Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
All rights reserved
All food photos are of real food with no photoshop
The indomitable and intrepid TM visits London and stays at the…
MANDARIN Oriental Hyde Park where Winston Churchill stayed in whilehis London residence was being remodelled. One reason why I am a FAN of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is because in London, this is the only place where you can have a sumptuous breakfast in Heston Blumenthal’s Dining Room…and watch Her Majesty’s Household Cavalry and the Blues and Royals cantering past in full dress uniform. This is because the Mandarin Oriental Hude Park is located just by Hyde Park, sandwiched in between the Knightsbridge Tube (Underground) Station and the Embassies of Kuwait and France. The barracks of the Household Cavalry is nearby.
Prince Charles and Princess Anne visited the tearooms as children and more recently, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were guests at Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s 80th Birthday party. Since starting life in 1889, the historic hotel has become a great British institution and a home away from home for visiting aristocracy.
Early Morning Jog
My titanium Breitling watch read 07:18 as I went for my daily early morning jog in Hyde Park. It was a cold wintry morning but the sun had just got up. My breath misted as I exhaled. I felt like that song, “I’m feeling good!” by the famous singer, Nina Simone. I turned a corner and was delighted to run into the dashing Household Cavalry exercising their majestic horses. I asked: Are you the Household Cavalry?” The officer in charge replied with a friendly smile as he cantered off on his steed, “Yes we are!”
Exercise is the answer!
After my invigorating and most enjoyable and bracing jog, I went to the well equipped Gym with Techno Gym machines. Apart from libraries and fine restaurants, my next favourite place is the swimming pool. It was time for a swim in the really exquisite swimming pool which just opened in February 2014. On one side there is a glass enclosed fireplace with real orange flames flickering wildly! A short spell on the Relaxation Lounges which change colour as you lie on them is magical…They also vibrate gently while soothing music plays and Aromatherapy scents are gently released. Finishing with a 5 minute spell in the pinewood Sauna at 85C… Absolutely Wonderful! A quick shower and change, and it was off for a spot of Breakfast! And what a breakfast…Fruits juices, Cereal, Muesli, Cheeses, Cereal, Salami and Cold Cuts, Fresh Fruits. dried Apricots, Yoghurt, Breads, Croissants, Baguettes…Needless to say eggs done a la minute to your taste. I had an Omelette with everything…red, green and gold Capsicum (peppers), onions, cheese, salmon, ham, mushrooms and herbs. A kind of super-duper Spanish Omelette! My favourite Black Pudding is here too! Man does not live by bread alone! 🙂
The bathroom of the Grosvenor Suite on level 3 is huge and the Shower cubicle has high-tech Hans Grohe fittings. No manual taps…but at the touch of a button, the water comes out from the Rain Shower and you can also adjust the temperature by pressing the buttons. I prefer it at 37 degrees Celsius which is body temperature. This is the latest thing in high tech bathrooms. It is only the second bathroom I have seen with digital controls. The other was in my suite in a very good hotel in Strasbourg in France called Cour du Corbeau. The Grosvenor suite is very comfortable and well furnished and finished. The living room and dining room are both extremely spacious and yet very cosy and warm. No garish and weird furniture like in some Design hotels (they pride themselves on this) but really good, sturdy and very comfy sofas and chairs. Excellent interior design. You have your own Nespresso coffee machine, so it is a breeze to have a hot Ristretto or Cubania whenever you feel like an Espresso or Lungo. The titanic bed is so very welcoming after a busy day…it is like snoozing cocooned by soft warm, cuddly clouds…Lovely! Soft fluffy pillows for sweet and happy dreams. I had such a good snooze!
You can’t beat the Rosebery!
The piece de resistance of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is The Rosebery Tea Room which is simply spiffing for traditional English Afternoon Tea. Forget the Ritz, come here instead! The only other place that comes close is the Dorchester, but that is another story. When I was there recently, it was leading up to Christmas and the special Paddington Bear Afternoon Tea with Champagne was available. Beautiful Scones with Clotted Cream and Home made Strawberry Jam, exquisite yummie Sushi-like Sandwiches. Believe you me, it is to parachute behind enemy lines in Iraq to fight Daesh for! It is named in honour of…
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, Liberal Prime Minister of the UK from 1894 to 1895
A staunch upholder of the British Empire, the Earl of Rosebery’s fulfilled all three of his lofty ambitions. These were to own a horse that won the Derby, marry an heiress and be Prime Minister! Born into a Scottish aristocratic family, the Earl of Rosebery attended Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he developed an interest in both politics and horseracing.
His illustrious name lives on today in the Rosebery Tea Lounge…where delectable tea-time treats and premium teas is de rigeur!
Shop till you drop…
A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes perhaps…
If you like to shop, your hotel is the best base because just a hop, skip and a jump away is the Harrods Department store, now owned by the government of Qatar, infamous for supporting and sponsoring terrorism. Was it in better hands when Al Fayed owned it??? Another famous store just across the road from the Mandarin Oriental is Harvey Nichols. On one of the top floors there is a Christian Louboutin shoe shop. All the rage among the show off ‘nouveau riche’ set, all the shoes have trademark bright shocking red soles. I stopped by for a look one day on the way to the Food department. An effeminate young gentleman came to serve me and kindly showed me one of the shoes. “How much is it?” I asked.
“It’s 865 pounds..” he replied.
“Quite cheap then…” was my answer to that. His jaw dropped. Ha! Ha! Aha, what is life without a few laughs! 🙂 Enjoy!
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7235 2000