The Mandrake – An opulent, verdant, and rather magical “urban jungle” in Fitzrovia.
If you choose a hotel named after a hallucinogenic plant imbued with legend and superstition, you shouldn’t be surprised if your lodgings are more than a little trippy. All that alerts you to the hotel’s presence is an image of an eye and a taxidermied mythical creature in what looks like a shop window. Then there’s the inside – it’s hard to imagine a central London hotel looking like a rainforest lodge, but there it is – the hanging gardens of Fitzrovia. The mysticism is enhanced by the hotel’s “spiritual wellbeing” options (join in a Goddess Circle, a Crystal Bowl Sound Bath, or a Shamanic Gong Bath), the ‘ethnobotany’ used in the cocktail menu, as well as the names of its bar, Waeska, and restaurant, Yopo, both Amazonian shamanic plants. But despite all that, the Mandrake succeeds in being brilliantly comfortable and deliciously cozy.
The Mandrake – Location
- Address: 20-21 Newman Street, London W1T 1PG.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: Tottenham Court Road, a 5-minute walk (0.3 mile) away, has connections to the Northern and Central lines (and soon, the Elizabeth Line, which will be the fastest way to get across London). Also on the Central Line is Oxford Circus, an 8-minute walk (0.4 mile), from which you can also access the Bakerloo and Victoria lines.
- Area: Located in genteel Fitzrovia, Newman Street is surprisingly relaxed given its central location just off Oxford Street. From here, it’s an easy walk to almost every main tourist site in central London.
- How To Get There: From Gatwick Airport, the high-speed Gatwick Express and slower trains run to London Victoria train station, where you can connect to the London Underground. Other trains connect Gatwick to St Pancras train station, across the street from King’s Cross station, a major London Underground hub. From Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow Express runs to Paddington train station, with onwards London Underground connections. Heathrow is also served directly by the Piccadilly underground line. Consult the Transport for London website and Citymapper app for the best way to reach the hotel.
- Handy To: British Museum, Oxford Street, Soho.
The Mandrake – The Basics
- Ages: Guests tend to be couples looking for a romantic hideaway.
- View: Many rooms overlook the extraordinary tropical courtyard with hanging gardens.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: The Penthouse suite has a steam room and jacuzzi with a retractable roof for stargazing.
- Laundry: In-room laundry service.
- Extras: Turn-down service, hypoallergenic pillows on request, pets allowed (extra charge), an extensive library with books on photography, art, and design, as well as a helpful concierge to tailor your stay according to your interests.
- When To Book: Book 2-3 months in advance for the June-September high season, plus Easter and Christmas/New Year holidays. Several weeks in advance the rest of the year.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +44 (0)20 3146 7770
- Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
- Website: themandrake.com
The Mandrake – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: No spa, but the hotel offers a range of “spiritual wellbeing” activities, including gong baths, crystal bowl sound baths, and in-room treatments such as “integrative Hawaiian bodywork.”
- Fitness Center: No fitness center.
- For Disabled Guests: Elevators to the upper floors and several rooms suitable for guests with limited mobility.
- Activities: A range of “spiritual wellbeing” activities, including gong baths, crystal bowl sound baths, and Goddess Circles, and interaction with artist-in-residence.
The Mandrake – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: The South-American-inspired small plates at the Mandrake’s luxurious and fashionable restaurant, Yopo, come highly recommended. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (7.30-10.30 am, noon-2.30 pm, and 7-11.30 pm) with a set menu option; food can be taken in the glorious courtyard during summer months. Private dining rooms available. $$-$$$.
- Lounges/Bars: There are 3 bars, all open till late. For those yearning for more exotic climes, the wicker and wood of the Jurema on the first-floor terrace will conjure up a tropical getaway. • For surreal escapist hedonism, drive into the ethnobotanical cocktail list at Waeska, set around the central courtyard with live DJs Thursday-Saturday from 9 pm. • If the magical realism is getting too much, head to Yopo, whose bar has street views that will help bring you back down to earth.
- Breakfast: Not complimentary, but can be added at time of booking. Served in Yopo from 7.30 am to 10.30 am. Mains £5-25.
- Room Service: Available from Yopo around the clock.
