The Mayfair Townhouse is one of London’s newest and most impressive hotels, taking up almost an entire block of Georgian houses on Half Moon Street. This is where Oscar Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest, and where Robbie Ross, one of Wilde’s many lovers, lived.
The hotel’s designers have taken their inspiration from Wilde, his fellow dandies, and their bohemian lifestyle, creating a playground to please even the most demanding of contemporary aesthetes.
The Mayfair Townhouse is a hotel for those who, like the dandies, appreciate the finer things in life. If you have an eye for surrealist art, can quote from poetry and 19th-century plays, favour cocktails dreamed up before you, and delight in gossip and the whiff of scandal, this is the place for you. Leave the kids at home and prepare for a weekend of decadence.
Enter The Mayfair Townhouse and you would be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped inside one of London’s swankiest boutique hotels. But looks can be deceiving: the architects have in fact joined 15 terraced houses together, creating a large, 170 room property. Seven of the townhouses are listed buildings, and preserving their quirky original features was a worthwhile challenge: the resulting hotel has plenty of character, and all of the guest rooms are different.
The hotel is rightly proud of its art collection, and there’s a selection of intriguing images in every room. They are accompanied by bold statement pieces of furniture and sumptuous textiles: the silks, velvets, and rich brocades create exactly the kind of interiors that Wilde and his lovers would have adored. Every room comes with a complimentary minibar filled with soft drinks and snacks.
If you have the budget to really splash out, book one of The Mayfair Townhouse’s suites. The Garden Suite boasts its own patio, an unrivalled luxury in this part of London.
Food and drink
The Mayfair’s management took the bold decision not to have a signature restaurant. Why should they, when some of the capital’s best places to dine are just a few minutes’ walk away? Instead, the hotel has a spacious breakfast area; smaller rooms that can be booked for private dining, meetings, and other intimate events; and the appropriately named The Dandy Bar.
The Dandy Bar is effortlessly cool. It has the feel of fin de siecle Paris, and a cocktail menu which even gives Dukes a run for its money. You can, of course, order a glass of Champagne or a classic cocktail, but it is so much more fun to ask the bartender to whip you up something fabulous. At this time of year, you can’t go wrong with the Autumn Blossom: jasmine-infused Belvedere vodka, Rinquinquin peach wine, lemon, and rhubarb bitters.
You might well get peckish as you sip; The Mayfair Townhouse is ready for that. The light bar menu has some mouthwatering snacks, plus antipasto, sandwiches, and a few more substantial dishes. The menu frequently changes.
The hotel’s lower ground floor is a superb entertaining space, suitable for all manner of stylish events. Host a salon, a book launch, a film showing, or a cocktail party for 100: the rooms can easily be reconfigured, and the staff will pull out all the stops to make it unforgettable.
The Oscar Wilde Society has already hosted a meeting here, so that’s the kind of company you’ll keep.
Rooms at The Mayfair Townhouse start from £252 per night. Suites start from £660 per night.
Within two minutes of leaving the hotel, you can be on Picadilly. This makes The Mayfair Townhouse the ideal base for a weekend of exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Art, strolling in Green Park, and a night at the theatre in the West End. Shopaholics will be glad to hear that the designer boutiques of Bond Street, Burlington Arcade, and Regent Street are within easy reach, as are the bespoke tailors of Saville Row.
You don’t have to be a dandy to appreciate The Mayfair Townhouse, but if you love everything theatrical then you are going to have a ball. Treat yourself, dress up, and spend a night in style.