Unassuming framed wrought iron gates provide a subtly low-key entrance to one of London’s most stylish and original new hotels. It took five years of planning and construction, not to mention £45 million, to artfully convert this former Victorian office block in Fitzrovia into a cool, urban boutique hotel; a space that is spiritual, otherworldly, relaxing, and a little controversial.
Opened during London Fashion Week, The Mandrake is the first hotel from Beirut-born entrepreneur Rami Fustok. His sister, Tala Fustok, styled the interior, which features the family’s art collection, including carefully curated surrealist sculptures that reinforce the impression that nothing in this hotel is quite what it seems at first.
“I wanted to create an environment where people could lose themselves,” says Rami Fustok. “I wanted them to enter another world.”
In the Lobby, industrial-style walls compliment a stylishly understated reception desk. It is illuminated by a large Gothic-style wax candle chandelier by Lara Bohinc, and soft ambient lighting, evoking a sense of both peace and drama. Vibrant Jonas Burgert artwork energises the walls; while Nucleo’s resin cubes with petrified wood are dotted around the lobby next to plum and aubergine armchairs and sofas. Bespoke rugs from Ateliers Pinton in the same colour palette soften the look.
The theme of outdoor-indoor living runs throughout the building, with natural light and a generous terrace elevating most of the public area. A modest palm courtyard looks up to the terrace, above which is a generous living wall where trails of jasmine and flowering passion fruit cascade down.
The dramatic 30ft long Labradorite bar, with its vivid turquoise patches, is one of the hotel’s star turns. Here traditional panelled mahogany panelling is balanced by a nature-theme treatment with rich greens, fabrics and textures of green, purple and red.
The Mandrake is a genuine boutique hotel, with just 30 guest bedrooms, three suites and an up-market penthouse located across four floors.
It was designed by London-based practice Manalo & White Architects; a firm with a reputation for conceiving and executing high quality projects within tight time and budget constraints. The Mandrake also captures Manalo & White’s sense of humour.
The Mandrake proves that taking risks and following a instinctive vision, can pay dividends. The opulent interior makes great use of natural stone which was fabricated and installed by stoneCIRCLE.
The Penthouse has a sumptuous bedroom with bookmatched Greylac marble used on the floor and continuing over the bed pedestal and seating platform and then up the TV wall and headboard. The top of the dining table was also fabricated in the same marble. The bathing facilities feature polished Mystery White throughout; for cladding, vanity unit and skirting, include a steam room, dual shower rooms, private and guest toilets, and a spacious Jacuzzi under a retractable roof.
The Mandrake Suite features polished bookmatched Black Wave on the floor and vanity unit.
In all 16 different marbles and granites were used in the guest bathrooms, bars and washrooms, as well as the lift floors. The public washrooms in the basement made use of Nero Marquina in the Gents and Mystery White in the Ladies. Both of these were combined in a dramatic geometric design on the walls and floor of the shared hand wash area. The design was continued in polished Neolith Statuario and Nero San Marcos in a leather finish for the basin pedestal.
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