1% Travel Guide: London Olympic Edition

By Playboy.com Staff

Just in time for the 37th Summer Olympic Games, we scope out the best of British luxury at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.

Welcome to the 1% Travel Guide, your bible of the most tricked-out, exclusive destinations that money can buy.

While your initial foray into the world of high-class travel has yielded some spectacular destinations, such as your own castle in Tuscany or a Californian golf retreat, you’ve more or less found yourself cut off from the wider population, restricted to a haven of peace and solitude.

Though you’re happy to indulge in that kind of vacation now and then, there is something so alluring about experiencing a luxury retreat amid the sights and sounds of a global city. Yes, New York has a certain appeal as the self-proclaimed center of the universe, as does Paris, the purveyor of all things shiny, expensive and gluttonous — but you have a particular craving to be entertained at the heart of the action. Hence you must go to London to bask in the luxurious glory among the rest of the jet-setting millionaires who frequent these events to wager.

Before you know it, you’re disembarking from your private Gulfstream at Heathrow, where you see fleets of commercial jets stalled due to the high traffic — good thing you travel solo. Your chauffer arrives in one of the new Rolls-Royce Series II Phantoms, assuring you that he’s made arrangements with Olympic officials for your passage on one of the exclusive Olympic motorway lanes into the city, an option reserved solely for athletes and officials and, of course, VIPs such as yourself.

You cruise into Knightsbridge, passing the Royal Albert and the more distinguished museums. Finally you pull up outside arguably London’s most luxurious and esteemed historic hotel: the former Hyde Park Hotel. Originally built as a gentleman’s club in 1889, it is now a state-of-the art restoration bearing the name the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. A royal hotel that has counted visits and stays through its history from such family members as Queen Mary, King Edward VII and the reigning monarch, the hotel is a picturesque portrayal of luxury, elegance and style, definitely a fine fit for your new lifestyle.

As you check in to the £9500+ ($14,850) per night Royal Suite, you marvel at the unrivaled prestige of the atmosphere, from the restored original fireplace and the reclaimed oak timber floor to the authentic 18th century Chinese paintings that adorn the walls. You begin your stay by trying out the interactive experience inside the Egeo marble shower; after sampling options including “Tropic Water and Thunder,” you have the concierge staff mix you a strong drink from your private bar while you relax on the spacious attached terrace overlooking ever-bustling London.

From exploring the nearby Kensington Palace to indulging in the best watches, colognes and clothes money can buy at the infamously expensive Harrods megastore around the corner, your stay in West London resembles an old British society film. Late afternoon cocktails in the hopping meeting spot that is the hotel’s Mandarin Bar lead into long discussions with international royalty in town for the Games over dinner in Hyde Park’s two award-winning restaurants, helmed by chefs Daniel Boulud and Heston Blumenthal, who have the combined experience of an enviable seven Michelin stars.

Between attending (in the front row) the women’s beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade and taking in the opening and closing ceremonies along with the rest of the American VIPs and coaches, your Olympic stay in London at the Mandarin Oriental is bound to be an otherworldly experience few hotels can match. Amid the exceptional service, eclectic Franco-Flemish architecture and aristocratic history, there could be no better place to take in the Olympics in pure luxurious style. Just another stop on the 1% Travel Guide.

Check out more at www.MandarinOriental.com/London


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