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Chic and sustainable: What it’s like staying at London’s 1 Hotel Mayfair

by Staff

In London, there are few neighborhoods as posh as Mayfair. Here, you can window shop for luxury cars like a Bentley or a Lotus, have a custom-fitted suit made on Savile Row, or stay at one of many iconic hotels in the area that rank among the best in London.

Some of those other hotels, such as The Ritz and The Connaught, have decades of history. However, on my latest trip to London, I spent two nights taking in one of the neighborhood’s newest — and greenest — hotels: 1 Hotel Mayfair.

It officially opened in November 2023 just across Picadilly from The Ritz. I was excited to see how 1 Hotels — a brand with a clean and modern aesthetic, plus an emphasis on sustainability — would compare to its more glitzy and gold-clad neighbors.

Here’s everything you need to know about staying at the 1 Hotel Mayfair.

What is the 1 Hotel Mayfair?

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1 Hotel Mayfair is a trendy hotel in central London with a focus on sustainability and wellness, and it is part of the growing 1 Hotels brand. The hotel’s edifice is the combination of two existing buildings that were extensively refurbished. The 1 Hotel Mayfair has brought a more laidback sense of luxury and a youthful spirit to a neighborhood known as the locale for some of the most expensive hotels in town.

Rather than gilt and crystal accents and porters uniformed in top hats and tails, this hotel has a decidedly more casual vibe. It has walls of living plants, reusable in-room water bottles and filtered-water stations, earth-toned color palettes and staff members who deliver service in a way that feels like friends waiting to help with whatever you need.

How to book the 1 Hotel Mayfair

Though 1 Hotels has its own loyalty program, Mission Membership, it’s more experiential-based than traditional points programs where the money you spend helps you earn free nights and perks.

With Mission Membership, the points you earn during stays give you perks based on tier levels; perks include exclusive offers and experiences, credit to use during your stay, late checkout, potential room upgrades and even the opportunity to give some of the money you spend back to charity. If you book directly, you should sign up for the program to see how it can help you save.

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Rates at 1 Hotel Mayfair start between $350 and $400 for an entry-level Alcove King room and go up from there. London is a notoriously expensive city for hotels, so these price points, even for standard rooms, can fluctuate dramatically, especially during the busy summer season.

Right now, 1 Hotel Mayfair isn’t available to book through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, where you can get elite-like perks for your stay. Other 1 Hotel properties do participate in the program, so it could be incorporated in the future.

Rooms and suites

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For my two-night stay, I was in a Skyline One Bedroom Suite on a high floor with dramatic white-curtained, floor-to-ceiling windows that looked down at the neighboring Ritz hotel.

Measuring more than 400 square feet, the apartment-style suite was large and functional. It had an entryway, a living room with a dining table, a separate bedroom, a walk-in closet and a large bathroom with the toilet in a separate room that you could enter from the walk-in closet or from the other side in the entryway.

Immediately upon entering the space, I knew this room was special. The soft, early afternoon sunlight illuminated the wooden peeling and flooring and made the earthy white- and clay-colored fabrics glow dramatically.

In the entryway, I found my first surprising element and one that highlights 1 Hotel’s earth-friendly ethos: a filtered water tap built into the wall and surrounded by moss-like plants. Reusable water bottles were also provided to take advantage of this.

TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY
TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY

In the living room, the neutral-toned elements continued. There were some abstract wall art pieces created from branches; more live plants, including some embedded in the wooden console next to the wraparound couch; a round dining room table with two chairs; and a massive armoire. I was excited to see lots of lamps for mood lighting, as well as fun coffee table books to flip through. The room even had a fancy (and aesthetically pleasing, wood-surfaced) Bluetooth speaker. Opposite the couch, a massive TV hung midway up the wall.

The armoire held the minibar with distinctive snacks and other goodies, like plantain chips, dried mango strips, organic orange and milk chocolate cookies, and Fitbake nutrition bars.

There was also an electric tea kettle, a Nespresso machine, top-shelf liquor and even pre-mixed bottled cocktails like a bourbon old-fashioned and a yuzu margarita. There were also very on-brand items like AG1 nutritional supplements, relaxing pillow spray and one of 1 Hotels signature scent candles.

