Tucked at the end of Half Moon Street in one of London’s most expensive neighborhoods is new boutique hotel, The Mayfair Townhouse. Despite its unassuming facade (which won’t give you any clues to the fact the hotel occupies almost half the street), the Mayfair Townhouse is a bold and quirky hotel that is unafraid of putting its stamp on the area, offering delectable food and drinks, luxurious guest rooms and a splash of Victorian London glamor. We step through the looking glass to find out more about London’s newest townhouse hotel.
The Mayfair Townhouse owes its playful yet sophisticated interior design to London based design studio, Goddard Littlefair. The studio is well versed in luxury hospitality design – previous projects include the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Villa Copenhagen and Hilton Vienna Park – and for Mayfair Townhouse, Goddard Littlefair has created interiors with timeless appeal, blending contemporary design elements with nods to the hotel’s heritage – and a few extra quirks along the way.
“This was a Hilton previously, all the historic details were gone,” explains the studio’s co-founder, Martin Goddard. “It had no personality. The first thing we asked was, what’s the DNA of the project? The location is completely unique; we wanted to discover what the street was like in its heyday, who the people were living here at the time.” It was with this in mind that Goddard Littlefair settled on “the new era of the Dandy”, the most famous of these being Oscar Wilde.
However, as Goddard says, “[overdoing] it would have been an easy trap to fall into.” Instead of outlandish references, the nods to the Dandies are more subtle, whether it’s the bold colour scheme, the gold accents or the peacock motif – which starts with the statement five-foot-tall peacock sculpture covered in over 25,000 Swarovski crystals, set right at the entrance to the hotel. “The peacock is a show-off, it’s the Dandy of the animal world”, says Goddard.
A statement five-foot-tall peacock sculpture sits right at the entrance to the hotel / ©Mel Yates, Goddard Littlefair
The fox is most visible in the Den or “Foxy Snug” / ©Adam Link, Goddard Littlefair
There is also quilted detailing on much of the furniture, which Goddard explains is “a call to a smoking jacket.” The Dandies’ clothing played an important part in the studio’s inspiration, helping them discover another touchpoint for the hotel: the surprise and intrigue of Alice in Wonderland. “Who does the most famous waistcoat in the world belong to? The white rabbit in Alice and Wonderland,” says Goddard. “That thought helped develop the idea of ‘going down the rabbit hole’ to the public spaces on the lower floor.”
Also prominent throughout the design is the “Crafty Fox”, which acts as a totem and knocker on all the Townhouse’s guest room doors. The fox is most visible in the Den or “Foxy Snug” – a cosy private meeting room on the hotel’s lower floor, with a vibrant red colour scheme and walls adorned with paintings and images of foxes. “I love these paintings and drawings,” says Goddard, “and the red follows through to the other spaces, like a touchpoint you can keep coming back to.”
The Garden Suites open out into their own small courtyards / ©Adam Link, Goddard Littlefair
Across its 15 townhouses – seven of which are listed – the Mayfair Townhouse has a total of 172 guest rooms. Despite this large number, the hotel easily maintains its boutique charm, thanks to its playful décor and its twisting, turning corridors; like a rabbit warren, they move, rise and fall as the townhouses merge into each other.
Unusually, the Mayfair Townhouse starts its room categories with rooms that are styled for the single traveler. Called the Cabin Rooms, these cosy spaces are accessed by their own sets of stairs and featured double beds, en-suite bathrooms and a bold blue and gold colour scheme. In the more spacious Classic Rooms, there are king-sized beds and larger bathrooms, still with the same attention to detail throughout the design.
At the other end of the Mayfair Townhouse’s offering are a collection of suites; some are similar to Classic Rooms but have the addition of their own separate living areas and bathtubs in the grand marble bathrooms. Others, like the Skylight Suite and the Garden Suites, are a cut above the rest: the Skylight Suite features a separate vanity room, a lounge area and a large skylight that pours natural light into the space. Meanwhile, the Garden Suites open out into their own small courtyards, allowing guests to enjoy an oasis of calm greenery and an escape from the bustling city.
The beating heart of the Mayfair Townhouse is the Dandy Bar. Set slightly back from the lobby, the lights of the Dandy Bar pull you in – as guests enter the building, it will be one of the first things they notice. Inspired by the real Dandies of Victorian London, the Dandy Bar features mirrored ceilings, a statement bar, comfortable and sleek furniture and gold accents that make the space truly dazzling.
There is an all-day food menu at the Dandy Bar with small plates such as truffle arancini balls and Jerusalem artichoke croquettes and some signature main dishes from the Iconic Luxury Hotels group (of which the Mayfair Townhouse is a part), including the spectacular lobster curry. All produce is sourced as locally as possible to lower food miles, with the guest room mini-bars featuring local, artisan products and a zero-plastic policy. Despite the curated food offering, the Dandy Bar’s main pull is its drinks offering, with an extensive wine list and statement cocktails such as the Mr Bosie (named for Oscar Wilde’s lover) and The Casanova taking centre stage.
The beating heart of the Mayfair Townhouse is the Dandy Bar / ©Mel Yates, Goddard Littlefair
The walls of the Den are adorned with paintings and images of foxes / ©Mel Yates, Goddard Littlefair
Dining is also available downstairs in the Club Room, a large dining space with streaks of red, reminiscent of a library with shelves of books and boxes of butterflies (the Den can be found tucked beside the Club Room). It’s also in here that breakfast is served, which includes a buffet of continental and cooked food as well as an a la carte menu – we recommend the pancake: a delicious, fluffy single cake that felt like eating dessert for breakfast. The Mayfair Townhouse also has a sophisticated private dining room for events, parties and intimate get-togethers.
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When staying at the Mayfair Townhouse the whole of London is in reach; all manner of activities are only a taxi ride or walk away, including shopping, museums, galleries, restaurants and bars. Green Park and Hyde Park are also on the doorstep for those who want a stroll through nature, or to experience true English countryside, Victoria and Paddington train stations are nearby too.
If the amount of choice is overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin, or if you’re interested in discovering the latest and greatest hidden gems in the city, speak to head concierge Dianna Bera. Bera is one of the few women who hold Les Clefs d’Orm (the Golden Keys), making her the person to speak to about any request or recommendation.
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Rates for Classic Rooms start from $436. Visit themayfairtownhouse.com for details.