Picture the scene. You’re rowing across an undersea lagoon in the direction of a mysterious island. Once you disembark, you forage through a diamond mine before descending into a hidden cocktail tavern staffed by mythical creatures.
But you’re not in the midst of a particularly trippy dream – you’re in a shopping centre in west London.
From early December, guests will be able to take part in Beyond The Waterfall, a “unique immersive and multi-sensory experience” at The Village, Westfield London’s luxury precinct.
After venturing across a 20m lagoon on small boats, passing through a real waterfall en route, you’ll arrive on the ‘shore’ of a mythical island – in reality designed, built and decorated by a team of theatrical prop makers, structural engineers and mining consultants.
An exploration of an Aladdin’s Cave filled with dazzling gemstones follows, before you head to the focal point of any worthwhile experience: the cocktail bar.
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Inspired by myths and legends of the sea including the sea-god Glaucas, the bar will be staffed by “mermen mixologists” to whip you up a drink from a bespoke marine-inspired cocktail list. (It’s not yet clear how the mermen will stand up behind the bar, given that they don’t have legs, but we’re sure they’ll manage somehow.)
Ingredients in the cocktail tavern’s deep sea drinks cabinet include distillates made with undersea botanicals and minerals – promising “psychological, emotional and physiological reactions”.
Writers and artists from Aeschylus to Ezra Pound have been inspired by the story of the Greek god Glaucas, who was born a mortal human but metamorphosed into an immortal sea-creature after eating a magical herb. Talk about having a physiological reaction.
“Christmas is obviously a magical time of year but many people find it hugely predictable so we’ve designed a radical new form of escapism that still evokes the emotions and nostalgia of the season,” says Harry Parr, partner of Bompas & Parr, who are behind the Beyond the Waterfall experience.
“The group activity draws people together, with a real sense of discovery and emotion associated with gift-giving and an indulgent treat at its heart.”
Beyond the Waterfall opens at Westfield London on Friday 9 December and runs until Friday 23 December. Tickets are £15, including the experience and two cocktails, and can be purchased in advance here or on the door.