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Two pocket doors separated the living room from the bedroom, which was chic and smart. My eyes immediately went to the dark, wood-paneled wall that anchored the bed and its leather and fabric headboard. As for the king bed itself, I found it to be near perfect in terms of comfort — probably due to the Sleepeezee mattress and sustainably sourced bedding that was ultra soft.

Other subtle yet thoughtful features included reading lights built into the headboard as well as room controls tucked into the wall; it was nice to be able to control the lights without having to get up from bed.

Another large TV dominated the wall opposite the bed.

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The plethora of drapes and curtains, even in unexpected places like the wall and door between the bedroom and the bathroom, was a nice design touch that imbued the room with maximum coziness. But honestly, the bathroom is so beautiful that you’ll likely want to leave the curtains open so you can admire it from bed.

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Speaking of the bathroom, the star of the show was the massive freestanding soaking tub that not only served as a focal point for the space but also as a great place to relax after a hectic day in a bustling city. Next to it was a walk-in shower; it had incredible water pressure that made for a great, invigorating way to start the day. The bathroom was stocked with fluffy white towels.

There was also a single large sink vanity with double faucets and ample counter space to hold toiletries.

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Throughout the bathroom, including at the sink and in the shower, custom Bamford products were available in refillable bottles. Even though I appreciate the efforts to prevent waste with toiletries, I have to say I was bummed I couldn’t take these incredible, fragrant products home with me.

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A walk-in closet with a small mirror, lots of hanging space, a few drawers and two ropes that felt like wrapping up in your favorite sweatshirt rounded out the amentiies. In the closet I also found a yoga mat, a steamer, slippers and a fancy Dyson hair dryer.

In my experience as a travel journalist, this was, hands down, the most practical suite I’ve ever seen. Every space is used smartly, and every design choice is made to complement the next. While you can find similar principles at other 1 Hotels locations, this one had a distinct sense of place thanks to its amenities and those windows bringing the neighborhood inside.

What to eat and drink at the 1 Hotel Mayfair

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In the hotel, there are three establishments where you can imbibe or ingest, as well as 24-hour room service.

Off the lobby is Neighbours, a trendy little cafe full of chairs, couches and plants open daily from 8 a.m. onward. There, you can grab a cup of Workshop Coffee, a pastry, your favorite tea or a light meal like a smoked ricotta salad (9.50 British pounds, or $12). Since Neighbours essentially spills out into the lobby, it’s a great place to work, read or just watch the hotel’s fabulous clientele come and go.

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For dinner, be sure to make reservations at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Dovetale, helmed by chef Tom Sellers of the Michelin two-starred restaurant Story (which is temporarily closed for refurbishment). Featuring a dark, moody and expansive dining room, the restaurant serves “reimagined European classics through a produce-led a la carte menu.”

TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY

Before my phenomenal meal at Dovetale, I wasn’t sure what exactly that combination of words meant. However, I can tell you now that I’m apparently a huge fan of reimagined European classics. I was also impressed by the restaurant’s massive food displays, including a gorgeous raw bar and a tempting ice cream cart.

For our meal, my partner and I tried a little bit of everything with guidance from an incredibly kind and knowledgeable staff (especially the sommelier).

The highlights included Orkney scallops from the raw bar (28 pounds, or $36); a mouthwatering and beautiful warm mushroom tart (19 pounds, or $24); pate en croute and duck liver parfait with blackberries (28 pounds, or $36); a very interesting Loch Duart salmon with cucumber, apple, kombu and Champagne (38 pounds, or $48).

We also ordered a black truffle and potato agnolotti (38 pounds, or $48) but our server informed us they had just received some rare white truffles that we should try. Truffles are usually not my favorite foodstuff, but this was one of the most incredible pasta dishes I’ve ever had. It was earthy, rich and creamy yet light and fluffy — what a flavor-texture combination.

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On the way to Dovetale, you’ll pass by the hotel’s bar, Dover Yard. It’s a living room-style bar full of low-slung couches, a fireplace blazing in a rough-hewn stone wall and a lot of suave guests sipping cocktails and nodding along with the music being spun by a DJ.

Full from dinner, we skipped food at Dover Yard (though you can order anything from a veggie crudites to a burger) and concentrated on the drink menu, which features a lot of British spirits and seasonal ingredients.

