Wylde World: The Mondrian, London
Report by Leanne Bracey
WHERE IS IT?
The Mondrian Hotel is at Sea Containers House on the River Thames. A short walk from either London Bridge or Waterloo Station, it’s part of the whole South Bank vibe, which is one of my favourite places in the city, and pretty central to everything else that London has to offer. The National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and Tate Modern are just a skip away, as is Borough Market. Don’t forget to visit the cool Oxo Tower Wharf for design studios, shops and exhibition spaces. Coincidentally, what is now the hotel used to be where I worked, when it was a large office space. My, has it changed! It’s been open for a few years now, so it’s not new, but it’s managed to retain its cool and hip status amongst a whole host of recent London openings.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Gone was the dull and corporate reception area that I remembered. The wonderful Tom Dixon has designed a swooping copper reception area, made to look a bit like a boat. In fact, the whole design harks back to that of a 1920s cruise ship, but brought very much up to date. Gone are the super-slow lifts that took an eternity to reach the floors, now the super-speedy elevators, ready to deliver you to the aptly named Rumpus Room for a night of drinking, with those fabulous views out to the Thames.
There were so many reasons why I wanted to stay at The Mondrian – the Tom Dixon design, of which I'm a crazy fan, the brilliant location that reminded me of work days and the ease of getting back to the station to take a train home the next day. It’s achingly stylish and uber-cool, with plenty of sass and sophistication. Case in point: the lobby music is more likely to be Missy Elliott than Mozart.
WHAT’S ON OFFER?
Fridays at the hotel attract a different crowd to its midweek users; this is a place to be seen with a glass of something in hand, propped up at The Dandelyan Bar. Ryan Chetiyawardan is the brains behind this award-winning bar and, this summer, he’s dreamed up a cocktail collection using just mint, hops and grapes; all sustainable ingredients found in the UK all year round and fitting with the bar’s "modern botany" theme. Look out for this "Modern Life of Plants" drinks menu, as it changes three times a year. And for those that don’t drink, the alcohol-free menu is just as exciting as is the afternoon "Wyld Tea". (We like the name!)
This is the place to come for a traditional, yet thoroughly modern, approach to a very English custom; with mint chocolate Scotch tea cakes and a pastrami sarnie with IPA relish on spelt bread, what’s not to love? During the week it's all about the suits and business meetings, so bear this in mind when booking, but come Thursday and Friday evenings, into the weekend, when there's a real vibe, buzz and a sense of celebration.
Dinner in the Sea Containers Restaurant feels lively; staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the menu – which is a bit of an American/English fusion. We tuck into the Sea Containers flatbread with cured ham and the Louisiana Spare Ribs. Yum! We sit at our window table, people-watching and chatting away until the restaurant thins out.
Brunch here is also great – fried chicken with buttermilk waffles and sriracha slaw and the Brooklyn sandwich, a kind of waffle with crispy bacon and maple syrup, all on top of the Bottomless Brunch option; Bloody Marys or prosecco and all you can drink for £18 in 90 minutes... go! Worth the trip for this alone. There’s also a spa, which I didn’t have a chance to visit, but I can tell you it’s very glamorous... I’m coveting the "custom guru massage". Whatever that is, sounds like it’d sort me right out.
HOW ABOUT THE ROOMS?
The room isn't the most spacious, but it's brilliantly designed with a separate seating and dining area, full of Tom Dixon-designed furniture. I particularly loved the classic egg-shaped bath. I wake up to a view over the Thames and I can see the Tower of London from my bed. This is the best hotel this side of the water, with views of London that can't be beaten.
WHAT I LOVED
I've been back since for after work drinks when I'm working in the area. Every time I come here, I admire the jewel-coloured furniture and louche vibe. It’s fantastic for people-watching and the location is second to none.
WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE
I was a little disappointed with the breakfast, which, for some reason, lacked that 5 star feel. It was casual, yes, but probably a bit too casual and would benefit from a bit more sophistication, especially with the service. It didn’t quite have that evening pizazz.
Rooms at Mondrian London start from £265+VAT per night. For more information or to book, visit the website.