Describing her favorite part of London, author and Mayfair resident, Tyne O’Connell, said, “It was here in Mayfair, that adjectives such as gracious, elegant, sophisticated and sublime trip off the tongue like coins into a parking meter.”
Mayfair is “posh” London. The affluent West End London area borough has been an upper-class playground since the 18th century. Its maze-like streets and storied arcades remain a favored shopping, eating, and socializing destination for the world’s elite. It’s the neighborhood recognized as the most expensive property square in the British version of a Monopoly game board.
For the steep prices it demands, Mayfair has a lot to offer in culture, cuisine, sophistication, and style.
While historic Mayfair hotels like Claridge’s and The Dorchester have pampered royal guests, for a sense of prestige, stay at The Ritz. Opened in 1906 as the first steel-framed building in London, this world-famous hotel is an unparalleled example of British refinement.
Steep in the tradition of an English afternoon tea in The Ritz’ glorious Palm Court, or dine under crystal chandeliers in the Michelin-starred Ritz restaurant led by Executive Chef, John Williams MBE.
Rooms at The Ritz feature antique period furniture and five-star service. The decadent Trafalgar Suite is decorated in colors representing Admiral Nelson’s victory over the combined Franco-Spanish fleet.
The glamour of The Ritz’ atmosphere is ironically entwined with England’s war history. Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, and Charles de Gaulle once talked World War II strategy in the elegant Marie Antoinette Suite.
Shepherd Market is considered to be the village center of Mayfair, but shoppers looking for the best high-end designer stores and exclusive boutiques head to Bond Street.
Armani, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton all have storefronts on Bond. Just behind Bond Street, is the covered Burlington Arcade, running from Piccadilly to Burlington Gardens, this handsome colonnade includes Chanel and Manolo Blahnik among its desirable upmarket retailers and high-fashion boutiques.
Collectors in the market for a rare Rolex or Patek Philippe should explore Armour-Winston, Bond street’s most trusted vintage watch supplier.
Mayfair Art and Culture
Two famous musicians lived on Brook Street in Mayfair. George Frederic Handel had a flat there, while Jimi Hendrix called the same place home more than 200 years later.
The Royal Academy of Arts is located in Burlington House and The Fine Art Society is one of many galleries on New Bond Street displaying both established and contemporary artists’ work for savvy collectors.
There is an abundance of fine dining options in Mayfair. The whimsical Sketch offers contemporary French and vegetarian fusion in a setting reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film.
Hours after Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, she became the first royal to eat in public at Quagliano’s (called “Quags” by locals) enjoying the upmarket Euro-style brasserie that always hosts a well-heeled clientele.
The upscale Nobu chain has locations in Dubai, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Mexico, but this Mayfair London location is a favorite of Kendall Jenner, Megan McKenna, and Matt Damon. Drake ate here after performing with Rihanna at the BRITS.
Celebrities love the low-calorie healthy Japanese food that Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is famous for.
Mayfair Member’s Clubs
One feature that makes Mayfair so exclusive is its high-volume of private members’ clubs. You have to be a member or get an invite to one of these opulent hangouts where celebrities and royalty sip cocktails on leather couches, enjoying the freedom found behind locked doors.
Morton’s private members’ club is a restaurant, lounge, and nightclub that offers a refined yet relaxed experience. The panoramic balcony provides beautiful views of Berkeley Square Gardens, while an art deco basement nightclub called 2&8 has a spacious dance floor, DJ booth and a bar, making it a perfect setting for fashion shows or deluxe parties.
Meghan Markle enjoyed a dinner recently at Little House, a private club opened by the Soho House group. This quiet house in Mayfair includes a restaurant, drawing room, and salon bar decorated with art by Taryn Simon and Jenny Holzer.
Visitors may bump into members Keira Knightley or James Corden enjoying the “subversively casual” atmosphere that is trademark here.
With the dust settling from the Brexit decision, London real estate is ramping up. Many historic Mayfair properties are enjoying a contemporary redressing these days as the resident profile trends younger.
Rap and style icon of the moment, A$AP Rocky bought a flat in Mayfair because unlike most of the places he goes, “they don’t know who I am over there, they don’t care about me that’s why I love it.”
Twenty Grosvenor Square, a Four Seasons Private Residence, will be complete this summer. The building will offer 37 private residences including 3 luxury penthouses.
This world-class development will combine the comforts of home with the 24-hour concierge, valet services, and amazing amenities that characterize the Four Seasons.
With its established Victorian wealth mingling with the recent influx of the young elite, the grand squares of Mayfair stand to remain the symbol of posh London living.