The only hotel on Bond Street, the Westbury Mayfair first opened its doors in 1955 but has undergone a major revamp led by Alex Kravetz Designs.
The classically decorated lobby has light brown marble columns and furnishings in complementary colours, and I catch a glimpse of the Swarovski crystal fittings of the elegantly decadent Polo Bar. There is artwork on display and striking fashion photography adorns the corridors.
After checking in, I make the most of its prime location, enjoying the addictive rush of (window-) shopping on Bond Street, heading along to the tasteful luxury of nearby Burlington Arcade, and moving further afield to Carnaby Street, Regent Street and Soho. But I’m soon back to explore the hotel.
I’m staying in one of the 63 suites (the hotel has 225 guest rooms in total), which has a high-spec living area, with a large, grey crushed velvet sofa and marble table, and as I walk through to the bedroom, I’m bowled over by the stunning panoramic view from its corner location.
The bedroom is decorated in a relaxing, neutral colour scheme, complemented by the subdued pink flower pattern of the curtains.
The bathroom is kitted out in Italian marble and comes with deliciously scented Asprey toiletries.
Wining and dining
I have dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Alyn Williams at The Westbury, making my way through an exemplary tasting menu. Standout courses, both in taste and artwork-style presentation, include lobster tail with a flash of the rich saltiness of caviar, beetroot sliced with mathematical precision, smoked eel, ricotta and pecans. There’s also the option to enjoy the meal with matching wines or beers.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant (although room service is available), where waffles with fruit and maple syrup provide a good warm-up for the champagne afternoon tea that’s served amid the bespoke Fendi detailing of the Polo Bar. The spread includes light, still-warm scones and a slice of delicious Battenberg.
The afternoon tea is in partnership with the East India Tea Company, which was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600 and has a branch in Edinburgh.
I also eat at Indian Accent, a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, where executive chef Manish Mehrotra reinterprets nostalgic Indian dishes, and it’s immediately apparent to me why the restaurant’s been so critically acclaimed. Courses I devour include a potato sphere chaat starter and just-spicy-enough king prawns.
Budget or boutique?
It’s rooted at the luxury end of the scale – a butler service is available, for example. The Polo Bar has also launched a late-night nightcap and “mignardises” (bite-size dessert) concept – “for a delicious after-dinner digestif or wind-down after an evening out in town” – including cognac served on a bespoke stand complete with drawer of chocolates. No post-pub kebab here.
The hotel has introduced a “hidden Mayfair” walking tour, with concierge Duncan pointing out intriguing under-the-radar landmarks, such as a plaque marking the birthplace of the Queen.
You can also make the most of London Art Week, a biannual event (the next one starts at the end of June) capitalising on the crème de la crème of pre-contemporary art in the area. I visit a variety of participants, from a tiny hidden gem showcasing African ceramics to The Weiss Gallery, which specialises in Tudor, Stuart and North European Old Master portraiture.
The Westbury fuses deep-rooted traditional luxury with high-end glamour to create an ultra-prestigious destination. Food, fashion photography and Fendi and plenty more besides – topped with a Battenberg bonus.
Rates start from £249 per night for a twin room, £316 for a deluxe double, £464 for a suite and £713 for the two-roomed suite, all including breakfast. The Westbury Mayfair, 37 Conduit Street, London W1S 2YF (+ 44 20 7629 7755, www.marriott.co.uk)