's bathrooms.

The highlight of the hotel is the central restaurant, Akira Back, which marks the Colorado chef’s first-ever U.K. outpost. Its stunning design, augmented by an expansive skylight and artwork from Back’s mother, feels casual for breakfast and lunch, but more elevated during dinnertime. It’s a buzzy new opening for London, but also for Back himself. 

“I have always loved London and have fond memories of traveling here with my family as a child,” Back tells Observer. “As a chef, London has become the global hub for food, so of course bringing my food here is extra special to me. Mandarin Oriental is an amazing hotel brand with standards and principals similar to mine, so it seemed like the perfect fit. I envisage the restaurant and bar offerings as an ecosystem of different concepts and experiences, and I like the fact that a guest can spend their entire evening here dining and drinking.”

Akira Back AB tuna pizza.

Akira Back and the adjacent ABar Lounge are already open for hotel guests and the public, but more culinary spaces will follow. ABar Rooftop, with panoramic views of Mayfair, and Korean-inspired chef’s table Dosa are set to arrive later in summer 2024 (the original Dosa outpost in Seoul has one Michelin star). Back teases that Dosa will offer “a unique experience unlike no other, both in London and globally,” as “guests can interact with the chefs whilst being taken on a culinary journey that expresses my heritage and techniques.” 

The menu at Akira Back combines longtime Back favorites like the AB Tuna Pizza, a truffle-dressed tuna sashimi snack, and the Perfect Storm sushi roll, which combines spicy tuna, prawn tempura, salmon belly aburi and chipotle mayo. But the chef has also created new dishes that are exclusive to the London restaurant—and well worth trying. One of these is the Dynamite Lobster, a half lobster baked in a spicy sauce and garnished with pickled shimeji and micro coriander—an indulgence that I can confirm is worth the $58 price tag. 

George Apostolidis Akira Back restaurant in Mandarin Oriental Mayfair.

Overall, Back’s aim is for guests to feel “the energy of both the restaurant and London” when dining or drinking. 

“Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to dining, and regardless of whether someone prefers a casual or formal experience, I want people to enjoy their meal and revel in the atmosphere,” he says. “ABar Lounge is its own sexy space where people can celebrate, dance and enjoy themselves. Drinks and music are the focus, and we want people to visit both before and after dinner, staying late into the night, or solely just visit ABar Lounge, as it really is a destination in its own right.”

The underground spa and gym are another highlight. There’s a 25-meter pool, three additional vitality pools, a sauna and a steam room. The fitness center is so new that some of the Technogym equipment isn’t even on the market yet, a detail that has apparently wowed some of the early guests. While the spa only has two treatment rooms, the hotel has made the most of the space, creating a wellness oasis that is almost eerily calm. Two treatments are signature to the Mayfair property: an age-defying two-hour facial from Swiss Perfection dubbed “Elegance of Mayfair” and a four-hand massage called “Tranquility of Mayfair.” I can recommend the first offering, a relaxing experience augmented by facial massage that drains and contours and including a transformative collagen mask. 

George Apostolidis The vitality pools in the spa.

London’s hotel scene, particularly in and around Mayfair, is rapidly expanding, leaving travelers with a lot of choice. The Mandarin Oriental Mayfair has a few downsides, including a lack of views from most of the guest rooms, but its service, location and amenities still set it above many of its competitors. Rooms start at £1,050. 

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