The Mandrake Hotel
Never judge a book by its cover as the old saying goes, and this most definitely should be applied to the Mandrake Hotel. Do not judge this hotel by its unassuming exterior façade, for what lies beyond the exterior is a unique and totally new hotel concept by Lebanese-born, London-based Rami Fustok, and his personal stamp is evident throughout.
The Mandrake Hotel is located in the heart of London’s west end, in swanky Fitzrova, and is a stone’s throw from the city’s shopping mecca Oxford Street. Ten out of ten for location, you couldn’t be better placed to access all that London has to offer in terms of shopping, culture and all the bright lights of the big city.
The mandrake is a medicinal plant and the hotel pays homage to healing, positive energies and intrigue, which is the theme throughout.
The double fronted entrance is manned by a doorman decked out in a dandy style uniform, he leads you down what seems like an indoor alleyway, dark and gloomy, into a burst of light to the reception area. From here on out you have entered an ethereal world, it is almost jungle like.
I arrived at the hotel in a bit of a tizz, I had accidentally left my cell phone in the taxi on the journey from the airport to the hotel. Elena and Gabriel at reception were very sympathetic and Gabriel assured me they would do everything in their power to re-unite me with my phone. I am pleased to say that they managed to track down the driver and thankfully he returned to the hotel with my phone. Gabriel lived up to his name, he really is an angel. Happy days!
Rami’s sister and lead designer, Tala, is at the helm of the design, she has conceived spaces that seamlessly reflect the opulence of Paris alongside the eccentricities of London.
This luxury boutique hotel reveals a totally unique and daring concept for open-minded and creative individuals. It has a combination of playful features including curious soundscapes and Azzi Glasser scents, creating a sensation of delight at every turn.
The hotel situated in Newman Street opened its doors in September 2017, and decadent is perhaps the word that describes it best. The interior design is a mix of jewel-toned velvets, gilded mirrors and metallic coffee tables with drape curtains and curvaceous wing chairs. Dark paint tones, a 30-candle chandelier designed by Slovenian Lara Bohinc and vintage panel screens covered with lush botanical prints, enhance the artistic vibe around the hotel.
It is considered to be a sanctuary for art and creativity. Rami, an art connoisseur, has carefully curated the artwork around the hotel. From Salvador Dalí to Francesco Goya, Thomas Hooper and more, the hotel is adorned with worldwide intricacies and curiosities collected by Fustok on his travels, as well as works by international sculptor Bushra Fakhoury (Rami’s mother). All in all this a family collaboration in the truest sense of the word.
The hotel incorporates an Artist in Residence programme as celebrating art is one of the hotel’s main ethos’ – you would expect nothing less of such an artistic family.
It houses 34 rooms, including three suites and a Penthouse set across four floors, rising up from the striking central inner-courtyard and public terrace, home to two towering Tazmanian palm trees. The first-floor terrace reserved exclusively for guests is draped with hanging passion-flower and jasmine.
My room design was classic in style, complete with an outdoor terrace area, which quite unusually spills out into the public area. It was a corner room which looked out to the glasshouse apothecary, a relaxation room which can also be hired out for private dining. The furniture was a mix of modern and vintage and there were quirky touches such as feathers, masks and artwork commissioned specifically and from Fustok’s personal collection. The coveted mini bar contains not only alcohol but also retox remedies.
The Mandrake introduced the Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant, Serge et le Phoque, to London. Boasting a radical yet refined approach based on French techniques and using only the finest ingredients. The Waeska bar is the heart of the hotel with a striking Labradorite bar – a huge gemstone with many properties such as grounding spiritual energies. The creative drinks menu includes handcrafted cocktails based on botanical. It is the perfect spot for entertaining.
Breakfast at the Mandrake can be as an elaborate or as downplayed event as you wish it to be. We ordered off the menu, and my dining partner opted for the eggs Florentine, which she assured me were delicious. Beth is gluten intolerant, and as much as restaurants these days cater for non-gluten diners, no gluten can sometimes ruin a dish. Beth was served gluten-free bread, which the kitchen staff had shaped into style of a muffin, and managed to make it tasty into the bargain. She was very pleased. Rounded off with an energizing smoothie each – broccoli, mango and pineapple, we were refreshed and energized and ready to deal with all the day had in store for us.