What is it?
A sexy, trippy five star hidden away in central London.
In 2017, there was one hotel on the fashion crowd’s lips – The Mandrake. Throwing its leaden black doors open in time for Fashion Week that year, it saw a veritable parade of scenesters and celebs strut through its verdant atrium, including David Beckham, a pre-disgraced Johnny Depp, and Jourdan Dunn. There were parties; dinners; a residency from A-list tattoo artist Mark Mahoney. Basically, it was hot stuff.
But what about now? Well, the unfortunate law of hot things is that they eventually cool. But does this mean The Mandrake isn’t worth checking into? One thing that can certainly be said about this boutique bolthole is that there isn’t another hotel in London quite like it – the long, black-shrouded entry hallway is a portal into a very OTT world of taxidermied hybrid creatures (a, hopefully faux, impala-peacock hangs behind the bar), psychedelic boudoir paintings, and Elvira-style chandeliers. Dark mood lighting prevails; a New Age-y soundtrack of warbling wind instruments and chirping birds pipe through the lobby. It all has the feel of a nightclub down Alice’s rabbit hole, with a touch of Versailles.
The ground floor contains the lobby, bar, and in-house restaurant YOPO, all opening out to the central outdoor courtyard, shaded by two gigantic, 150-year-old Tasmanian ferns. YOPO serves a menu of South American fusion dishes “inspired by chef George Scott-Toft’s travels through Argentina, Chile, and Peru” – think bright, cheek-puckering dishes like tuna tartare with chilli and cashew cream, or pork belly taco with pineapple, caper and chilli salsa. At the bar – called Waeska – heady £20 cocktails can be sipped beneath open shelving lined with random objets d’arts, pickled critters, mystical-looking potions, and ritual masks.
The rooms are where things get sultry. Each one is uniquely decorated, and just big enough to feel cosy for two people – and, given that there’s a drawer of intimate toys for purchase above the mini bar, the vibe is very much “romantic rendez-vous à deux”. There are also eight roomier suites – including the knockout Mandrake Suite, a sultry, black-on-black affair that embodies the Mandrake’s shtick. Behold the drapey, “Bedouin-style” tented bed; the capacious clawfoot tub set against inky marble; the opulent chandeliers and velvet curtains. You’ll also find a list of in-room wellness services from the “Spiritual Concierge”, including private yoga classes, massage, and more leftfield indulgences like “shamanic healing” and “sound frequency alignment”. The Mandrake really wears its kooky, wild child heart on its sleeve – and you kind of have to love her for that.
The best stay for...
Romantic partners who don’t mind getting a little bit freaky.
20-21 Newman St, London W1T 1PG