Once the stomping ground of dandy-in-chief Oscar Wilde and his bohemian cohorts, the historic Half Moon Street in Mayfair is known for its white stucco townhouses, a stone’s throw away from Green Park. Wilde based his play, The Importance of Being Ernest, here and frequently propped up the bar at nearby establishments including Flemings Tavern and the Albemarle Club.
The street now hosts London’s smartest and most hotly anticipated new five-star residence, The Mayfair Townhouse. Clues to the area’s literary past are artfully referenced throughout this 'home-from-home', recognisable in the superfluous art collection and sophisticated cocktail menu. It is the fifth British outpost from Iconic Luxury Hotels, the group responsible for Cliveden House, Chewton Glen and 11 Cadogan Gardens.
Rooms & decor
To create the hotel, 15 Georgian townhouses were knocked into one by interior design firm Goddard Littlefair. The result is a charmingly off-kilter labyrinth of little doors and spindly, narrow stairs, as you seamlessly move from one townhouse to the next.
Curated by art specialist Minda Dowling, the hotel is stuffed full of art. A glittering peacock designed by Colombian artist Clarita Brinkerhoff is confidently displayed in the sparkly mirrored lobby, resplendent with 25,000 Swarovski crystals and nicknamed Alfie, after Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas – the British poet and writer who was famously Oscar Wilde’s lover.
There are 153 rooms and 19 suites, with elaborate headboards, velvet furnishings and opulent marble bathrooms with freestanding tubs. The Garden Suites each boast a leafy private courtyard – rare in central London – and are inspired by another British storyteller, Lewis Carroll.
Look out for Svetlana Melik-Nubarova’s humorous portraits of the fictional Renards, a wealthy Huguenot family dreamed up as the original residents of the townhouse. Renard translates from French to fox, the hotel’s mischievous mascot that pops up throughout the property – from the brass door knockers on the bedroom doors to the framed artwork hung in The Den, an intimate, punchy red enclave that is ideal for meetings during the day and cosy tête-à-têtes at night.
Food & drink
The hotel is anchored by The Dandy Bar, a glimmering, dark milieu of mirrors, leather banquettes, brass fixtures and glossy tabletops. A menu of upmarket comfort food – including sister hotel Chewton Glen’s famous lobster curry – is accompanied by a clever cocktail menu inspired by the area’s bohemian past. Concocted by head barman Pierpaolo Monaco, classic libations are given a flamboyant twist, like a negroni topped with a wafer-thin shard of white chocolate.
Breakfast is served below the main bar in the brightly painted club room, where shelves of antique books and cabinets of ornamental curios encourage you to linger over a menu of baked eggs, buttermilk pancakes or a traditional full English spread.
Guests can make use of one of the hotel’s bespoke umbrellas, each of which took four months to make and have an internal canopy featuring the townhouse’s fanciful butterfly and flower-strewn illustrations. For those wishing to arrive in style, meanwhile, a chauffeur service offers transfers in a Bentley Flying Spur with buttery soft beluga leather interiors.
Offering the ideal base from which to explore central London, The Mayfair Townhouse balances sophistication with more than a whiff of British eccentricity. Embrace your inner dandy and lap up the slick service, eclectic design and historic surrounds – Wilde and friends would certainly approve.
From £252 per night, 27-41 Half Moon Street, London W1J 7BG, themayfairtownhouse.com