“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” The cherished words and chronicles of Irish wit and poet, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde have played a sacred hand in inspiring one of Mayfair’s new-fangled and high-brow pedigree additions to the luxe hotel society, The Mayfair Townhouse.
Doused in exuberant history inside a listed Georgian setting, I was invited for a 24-hour Mecca of sybaritic eccentricity, gastronomic comforts and decadent flamboyance, where Wilde and his bosom companions would be swooning with euphoric jubilation.
The Mayfair Townhouse serves as the fifth highborn outpost in the Iconic Luxury Hotels highly heralded UK portfolio. It sits alongside its powerfully fabled sibling establishments such as the 19th Century 11 Cadogan Gardens, not of course neglecting the scandalously beguiling, 1666 born grandeur of Cliveden House.
The Wilde ingenuity began before even setting foot inside the Mayfair Townhouse. The hotel rests with winsome poise minutes away from Green Park station in the one time boho alley of Mayfair’s Half Moon Street, which also was the raucous bachelor playground and residence to Oscar Wilde’s character, Algernon Moncrieff from The Importance of Being Earnest.
Goddard Littlefair were at the helm of the design reins, breathing in a melodious orchestrate of the hotel’s 1730s Georgian soul, laced with a contemporary and sprightly tempo. Stepping under the black metal canopy brandishing colourful vibrant flags bearing the hotel’s and Iconic Luxury brand names, I entered the marble floored lobby and reception, which unearthed a provocatively dusky colour scheme of antique gold, black and cream, elevated with the intricate trappings of crystal lanterns, mirrored ceilings and brass Alabaster lamps.
To the left of the reception sat the concierge desk headed by Dianna Bera, one of the few women in the world to hold Les Clefs d’Or (The Golden Keys) – an association of the top hotel concierges in the world.
It was a matter of moments before I had my first of many dealings with the hotel’s mascot, the cavalier fox on the reception desk handpicked to celebrate its wit and rebellious streak to prevail both the concrete city boulevards, and emerald green country landscapes.
In celebration of Half Moon Street’s Victorian heritage as the coveted haunt for the city’s spirited artists, an abundance of mythological like paintings swathed the flawless lobby walls by British photo artist, Miss Aniela, all carefully selected by art specialist, Minda Dowling. The collection – Surreal Fashion – infused the glamour of fashion with unearthly mysticism, where arresting beauties were portrayed in magnificent couture and enchanting backdrops such as Belvoir Castle, which invites guests into the more modern, yet equally fascinating realm of art to leave one spellbound.
As the impeccably courteous reception team completed the check in process with swift meticulous precision, the concierge were set to lead me to my residence, when I was stopped in my tracks and left goggling by Alfie, a shimmering crystal encrusted peacock with whom I was deeply assured I would be better acquainted with during the evening regale.
The hotel’s luxuriant décor and priceless antique colour palette concocted an indulgent theatrical vision of being let loose inside a colossal bejewelled treasure box, leaving me ever-more curious for the next hedonic adventures I was to encounter in these 24 hours.
15 townhouses had been knocked and sculpted to create the Mayfair Townhouse, which now serves up a collection of 153 elegantly practical rooms and 19 unique suites to play host to their distinguished guests.
The ever so charming hosts guided me through the lopsided corridors reigniting my childhood rabbit hole fantasies, as we passed an entanglement of charming little doors all bearing, once again, the fox mascot in the form of golden metal hooks of the finest intricacy.
My home from home for the night saw me inside the tranquil grandeur of the garden suite. The room unearths a colour scheme true to its botanical name in hues of jewel green, white and beige, fitted with 40 sqm of dark wood furnishings, rope like basket lighting, and a sweeping king size bed with a copy of Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest by the bedside.
The marbled bathroom dressed top to bottom in crisp, pristine white offered a freestanding deep bath, in which the allure of a luxuriant hot soak slathered with luxe toiletries by Noble Isle proved futile to fight. Also on hand were his and hers sinks, and a separate walk in rain shower.
The spotlight moment shines bright on the suite’s crowning glory of the delightful private patio courtyard, accessed via the room’s raised seating area. Simple yet tasteful sprung to mind, with minimal fuss décor and vibrant greenery cascading around the fencing. To savour an ice chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot and artisan macaroons in peaceful outdoor surroundings within the hustle and bustle of the city tends to be a scarce indulgence, and one I savoured whole-heartedly basking in the rays, elevated further with a selection of dandy candy, snacks and beverages from the complimentary minibar.
No rooms are the same inside this whimsical premises. The gorgeousness of the signature penthouse suites bedecked in sapphire blue furnishing, and bespoke umbrellas with a kaleidoscope of rainbow butterflies unveils dramatic views overlooking Shepherds Market, whilst the simple supremacy of the bijou cream walled cabin rooms are by no means inferior. They come equipped with the present day mod cons, workspace and complimentary goods, making it the perfect setting for the solo staycationer.