As a big fan of both Champagne and martinis, a drink called the Champ Martini (21 pounds, or $27) — made with Tanqueray Ten, Champagne, 1757 extra dry vermouth, verjus and grape bitters — spoke to me. And gosh, did it talk. It was a truly interesting take on a martini that was smooth and easy to sip. My partner had the Celery Tommy’s Margarita (21 pounds, or $27) made with Casamigos Blanco tequila, Los Siete Misterios mezcal, lime, celery and absinthe — another hit.

If you plan to visit Dover Yard on a weekend, I’d recommend making reservations so you have a guaranteed place to sit. This is a popular bar that’s only getting more attention by the minute.

The location is fabulous

Buckingham Palace. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Picking where to stay in London can be challenging since the city is so large and each neighborhood is so unique.

For me, staying in Mayfair is great because of its central location and easy access to public transportation. The hotel sits across the street from the corner of Green Park, which is also the name of the adjacent Tube station, from which you can easily get anywhere in London. Green Park is also one of the closest stops near Buckingham Palace, and you can easily stroll from the hotel room to the palace gates in about 10 minutes.

I find London to be a very walkable city, so no matter which direction you go, you’ll be close to something great. This includes Hyde Park, great shopping on Bond and Regent Streets, charming Covent Garden and across St. James’s Park down to Big Ben and the London Eye.

1 Hotels’ sustainability measures

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Sustainability might not be the most intriguing topic in the world, but it’s important — especially in hospitality. Since the beginning, 1 Hotels has worked to make sustainability a core pillar of the brand. You can rest easy (literally) knowing that your stay has less of an impact on the planet and the community you’re visiting than it would at some other conventional hotels.

For example, all 1 Hotel buildings are LEED certified, and much of the decor in the hotel is made up of living plants. As many reusable, recycled or refurbished products are used throughout the hotel as is feasible. Additionally, restaurants and bars employ sustainable practices and ingredients — like zero-waste cocktails and on-site gardens and composting — and you’ll receive a wooden key card rather than plastic.

While the hotel industry, in general, still has strides to make in sustainability, 1 Hotels certainly shows that you can sprinkle in measures like these without sacrificing the hallmarks of a high-end hotel experience.

Wellness is also on the mind

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to experience the wellness amenities at 1 Hotel Mayfair, the hotel’s Bamford Wellness Spa is a great space for a moment of zen amid the rush of London. Guests can arrange treatments like an Awakening Bamford Facial (60 minutes for 160 pounds, or $204). Or, book the Bamford Wellness Full Spa Day and Lunch (3.5 hours for 560 pounds, or $714), which includes a guided yoga session, a silent ritual a back massage, a choice of a signature Bamford facial and a two-course lunch on a private terrace.

And for fitness fans, there’s a 24/7 gym that also offers classes and private training with well-known instructors from across the city. A digital running map can show runners some of the best places to rack up some miles in the British capital.

Accessibility

On the accessibility front, 1 Hotels outshines most hotels by having a simple toggle box in the first step of the booking window that says “Accessible Rooms Only.” As the son of a person who requires accessible hotel rooms, I can say firsthand that this simple step helps cut the clutter so travelers can quickly find the right type of room for them.

Not only that, but the hotel has a dedicated landing page addressing basically any question you might have about having an accessible stay. This includes what parts of the hotel are accessible (seemingly all of them), what exactly is in an accessible room (that’s not always obvious) and individual accessibility features found throughout the hotel.

But as always, my advice to anyone looking to book an accessible room is to call either before or after booking to confirm that your room is, in fact, accessible. Then call again before checking in to triple-check before arriving.

Checking out

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What I love about London is that there truly is a great hotel for every type of traveler, from the ultra-luxe to family-friendly and barebones budget. What I loved about 1 Hotel Mayfair, in particular, is that it seemed designed for travelers of every stripe and preference. That said, it is an expensive hotel, and if there’s one thing that makes it out of reach for some folks, it’s the price.

But from the moment we arrived and were escorted to our room by a very kind staffer. Everyone from the incredible servers at each restaurant to the dapper doormen worked to ensure we were not only well taken care of, but that we also felt like guests in the best sense.

And even better, it’s nice to know that my stay had less of an environmental impact than other hotels I might have considered.

So if you are looking for a beautiful room in a posh neighborhood where you can be close to the action but then easily retreat into calm and quiet, I’d say 1 Hotel Mayfair should be at the top of your list.

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