Full Steam Ahead
Mondrian on the Southbank
All too often international hotel brands tend to loose their creative flair while attending to the many demands of the cosmopolitan traveller. How refreshing therefore it was to find a uniquely designed space welcoming us for our first stay at Mondrian London. They say Mondrian London at Sea Containers dazzled the London hotel scene when it opened its doors on 30th September 2014 on the South Bank. We can’t testify to that but it certainly dazzled us. Designed by Design Research Studio under the creative direction of Tom Dixon, Morgans Hotel Group’s first Mondrian branded hotel outside the United States showcases a number of nautical features embracing the building’s heritage, including a dramatic, handcrafted copper hull sweeping from the entrance through the lobby into the heart of Mondrian London, the restaurant, Sea Containers.
Head Chef Gus Crosby brings a wealth of experience to the kitchen from his time at Smith of Smithfield’s and Launceston Place to champion the fashionable and sustainable farm-to-table dining and support local British suppliers with a constantly evolving and seasonally varied British/American menu. We found it to offer fresh, seasonally considered cuisine that is carefully sourced and perfectly prepared. The kitchen boasts an open-plan kitchen featuring an impressive wood-fired oven from which the Clay Oven-Roasted Cod with braised puy lentils, bacon and coriander should be a favourite. A stunning feature of the restaurant is an iconic 18-seat signature stainless steel bar designed to reflect an American diner, together with a Yellow Submarine which continues the maritime theme of the hotel. Sea Containers also boasts stunning views over the Thames, a riverside terrace for al fresco dining and a private dining room with an outdoor terrace.
Interestingly, Sea Containers House was originally conceived as a luxury hotel, however its location near to the City of London led to the decision to complete it instead as office space drawing its name from the former long-term tenant, Sea Containers. In Spring 2011, a process began to gain planning permission for an extensive internal and external refurbishment of Sea Containers House leading to the opening of the Mondrian Hotel London, bringing part of the building back to its original intended use, a very fitting transformation in this dynamic and ever-changing city, now reflecting a happy union between the communication and service industries as the Mondrian shares the building with WPP.
As you would expect in an establishment like Mondrian London, you will find every taste and indulgence catered for, and it provides welcome additions to the eclectic South Bank scene with the exclusive rooftop bar, Rumpus Room, which offers panoramic views across the city’s skyline, and the award-winning Dandelyan, a seasonal cocktail bar. With its sumptuous green marble bar and dramatic views of the Thames, Dandelyan serves both innovative cocktails and refined interpretations of the classics, taking inspiration from the botanical wilds of the British countryside and around the world.
Taking full advantage of the hotel's unique location, many of the design-led 359 bedrooms and suites offer river and city views. With the golden age of transatlantic ship travel as a departure point and ocean liner cabins as his inspiration, Dixon has created fitted and well-thought-out rooms, incorporating metallic and brass throughout. In addition, each room features bespoke furniture from Tom Dixon and a one-off piece of art adorns the wall. And in case you want to enjoy the Dandelyan cocktails in your room the mini bars in each room are stocked with bespoke samples.
The hotel also features agua Bathhouse & Spa at Mondrian London, a bold spa playground concept. The spa boasts six spacious treatment suites and Spa & Glamour Lounges. A fully curated menu of signature treatments and collaborations from brands such as Soveral, Estelle & Thild, Dr. Jackson’s Natural Products, GLAMGLOW, de mamiel and CIATÉ are available. Some may even argue the spa embraces the Hollywood glamour, renegade origins and bold nature of the aspirational Mondrian brand. Whichever you prefer, a vigorous workout or an indulgent treatment this boutique bathhouse creates a distinct social hub for guests, filled with authentic spa experiences and personalised therapies.
Guests may be tempted to take advantage of the 56-seat screening room on site at Mondrian London to enjoy an exclusive viewing, available to book for events during the week. However, weekends see Curzon take over the space and take charge of programming to show the latest leading art house cinematic hits for guests and the public to enjoy. The hotel features six flexible meeting and event spaces with state-of-the-art audio, video and telecommunications capabilities.
In addition to the innovative decorations throughout the hotel the ground floor of Mondrian London has an artistic side to it as it hosts the new Lazarides Editions gallery, presenting a stimulating schedule of exclusive artist book launches, bespoke exhibitions, and independent screenings in addition to a revolving curation of notable print editions. Lazarides Editions provides an ideal location for iconic works on paper, timeless luxury gifts and provocative, multi-disciplinary, in-store collaborations.
The hotel is ideally located for those conducting business in the city wishing to relax enjoying the many cultural activities on offer at the South Bank after hours, the National Theatre, The Globe, Royal Festival Hall and Tate Modern all within a short walking distance away and the West End awaiting with its many productions across the river. For a different kind of experience and a sense of history you might want to visit London’s oldest food market, Borough Market, which has existed in one form or another for around 1,000 years, a foodie’s paradise offering an eclectic mix of produce, with artisan breads, great cheeses, green grocers offering fresh produce and specialist butchers and fishmongers. Certainly enough to water your mouth before dining at the Mondrian London and a healthy 12 minutes brisk walk away. Morgan Group’s playful and striking Mondrian debut in London is purposeful and you may even hear an echo of times past in the copper hull paying tribute to the ocean liner: Full Steam Ahead!