Hotel review: Flemings Mayfair, London
Flemings Mayfair was founded in 1851. During that summer – if you had taken an omnibus along London’s Knightsbridge you would have seen an astounding sight – shimmering among the trees was a glass palace, like something out of Arabian Nights.
This was the Crystal Palace, home to the Great Exhibition, which was attracting millions to Britain’s first international exhibition.
The boutique London hotel was converted from six Georgian townhouses on Half Moon Street. Founded by Robert Fleming a ‘private hotel keeper’ from Surrey, who took advantage of the vast crowds then thronging to the streets of London – visitors from around the globe were converging on this fashionable district to witness the wonders of the Great Exhibition, then being held at Hyde Park.
The history of Half Moon Street takes you on a kaleidoscopic tour at the heart of London during the reign of Queen Victoria. The street has been a favourite jaunt with royalty, aristocrats, politicians, actors and the fashionable denizens of Mayfair. The Bavarian actress, Lola Montez, was arrested for bigamy in Half Moon Street.
The four-star 129-room hotel is a stone’s throw away from Green Park, Piccadilly and quaint restaurants and pubs of Shepherd Market. The city’s bourgeois social elite once considered this charming square and piazza London’s most fashionable district in the 1920s. The writer Michael Arlen used Shepherd Market as the setting for his best-selling 1924 novel The Green Hat. The book later went on to become a Broadway hit and film starring Greta Garbo. The square, which dates back to 1735, attracts a more diverse crowd now and is definitely worth visiting.
Flemings Mayfair is a quintessentially British hotel in one of London’s most exclusive districts in the heart of Mayfair. The luxury hotel underwent a major sprucing up last year by having 50 of its rooms refurbished by London-based Suna Interior Design. And the result is tremendous. Luxury design with opulence and punches of colour combined with humour.
The personality of the hotel is celebrated through the bespoke furnishings of the rooms by the creation of unique, Flemings’ labelled cushions to the bespoke wallpaper highlighting key London attractions, the Penny Black wallpaper and also Vivienne Westwood’s tartan paper, maintaining the quintessentially British heritage of the hotel. Quirky touches include dog portraits in gilded frames.
Oliver Brown, general manager of Flemings said: “Each one of the 50 guest rooms is unique. Our rooms appeal to guests who don’t want the ‘one size fits all’ you get from big brands, and instead want personality and individuality. The attention to detail of the team here is reflected in the new rooms. Every guest receives something unique and special at Flemings, which starts from a warm greeting on a arrival, to relaxing in their newly-designed bedroom.”
As soon as you enter the hotel you are transported from the chaos and dirt of London into a high-octane glamorous environment. The lobby with its low ceiling, marble floors and fresh flowers is welcoming – you get the impression you have entered a posh townhouse – and not a London hotel.
The staff at the hotel are extremely attentive, friendly and always smiling. After the check-in formalities I’m escorted to my room. I had been upgraded to the ‘Tree Room’, which was a lovely surprise. The room has been executed to a high standard and is totally unique. The full wall photographic image of a tree in the room was sourced and works in context, to expand the room, while punches of colour add life. The room was a good size and I really liked the bespoke cushions by Charlene Mullen and the delicious home-baked biscuits – a lovely touch. The bed has to be the largest bed I have slept in a hotel – it was colossal and very comfortable. The bathroom in the hotel had not been updated but did come with an oversized bathtub and luxury White Company toiletries.
In addition, the boutique London hotel offers independent luxury residences that can be booked for longer stays and would be ideal for families looking for privacy and seclusion. These 10 residences come in one, two and three bedrooms and are the epitome of opulence and contemporary design. There’s also a penthouse apartment, which can be accessed by its own private lift. They offer a stylish design and relaxed atmosphere in a delightful setting, a nice alternative to staying in a hotel. The Austen apartment in the hotel has been designed by Suna Interior Design and comes with designer kitchen, lounge, private entrance and quirky interior design.
The Grill Restaurant
Later that evening I made my way to the restaurant, which can be found on the lower ground floor. This award-winning restaurant with its dim lighting, contemporary mirrored ceiling and plush seating is a very glamorous affair. The cocktail bar, which is located in the room next door, features cobalt blue interiors, Murano glass chandeliers and is a buzzing place. The resident mixlogist is on hand if you want something unique or special. The cutting edge cocktails didn’t disappoint.
The menu is modern European and British and is reasonably priced considering its location. The restaurant offers seasonal fare and also has a special children’s menu.
For starters I ordered English asparagus with pea mousse, burnt onions and truffle emulsion. The asparagus sourced locally from Somerset arrived in no time and was perfect. My main consisted of herb-crusted cod with camomile braised fennel and confit tomato. The fish caught from the Kent coast was well executed and utterly delicious. The pièce de résistance at The Grill are the desserts. I can especially recommend – because I ordered – the chocolate brownie with crème fraiche ice cream, a perfect way to end the meal.
The Grill Restaurant serves classic grill food in intimate surroundings and is ideal if you’re a fan of seasonal menus. The food is delicious, staff are attentive and the setting is plush. What more could you ask for?
The Flemings Mayfair really captures the personality of its location and its well-informed staff makes your stay that little bit special. The luxury London hotel boasts a fabulous history, award-winning restaurant and opulent interior design. If you want a central London hotel with lots of character, history that’s hidden away in a quiet street then Flemings Mayfair is for you.
Flemings Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon Street, London W1J 7BH, England, flemings-mayfair.co.uk
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