Susannah Taylor took her children to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park for the ultimate family sleepover
I don’t do kiddy pampering – I don’t have their hair cut in swanky salons, buy them toys on demand or dress them up like pretty dolls. The idea of my children becoming mini divas horrifies me and if I ever get a whiff of any foot stamping, I quash it fast.
However, when I was invited to take my family for an overnight stay at the super swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park for the Little BU and Little Beau Sleep Over - a night of petite pampering and tiny treats - I simply couldn’t resist. For one night only we parents could play at being uber rich and the kids could play at being pop star princes and princesses. I would just cross my fingers and hope they didn’t demand the same sort of treatment when we got home.
Jaws hit the floor when we were shown to our suite, palatial interconnecting rooms lined with cream drapes, ornate mantelpieces and glass lamps. The children immediately used the outrageously large bed with cream covers as a giant trampoline, (the super smiley hospitable staff didn’t appear to mind or if they did they left their cursing until they left the room), whilst my husband and I sipped champagne. Bella my daughter was then treated to a Little BU mini-mani by a top manicurist which she loved (like mother like daughter). Little BU is a great brand of non-toxic children’s nail varnishes that wash off with water - perfect for easy removal if they have to go to school the next day. Oscar meanwhile was drawn like Pooh Bear to a honeypot by an enormous ‘Harrods Cirque de Sweet’ bucket of marshmallows, sherbert and chocolate that was enough to give a dentist a heart attack.
Next came a knock at the door – kiddy room service! Complete with popcorn, smoothies (the menu said milkshakes but I reckoned we needed to get some fruit in somewhere), plus a DVD of their choice. After bathing the kids with the set of all-natural Childs Farm shampoos and bubble bath, I was tempted to snuggle up in that amazing bed and watch Madagascar for the tenth time, but instead my husband and I left our sugar-high kids to a babysitter while we went down to Bar Boulud for a fantastic dinner and a few too many White Cosmopolitan cocktails. (There’s also the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurant but that was fully booked.)
One of the best things about the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (apart from the award-winning spa - try the Aroma Shell Relax treatment from £155 which uses heated lava shells) is its incredible location. We spent the next day at the Natural History Museum (there’s also the Science Museum and V&A if you’re having an educational surge), and then Harrods’ toy department. As we slumped into the back of a cab on our way to Marylebone station, children’s heads lolling on our shoulders, we knew they’d had a truly memorable experience.
Thankfully the mini diva treatment didn’t make it home with us – well the mini manis, maybe, but the popcorn on a silver platter I can’t quite live up to.
Prices for The Suite Little BU and Master Beau Sleep Over start from £745, www.mandarinoriental.com