Food and drink
Sending hearts a flutter is the aptly titled Dandy Bar, serving as a salute to the prodigal dandys who’ve painted this neighbourhood red through their hedonistic Mayfair lifestyles.
Art Deco saloon meets luxury members’ club rang into my perception, sprinkled with a dab of west end quirkiness with the theatricals of dim light settings, gleaming table tops with brass fixtures, and cobra black leather tufted banquettes alongside the added sparkle of mirrored glass ceilings. The luminescent display of the cocktail bar with crystal shards, showcased a backlit display of vintage tipples which would have kept Oscar Wilde in a joyous, intoxicated state of mind.
The contents of the cocktail menu were thrilling, curated with a unique avant-garde theme and shunning the done to death, sickly sweet concoctions of an espresso or pornstar martini. My first concoction of the autumn blossom set the tone for the evening, with the sweet delicate aromas of Belvedere jasmine blending deliciously with the ripe, delicate fruity notes from the Rinquinquin peach wine, and rounded off with a splash of tart, ruby red rhubarb syrup.
With the night descending into a high octane mode, I strolled back to the reception to reconvene from my brief check in encounter, over a cocktail with Alfie the Peacock. The name acts as a bow to Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas, a poet, prose writer, and most famously, the intimate friend and lover of Wilde. Standing tall and statuesque at 67 inches, Alfie makes for a magnolious vision resplendent with a peacock feathered tail, and 25,000 Swarovski crystals in various blue, green and gold shades, and remains at your five-star service to meet, greet and bedazzle with his glittering beauty.
My attentions soon turned to the delights of the cuisine affair. Not one to follow the Mayfair crowd with yet another Michelin rival, the Mayfair Townhouse shuns the traditional old age rulebook in favour of an all day dining concept, serving up traditional yet upscale, home style comforts to their luxury nomads.
The small plate of piping hot Arancini balls oozed with a myriad of gooey mozzarella, with the richness toned down by the sweet earthy Padron peppers, freshly charred with nutty hints. The Portland crab with avocado proved a winner evident by the clear plate, with flakes of meaty firm crab enlivened with the smoky heat from the chipotle mayonnaise, and served on a helping of crispy wholemeal toast.
Making its mark in the mains selection was the lobster curry, made famous by the group’s country bumpkin, Chewton Glen. The solid chunks of tender lobster melted in the mouth, bathed in a creamy velvet-like base of Thai spiced curry served with rice aromatic with fragrant nutty sweet notes of rich coconut milk. Meanwhile, the juicy cut of dry aged rib-eye served with crisp golden fries, sliced like butter through the knife and was cooked to medium rare perfection.
Breakfast is served in the radiant surroundings of the club room, where mint green walls were lined top to toe with unconventional art pieces, and rose red cabinets loaded with treasured ornamental trinkets and priceless antique books. Guest can savour a healthy kick start of chia seed puddings and homemade muffins, or a more indulgent affair of the Townhouse English Breakfast which came served with premium, locally sourced pork and leek sausages, and ripe slow cooked confit tomatoes. The Townhouse favourite of the buttermilk pancakes was a compulsory must try, delicate and fluffy enveloped in a warm sea of dark and buttery maple syrup.
The hotel’s fitness suite comes fitted with the state-of-the-art Technogym gadgets, from the Technogym Excite Live Run, Kinesis wall to essential dumbbells and kettlebells. After getting your sweats on, the Dandy Bar remains at your disposal with a delicious protein fuelled menu for the ultimate rejuvenation session.
When it comes to business or pleasure, the dapper quarantine of the lower ground floor provides an abundance of eccentrically voguish connecting spaces for up to 100 guests. Whether a champagne soirée in the red walled harbour of The Den adorned with countless fox motifs, or the sleek seclusion of Oscar’s Study equipped with a 55-inch mirrored TV for that ‘meeting of the minds’, The Mayfair Townhouse lives to play host to your agenda.
In a nutshell
The Mayfair Townhouse has flourished in their mission to override this neighbourhood’s pretentious chi-chi stigma, with an offering that exudes ravishing unorthodox grandiose, interweaved with a humble and demure aura.
This was evidently implanted into the staff hosting teams, all of whom personified the essence of the capital’s gilt-edged postcode; discerning and polished with golden pins from Alexander Mcqueen’s final collection attached to their lapels, but with an added dash of sass and a vivacious wit, which made them all a pleasure to engage with in numerous chits chats and wisecracks.
For guests seeing an escapade encompassing British swagger with historic chronicles, which would attain Wilde’s animated nod of approval, The Mayfair Townhouse invites you to unleash that voluptuous inner Dandy within you.
Book a double room from £252, year-round and enjoy breakfast from £20. Wi-Fi is free and dogs are welcome.
Address: 27-41 Half Moon St, London, W1J 7BG
Telephone: 0208 138 3400