The Mandrake London review: intentionally over the top with five-star food and fun

This hotel is decidedly cool but still maintains a feeling of warmth and relaxation

 The Waeska bar
The Waeska bar, which regularly hosts live sets from house and techno DJs
(Image credit: The Mandrake)

You would be forgiven for thinking you’ve entered a nightclub when you set foot inside The Mandrake hotel, round the corner from Tottenham Court Road station.

As I make my way through the dark doorway, I half expect a bouncer to be waiting on the other side, ready to scan my ID and search my bag. The website describes the hotel entrance as featuring a “three-dimensional portal of sound” designed to transport you from the streets of London – and bustling Oxford Street certainly does feel light-years away as I enter the perimeter.

The clubby atmosphere continues in the lobby, which is decked out with opulent crystalline furniture and animal print, with leather-clad (and exceptionally attractive) staff on hand. This place is decidedly cool, but the service is remarkably warm, demonstrating that while The Mandrake is all about fun, it’s still a five-star hotel through and through.

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The lobby

The lobby is decked out with opulent crystalline furniture and animal print
(Image credit: The Mandrake)

The rooms

My room overlooks a leafy central courtyard. It’s a view that feels a far cry from hectic central London, in spite of the hotel’s prime location – bang in the middle of Soho. The hotel’s dedication to its nightclub atmosphere means the room is a little on the dark side, but the bed is so comfy and the shower so spacious that it makes it the perfect place to crash after a night out on the town.

As well as venturing out, guests can spend the evening at the hotel’s Waeska bar, which regularly hosts live sets from up-and-coming house and techno DJs.

The leafy central courtyard

Many of the guestrooms overlook a leafy central courtyard
(Image credit: The Mandrake)


It’s important to point out that The Mandrake isn’t just party, party, party – it’s also focused on health and recovery, with a dedicated wellness concierge and a full programme of workshops and activities centred on nourishing the body and soul.

During my stay, I take part in a private crystalline healing gong bath, which is an intensely relaxing sound immersion experience that transports me to new levels of calm. Wrapped in blankets and cushions on the floor of the uber-luxe penthouse suite, my mind is absorbed by the vibrations of gongs, wind chimes and many other instruments (think: a full-body ASMR experience).

A crystalline healing gong bath

Guests at The Mandrake can take part in a crystalline healing gong bath
(Image credit: The Mandrake)

If this isn’t for you, you can opt for traditional massage, shamanic healing or sound frequency alignment sessions. The hotel also runs a programme of Sunday morning yoga classes and new moon ceremonies for residents.

Eating and drinking

Riding high on tranquillity, I head to Yopo – the hotel’s Latin American fusion restaurant. Surprisingly, considering the giant stuffed ostrich in the centre of the dining room, the food is refined, unpretentious, and utterly genius. Everything is noteworthy, and I try almost the entire menu.

Yopo restaurant

Yopo is the hotel’s Latin American fusion restaurant
(Image credit: The Mandrake)

Particular highlights include a dish of yellowtail sashimi, spiked with finger lime and served with the thinnest plantain crisps you’ve ever seen, and a brioche roll stuffed with sweet crab meat, tiny cubes of apple, and a generous dollop of caviar. Even the side dishes are not to be sniffed at – one is a bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes, topped with rich Parmesan cream, crisps, and generous gratings of bottarga.

The other, which our charming waitress insists we try, is a miso aubergine – a fairly ubiquitous dish on London menus. This one, however, blows all others out of the water. The aubergine is perfectly tender and yet somehow holds its shape. The sauce is zingy with yuzu and the top artfully covered with tiny puffed rice pearls. This is a perfectly balanced dish, showcasing the talents and artfulness of the chef.

My main takeaway from Yopo is that these chefs are serving food that is not only clever but, more importantly, delicious. The restaurant is open to non-residents and I will definitely be going back.


At each stage, The Mandrake’s high design risks veering towards the pretentious, and yet, miraculously, it delivers on every count. The aesthetic is over the top but intentional, with art chosen from rotating resident artists and curated installations by muralists and illustrators.

A bedroom at The Mandrake

The Mandrake has 33 bedrooms, including three suites and a penthouse
(Image credit: The Mandrake)

The wellness offering is of the highest quality, and the food is out of this world. The overall impression is of a hotel designed with young people in mind, but with the sophistication and experience of a traditional five-star.

For those looking for a weekend of frivolous fun, relaxation, and exceptional food, this is the place for you.

Charley Daisy was a guest of The Mandrake. Rooms start from £391 per night. 20-21 Newman Street, London W1T 1PG;

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