The May Fair, Mayfair, London, UK ***

Q: What is it? A: A place if you wouldn’t pick the cheapest or the hippest alternative. More like buying a Ralph Lauren-shirt or order a Famous Grouse in the bar.

The quintessential modern hotel. Can't remember ever staying in this room. But I did!

Not too funky. Not to boring. I’d say it’s an ideal choice for business travellers who would gladly tell that ‘style/design’ is an important factor in their choice of hotels.

You probably know one or two of them.
I tried to picture the typical guest at The May Fair… I think they belong to the category of semi-young men who play floorball and sometimes like to let loose a bit during their AW. And while on trips they like to stay in design-y places. Not necessarily designed places, but where you would have the opportunity to sit in a copy of, say… an Eames classic. And when returning home, you’d find them at the airport with a bottle of Glenfiddich in their duty-free bag.

There should not be much to complain about, because there isn’t.
First, this is a rather big operation: 406 Rooms. Somebody gave it a top-to-bottom £70 million renovation the other year so you would expect the May Fair to look contemporary, even up-to-date. And honestly, this is a fine hotel but a tad too clean (a bit boring, to tell you the truth). But The May Fair should work perfectly well with a large category of travelers. Yes, you know who you are.

First impression lasts.
The May Fair excels in this discipline, as the staff I meet at the front desk is efficient, helpful and good-looking. I’m escorted to my room by a gazelle with great social skills. She gives me a tour of a spacious room that is squeaky clean. But don’t expect design nirvana. This is not the Sanderson. The bathroom deserves an honorable mention. Also, the location is perfect, should you want to stay in Mayfair.

Missing: A bottle of champagne.
I could have stopped right here as everything works fine, but this is very much a business hotel that had a tiny bit of artistic flair sprinkled over it. Those of you who know me, will tell that I simply do not choose low-budget hotels. So with most of my basics needs catered to, I tend to choose hotels that offer more charm than perfection. Lack of charm caused The May Fair to lose one star in my book. The other star is lost due to lack of control of room expenses. I barely escaped being charged for a glass of champagne, ordered from a bar I never visited. Front desk of course dealt with it in a very professional manner, but I’m very surprised that it even occurred.

The May Fair
Stratton Street
London W1J 8LT
United Kingdom


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