The Mandrake – Rooms
- Room Types: Mandrake Room (Standard Double) • Newman Room (Deluxe Double) • Terrace Room (Executive Double) • Junior Suite • Mandrake Suite • Penthouse Suite
- Smoking Rooms: The Mandrake Hotel is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The ethereal Penthouse suite is all about the bathroom – complete with a jacuzzi, retractable roof, steam room, dual showers, 2 sinks, and a chaise lounge. That’s before mentioning the enormous bed with a cashmere mattress surrounded by Veronese marble and spacious living area with dining table.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, though there are 2 interconnecting rooms which can accommodate families with older children.
The Mandrake – Local Transport
The Transport for London website, Citymapper app, and Google Maps will give you the most comprehensive ways to get around London, including walking, taxis, rideshares, and public bicycle information.
- Walking: Within 30 minutes, you can walk to most of the Central London attractions, including Soho (0.1 mile, 3-minute walk), Regent Street (0.3 mile, 7-minute walk), Carnaby Street (0.5 mile, 10-minute walk), Piccadilly Circus (0.6 mile, 13-minute walk), Leicester Square (0.6 mile, 13-minute walk), Trafalgar Square (0.8 mile, 15-minute walk), Hyde Park (1.2 miles, 25-minute walk), and Buckingham Palace (1.5 miles, 30-minute walk).
- Subway and Bus: An easy walk to several tube stations: Tottenham Court Road (0.3 mile, 5-minute walk), Goodge Street (0.3 mile, 6-minute walk), and Oxford Circus (0.4 mile, 9-minute walk). Tube and mainland services from Charing Cross (1 mile, 20-minute walk) and Euston (1 mile, 20-minute walk). There are dozens of local buses from this area of central London.
- Taxis, Uber: London’s famous Black Cabs can be hailed from the street or ordered via the Gett app. Uber is also ubiquitous throughout the city – you’ll rarely have more than a 5-minute wait for a cab, although costs can rack up in traffic – you may wish you’d walked.
The Mandrake – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
There are tours on almost every aspect of London, from Harry Potter to The Beatles and the monarchy. Hotel staff are extremely knowledgeable about what’s available and can assist with booking.
- Secret London Walking Tour – Fun London Tours offer a lot of options that are fun for locals and tourists alike as they explore aspects of London that not many know about. Starts at Trafalgar Square. 15-minute walk (0.8 mile).
- London By Night Tour – See London, rather than a traffic jam, at nighttime. The company comes highly recommended and offers dozens of other tours. Starts at Green Park. 20-minute walk / 10 minutes by Tube (1 mile).
- Drink London Tour – Drink your way through many of London’s most historic pubs from St Paul’s (2 miles, 10 minutes by Tube) to Holborn, a short 16-minute walk (0.7 mile) from the hotel.
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Berners Tavern – Fine dining from Jason Atherton in a breathtaking dining room filled with art. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Greyhound Café – Inventive, exciting, and authentic Thai food in a trendy setting with outside seating. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Ember Yard – Mouth-watering wood-fired Mediterranean sharing plates from the Salt Yard group. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Corazon – Excellent Mexican food whipped up from scratch at reasonable prices. A great bar, too. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Homeslice – Offering just 2 options: a massive 20-inch pizza or a single slice, Homeslice has very little margin for error. Luckily, this outstanding pizzeria hits the mark every time. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Temper – Sustainable meat smoked and barbequed in the middle of an underground restaurant. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Social Eating House – Exquisite food from the same team as the Berners Tavern, but in a celebrated informal environment. The Blind Pig bar upstairs has a prohibition theme and serves excellent cocktails. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Mildreds – Ever-popular groundbreaking vegetarian restaurant (now with branches elsewhere in the city) that even the most carnivorous will love. No bookings. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Hoppers – Mouth-watering Sri-Lankan food that has people queuing as soon as the doors open. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Balans – Great all-day eatery, good for ample breakfasts, small, globally-inspired plates for sharing, plus epic burgers – winners of London’s Best Burgers in 2017. The bar is ideal for late-night cocktails and craft beer. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Bocca di Lupo – Choose small or large portions of the seasonal menu that features dishes from every region of Italy. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Liquorette – Kitsch bar, plastered with 1970s posters, serving good pizzas and choice alcohol with the option for cocktails to go: try their signature ‘Cha-Chunker’. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Brewdog – A bar from the Scottish brewery taking over the world with DIY co-op ‘punk’ ethos and fantastic beers. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- The Dog and Duck – Tiny pub with dining room famous for serving George Orwell and Madonna. Packed with locals every night. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- The French House – This Gallic bar-restaurant is a true Soho institution. Go to discover its full history and lengthy famous guest list. