If walls could talk then I’d be requesting an audience with London’s hotels. They stand on our streets watching day to day life unfold over the decades, like guardians of our most debauched secrets – they really will have seen it all.
One hotel that has had quite the illustrious history is Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London and following its multi-million-pound refurb (and that unfortunate fire) it’s re-opening on Monday with a series of special packages, afternoon teas, cocktails and exhibitions celebrating the hotel’s past.
First opening its doors in 1889, the building started as an affluent gentlemen’s club, at the time it was the tallest building in London, which caused quite the outcry at the time, lucky they never saw the Shard then. Following a fire in 1899 it reopened in 1902 as the Hyde Park Hotel. The Queen would not allow any form of advertising in the park including the name of the hotel and so the entrance we use today is actually the back entrance, the original entrance on Albert Gate can only be used by the Royals. Still, no doubt because of its enviable Knightsbridge location, it became an overnight success welcoming in the who’s who of society, including Sir Winston and the Royal family.
Those staying at the hotel can choose the ‘Stay Like Sir Winston Churchill’ package which includes chocolate cigars, cocktails and a bottle of Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite). The Mandarin Bar will pay homage to some of the hotel’s much-loved characters with a series of cocktails. Hoppy, the liftman who knew everyone’s name, is remembered with the Lift Me Up Hoppy; Billy the bartender who worked at the Hyde Park Hotel, inspired the Hyde Park Special and the Secret Hunter honours the fact that the hotel was once the headquarters of the SAS.