The May Fair Hotel – Luxury Retreat in London’s West End

If you’ve any doubts that North America’s Black Friday officially hit the UK this year, you weren’t in London’s West End around November 28.

Oxford Street descended into a shopping free-for-all under twinkling Christmas lights; Piccadilly Circus was, well, like Piccadilly Circus— chaotic, noisy and rammed; and although the high-end retailers Harrods and Harvey Nichols eschewed desperately slashing prices, the swell of bargain hunters even spilled over into their usually uncongested aisles.

I’d just elbowed my way round Fortnum & Mason — nothing can keep me from their Club Blend Coffee — when I realized I might clobber someone with my Osprey handbag if I didn’t escape the Christmas craziness. It was high time to check in at The May Fair Hotel.

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The Hotel

Through the front doors of The May Fair Hotel lies a whole different world, one where the word “stressed” never passes your lips. This oasis of calm among the West End’s lively bars, theatres and restaurants, oozes a sense of serenity that only comes with consistently exceptional service.

You’d never know this 5-star hotel was first opened in 1927 by King George V; there’s nothing stuffy or old-fashioned about it. With contemporary décor and attentive but low-key staff, the May Fair delivers everything its high-end guest’s desire.

It will come as no surprise that the May Fair is the official hotel of the London Fashion Week. Outside is style central, with Savile Row close by as well as the flagship stores of Vivienne Westward and Stella McCartney. Although the temptation is to shop, the frenzy on the streets had me checking in on the stroke of 3.30 pm when check-in opened.

The Bedroom

“You’re going to love the room”, purred Zeynep Ipek Kalkavan, the May Fair’s charming Guest Relations Manager, as she handed me a glass of watermelon-infused water. “All our guests rave about it.”

Well, Zeynep, you were right; the Deluxe bedroom ticked all the right boxes.

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Spacious, tastefully decorated and with an impossibly comfortable king-sized bed, the room has everything a weary traveler needs to recuperate before exploring London. The Japanese-style screen doors slide back to reveal a Sicilian marble bathroom with stand-alone bathtub. And if you’re visiting in the summer, some rooms come with a terrace too.

Since I was there on the frosty end of November, I didn’t need a terrace. But I could have happily spent the night under the plush duvet, flicking through the 400+ channels on the wide-screen TV, while guiltily gorging on complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries.

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May Fair Kitchen

With so many outstanding restaurants, this is a part of London in which to feed your inner foodie. But not without first sampling the remarkable restaurant right off the lobby.

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As you’re shown to your table in May Fair Kitchen, seafood lovers will likely clock the seafood bar piled high with everything from lobster to oysters. The sight certainly had me sold on dining there. The menu offers numerous treats for meat-eaters and vegetarians too.

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The open-kitchen design lets you watch the talented chefs at work and adds a delightfully theatrical feel to your dinner. All produce is sourced straight from the producer and served at peak freshness – an ethos you can really taste in the food.

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May Fair Bar

Across the lobby, May Fair Bar is a popular spot for pre or post-dinner drinks. The cool, almost minimalist décor, efficient service and perfect spots for a little privacy make this bar a regular haunt for celebrities.

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Sipping my martini at the bar, while feeling a little shabby in comparison to the uber-stylish crowd, I was suitably impressed by the extensive cocktail menu. May Fair Bar serves over 40 signature drinks blended by expert mixologists.

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It was busy for a Sunday. At the bar, a group of Americans savored a glass of fine Scotch; the tables were mostly occupied by couples sharing a bottle of wine, while a cool crowd of West End socialites sipped champagne beside the fire. Perhaps it was a celebration that heralded bubbly on a Sunday or perhaps it’s the norm in the West End. Either way, I could certainly get used to evenings at the May Fair.

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The May Fair Hotel Stratton Street, London, W1J 8LT, United Kingdom Tel: +44 207 769 4041 Fax: +44 20 7493 0244 Website: www.themayfairhotel.co.uk/

Charlotte Claxton

Charlie is a freelance writer who specialises in travel, luxury and food. Having earned her chops as a staff writer for international travel brands and digital marketing companies, she now writes for freelance clients and runs her own travel blog. Charlie grew up in London and has since lived in Canada and Australia. She currently writes from various cafés, hammocks and beaches as she travels the world, bringing LuxeInACity readers first-hand insight into the best luxury experiences worldwide. Get to know Charlie better at www.charlieclaxtonwrites.com