When it comes to experiencing a taste of luxury in London, few areas do it better than upmarket Mayfair. Named after a 17th-century springtime fete that was once held in the locality, this affluent central London neighbourhood is renowned for its opulent hotels, restaurants and bars, and is often frequented by the wealthy is search of an upmarket evening out in the capital or an indulgent splurge in its wealth of designer shops.
Home to a number of exclusive private members’ clubs, including Annabel’s and The Arts Club, you’d be hard pressed to find anything here that isn’t incredibly lavish. There’s a reason Mayfair is the most sought-after acquisition on the Monopoly board – and one of the most expensive, too.
Whether you’re planning a visit to the capital, or simply planning on venturing away from your usual haunts in Chelsea and Fulham, there is plenty to experience in this opulent neck of the woods. So, to help you get the best out of Mayfair and enjoy a truly exclusive experience, we’ve pulled together a luxury guide of the best hotels, shops, restaurants and bars.
Where to stay
For opulent hotel digs if you’re just visiting, the famous and historic Ritz London is a must. Established in London back in 1906, it continues to excel in its attention to detail, and offers a luxurious and authentically British experience.
The Dukes Hotel – otherwise known as Dukes London – allows guests to step back in time in this majestic building that was built by Henry VIII in the sixteenth century. An exclusive retreat favoured by writers, musicians and even royalty, it offers a true taste of British history – and, with champagne afternoon teas and butler service on offer, it is at the cutting edge of luxury stays.
Where to eat
Mayfair is a haven for foodies, offering up more Michelin-star dining options than any other district. The cream of the crop has to be The Araki – a former three-starred restaurant headed up by Mitsuhiro Araki and offering high-quality, beautifully presented sushi in an intimate restaurant that seats just nine.
For champagne afternoon tea and all-day dining, head to the Dukes Hotel where you can enjoy a quintessentially English experience in its lavish GBR restaurant. Menus are overseen by Norfolk-born executive head chef Nigel Mendham, and feature traditional British dishes with a contemporary twist.
Gymkhana is a popular spot for those in search of quality Indian cuisine. Inspired by the elite clubs of India, where members of high-society eat, drink and play sport, it has retained a Michelin star awarded to it back in 2014 for the past six years – and with good reason.
Where to shop
For some of the best high-fashion designer stores, head to New Bond Street. With a plethora of extravagant boutiques and big-name fashion houses to choose from, you can certainly expect to find yourself spoilt for choice.
From the Victorian-era Royal and Burlington shopping arcades, to the bespoke tailors on Saville Row, Mayfair is a place to shop for high quality – but you can expect to pay a princely sum for the privilege, in a place where only the best will do.
Luxury perfumeries and jewellery shops offer a decadent experience where you can expect to be treated like royalty. Try the Avery Perfume Gallery, Jovoy Mayfair or Penhaligons for the best in upmarket fragrances.
Charbonnel et Walker is a great stop for beautiful, handmade chocolates, while Turmeaus Cigars and Whisky has a gentleman’s club feel and offers up a range of high-end gift choices the man in your life will love.
Where to drink
You’ll never come up short when seeking out a luxurious place to enjoy an evening drink. Mayfair is awash with trendy cocktail bars and elegant wine bars – with Mr. Fogg’s Residence and The Connaught some of the highlights.
Meanwhile, the internationally acclaimed Dukes Bar serves up legendary martinis in an intimate space that tells a thousand stories, with a world class bartender and mixologist on hand to whip you up your favourite tipple in minutes.
For nightlife, head to Mahiki – a trendy club known for its classy cocktails as well as the celebrity crowd it attracts, including Prince Harry and Beyonce.
Image credit at the very top of the article: chrisimages/Bigstock.com