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A long, dark entrance tunnel pumping out shamanic mixes by French sound engineer Pierre-Arnaud Alunni is merely the second hint you’ve arrived to an unorthodox place. The first, of course, being the hotel’s name: Mandrake, a hallucinogenic Mediterranean plant. One has to wonder if Beirut-born owner Rami Fustok took a few nibbles of it before conceptualizing this multisensory 34-room stay in London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood. Tapping into his inner Guillermo del Toro, Fustok teamed up with his interior designer sister, Tala, to bring his vision to life inside the erstwhile Royal Institute of British Architects. Some of the surrealist art pieces scattered around the social spaces and guest rooms were plucked from Fustok’s personal collection, while others were site-specific commissions, including a taxidermied impala-peacock hybrid by Enrique Gomez de Molina above the bar; a “floating” steel-and-Jesmonite Lara Bohinc chandelier inspired by the stalactite of a cave, presiding over the lobby; and portraits by Francesco Clemente adorning the walls of French restaurant Serge et le Phoque, an outpost of the Michelin-starred original in Hong Kong. There’s also an artist-in-residence program whose current occupant, muralist PJ de Villiers, will paint your clothes if you’d like. The hotel’s name is no gimmick. Head to the verdant atrium bar Jurema, where landscape architects Bureau Bas Smets have strung jasmine and passion flowers around cabanas and a greenhouse filled with medicinal flora. What to order? A plant-based cocktail, no doubt. Try the She-Devil, a blend of brandy, rhubarb cordial, Campari, a douse of champagne, and sea buckthorn tincture.



20-21 Newman Street
London
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