In London, it’s funny how people immediately jump to stereotypes when you say which area you’re from. Fulham? Comes from public school and enjoys boat races. Mayfair? Only eats sushi and has a race horse syndicate. East London? Speaks from the streets but wears designer hats. City? Don’t know, they’re hidden in a pile of cash and fast cars.
Try doing that to the Mondrian and you’ll be stumped. The five-star hotel, which opened last year, bridges the gap between the financial district and Shoreditch, picking the best parts of both. Art and creativity from the east; five-star luxury from the west. Go up to the penthouse restaurant Laurel’s on the Roof, and you’ll see it for yourself.
Yes, the pool is open all-year round and warm enough for the winter months.
A concrete jungle of buildings lies on one side, while the sparkling allure of glass trading houses sits on the other. Try not to get too distracted by the rooftop pool – yes, it’s open all-year round and warm enough for the winter months. By the time I arrive it’s after midday and I’m kindly told that it’s a no-laptop zone after 12pm. Absolutely excellent news. I simply couldn’t think of anything better than turning off work and enjoying actual conversation. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to take in the grogeous bohemian interiors.
Large palms, wicker chairs, geometric cushions and bright natural light make it feel like a heavenly 70s pool cabana. It’s a shame a wide-brimmed hat and sunnies feel a little inappropriate for November. Breakfast is served here in the mornings – a laidback vibe for those who have morning business meetings, dressed in hoodies, of course. In the evening, it’s a buzzing hub for meals, but not after-work drinks (you can have those at Christina’s on the ground floor). However, we manage to make an exception to the rule. It turns out olive and tomato popcorn and marinated olives go perfectly with my spiced rum cocktail. It also whets the appetite before heading downstairs to Bibo.
People are having morning business meetings, dressed in hoodies, of course
The lively Spanish restaurant is discreetly hidden on the lower ground floor. It’s jam-packed. Spirited chatter floats up into the floating schools of delicate porcelain fish that hang overhead. The staff here are so friendly. Plus, they really know what they’re talking about, from the jamon croquetas (which are creamy, oozy and simply divine – how do you get mash that silky?) to the biography of famed executive chef Dani García. It’s certainly a delightful surprise, as a lot of restaurants are still suffering from a shortage of experienced staff.
After cooing over the colourful Zafferano water tumblers, we place our orders. From the smoky, rich broccolini and kale salad and the table-side flamed chorizo to the jelly-soft octopus, each dish continues to evoke exaggerated cries of “this is the best I’ve ever tasted”.
We stuff ourselves like little turkeys and finally return to our (luxury) coup upstairs. The rooms are tastefully decorated with exposed brick and muted ochre colour palettes. It makes for the perfect stay for a business trip or a one-night treat. Plus, we take great delight in spying on the couple who live opposite in a dreamy open-plan flat. If they’re reading this: you really ought to get curtains.
While you’re there make time for the gym or a treatment in the spa. There’s also the impressive rocket sculpture, Futura, to see, which is created by designer-come-artist Jack Irvine above reception (head over there now before you miss it, as it comes down on Monday 21 November). The metallic casing, reflects the City’s glass shards of buildings and the bright, rust colour speaks to the edgier side of East London. This place really encapsulates the best of both – no stereotypes in sight.