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Ceviche – Full flavor at this Peruvian bar-restaurant with excellent Pisco cocktails and food that does Lima proud. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Swift – Elegant 2-story bar focusing on excellent cocktails and a staggering collection of over 250 whiskeys. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Bar Termini – Brilliantly simple menu (and prices) showcasing the things this friendly Italian bar cares most about: coffee, cocktails, and negroni. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Kaffeine – Often called the best coffee in London, this Antipodean cafe with 2 Fitzrovia outposts will not disappoint – excellent light bites too. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile) and 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- ScandiKitchen – Scandinavian deli with delectable open sandwiches and pastries for breakfast, lunch, or teatime. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Bar Italia – Opened in 1949 as a hub for the Italian community in London, 70 years on, this family-run cafe (with restaurant next door) is a 24-hour hub for the whole of London. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Oxford Street – London’s ultimate shopping street offers over a mile’s worth of high street brands and department stores. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Berwick Street – The street to come to if you’re into fabric and haberdashery stores, vinyl (Reckless Records, Sister Ray), and graphic novels (Gosh! Comics). There’s also an incredible lunchtime street food market Monday-Saturday. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Old Compton Street – Soho has long been known for its nightlife, especially for the gay community, but Old Compton Street is worth a stroll in the daytime for specialist produce stores, namely i Camisa & Sons, Gerry’s Wine and Spirits, and the Algerian Coffee Stores. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Liberty London – This iconic department store, world-famous for its floral and paisley prints, sits at the northernmost end of Carnaby street. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Carnaby Street – This street, just before Oxford Circus Tube station, made London the height of fashion in the Swinging Sixties and still buzzes with shoppers and many restaurants. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Piccadilly – The road that runs between Picadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner also boasts some great shopping, including Europe’s largest bookstore, Waterstones Piccadilly and Fortnum & Mason, an extremely upmarket department store with doormen and an impressive mechanical clock. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Covent Garden – Once referring only to London’s main produce market, Covent Garden now refers to everything bounded by Shaftesbury Avenue in the north, Charing Cross road to the west, High Holborn in the east, and The Strand in the south; an ever-growing warren mixture of artisans, independent boutiques, designer labels, and high-street brands. Highlights include the Royal Opera House, Stanfords for maps and travel-related paraphernalia, Neal’s Yard Dairy for cheese-lovers, and Petersham Nurseries for a graceful lunch spot. 16-minute walk (0.8 mile).
- Selfridges – With its designer brands and incredible food hall, this is the one shop not to miss on Oxford Street. 18-minute walk (1 mile).
- Bond Street (0.8 mile, 16-minute walk) and Regent Street (0.5 mile, 10-minute walk), which both lead off Oxford Street to the south, and St Christopher’s Place (0.8 mile, 16-minute walk) just to the north of Selfridges, are the areas to hit nearby for luxury brands.
- British Museum – Considered one of the best museums in the world with millions of treasures from all regions and eras. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Theatreland – London’s ‘West End’ is as renowned as Broadway for the best, biggest, newest, and longest-running theater productions with dozens of historic theaters spanning from Tottenham Court Road down to the river, with a concentrated cluster on Shaftesbury Avenue. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile)
- Leicester Square – A pleasant plaza that celebrates entertainment, from the statue of Shakespeare in the center to the street performers and the enormous cinemas that hold the UK premieres of the biggest new releases. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Trafalgar Square – London’s premiere square with some of its most important landmarks. Admiralty Arch in the southwest corner leads to The Mall and Buckingham Palace and, of course, Nelson’s Column celebrates the admiral responsible for Britain’s win against Napoleon. Don’t miss the National Gallery at the top of the steps, or its adjoining sister, the National Portrait Gallery for some of the country’s most precious gems. 15-minute walk (0.8 mile).
- Buckingham Palace – Stroll down the wide avenue, The Mall, from Trafalgar Square and walk in the footsteps of the British monarchy. 18-minute walk (1 mile) to Admiralty Arch (start of The Mall).
- Hyde Park – Whether you go to relax or get active (outdoor bathing, horse riding), there’s room for everyone in London’s most beloved park that covers some 350 acres. 25-minute walk (1.2 miles).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
The Mandrake – The Hotel
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