Hidden deceptively close to the flurry and fluster of London’s Oxford Street, lies The Mandrake, an independent hotel hideaway that’ll wipe any memory of slow-walking tourists and horn-heavy taxi drivers from your mind the moment you emerge from the ominously dark walkway into the welcomingly fragrant lobby.
The tone of the hotel is otherworldly and by no means should you expect anything else from this particularly well-curated environment. Art is at the forefront of The Mandrake’s identity, with many striking pieces of work – it’s hard to miss the majestic kangaroo-peacock hybrid that watches over the ground floor bar space – having been sourced specifically for the hotel. Tucked away behind a heavy curtain at the other end of the bar, though, lies an intimate library full of further art, photography and literature for guests to lose themselves in by the gentle flicker of candle light.
Take a step outside and you’re in the open-air courtyard. Look up, and the sky is framed by the low hanging leafy plants that drape over the hotel’s wood panelled walls. Think boutique arthouse-guesthouse in Bali, a world that feels a million miles away from the compact streets of Fitzrovia.
Of The Mandrake's 34 rooms, suites and penthouse, we stayed in one of the wonderful terrace rooms (with double doors that open onto the jasmine and passionflower hanging gardens out on the shared terrace). Equipped with a generous king-sized bed, a sofa bench, well-stocked mini bar (Sipsmiths gin and Grey Goose vodka were both up for grabs), large HD TV and complimentary mineral water, the room made for a sweet retreat from the high sensory stimulation boasted throughout the rest of the hotel. The rainfall shower was a welcomed discovery in the marble tiled bathroom and yes, the toiletries (Grown Alchemist if you're as into that sort of thing as we are) and plush, fluffy bath robes scored pretty highly on our 'how dreamy is this bathroom' scale.
Eating And Drinking
The hotel's restaurant, Serge et le Phoque, is well regarded in the foodie world and its sister restaurant over in Hong Kong boasts a Michelin star. Sadly the restaurant was closed for the duration of our stay (be mindful if booking your visit over a Sunday or Monday night) but the breakfast offering (we had ours delivered to our room to do the 'retreat' thing properly, you see) includes every scrummy egg dish from your dream Sunday brunch menu - Eggs Benedict with Cornish crab and Shakshuka with Chistorra, spiced tomato, eggs and feta were personal highlights.
As tempting as it will be to hole yourself up in one of the serene nooks and crannies of the terraces, take the time to have a bit of a wonder around. Beyond the Weaska bar, the library is definitely worth a visit. There is a champagne and cocktail bar specifically focused on the Serge et le Phoque restaurant and out through the other side of the lobby you'll find The Mandrake's spiritual hub where you can treat yourself to a massage, sound therapy or the hotel's signature Full Moon Gong Bath.
When To Go
Truth be told, any time is a good time to pay The Mandrake a visit, but with knowledge of the Great British weather and not wanting to miss out on a little time on those Instagram-friendly terraces, you might prefer to go in the warmer months. That said, the courtyard has heaters aplenty and when it snowed over our stay (we know, what are the chances), the outdoor areas only looked that little bit more magical.
How To Book It
The Mandrake's double rooms start from approx £326 per night with breakfast included. For reservations visit The Mandrake website or call +44 203 1467770.