The Mandrake — London, UK
In this age of ironic-minimal hipster home-away-from-home comfort hotels, Rami Fustok’s Mandrake takes hospitality in the opposite direction.
Dark, moody and draped in sumptuous fabrics, with art-filled walls and eclectic (even eccentric) design pieces, it practically swings from the chandeliers. But then The Mandrake is designed as a sensual overload, cocooning guests in fragrance and sound (the former by Azzi Glasser, the latter by Pierre-Arnaud Alunni) and feeding them treats by Frédéric Peneau, who brings his Wan Chai-based ‘democratic French gourmet’ experience, Serge et Le Phoque, to town.
Wrapped around a verdant atrium, with a greenhouse for medicinal plants on the first floor, the hotel takes its botanical inspiration seriously, even serving plant-based cocktails in the bar. Bold and opulent in a wear-your-jewels-in-the-bathtub way, the 30 bedrooms, three suites and lavish penthouse on offer at this hallucinatory homage to hedonism would look quite at home hosting one of Nero’s orgies.