Tried & Tested

Hotel review: 1 Hotel Mayfair

9 Aug 2023 by Hannah Brandler
1 Hotel Mayfair - Exterior (Credit Milo Brown)

Background

1 Hotels is a sustainable luxury hotel brand belonging to SH Hotels and Resorts, which also has the similarly leafy Treehouse Hotels and the Baccarat Hotels & Resorts brands. Treehouse Hotels premiered in London’s Langham Place in 2019 (see our review) and is set to open a second UK property in Manchester imminently.

The eco-friendly 1 Hotels brand launched in 2015 and currently operates ten properties in locations including Miami, New York, Nashville, San Francisco, Toronto, Hanalei Bay and Sanya (China). This marks the brand’s foray into Europe, with further properties under development in Austin, Cabo San Lucas, Paris, Copenhagen, Elounda Hills in Crete, Riyadh and Melbourne.

The 1 Hotel Mayfair project opened in Mayfair in July, taking over a former Holiday Inn property (which operated until early 2020) and retaining over 80 per cent of the existing structure. This saved approximately 4,200 tonnes of carbon and the hotel has been awarded BREEAM Excellent for its sensitive construction, with sustainably sourced and recycled materials used throughout.

The hotel is unrecognisable from its former life as a Holiday Inn, though two floors have been added so the building now has nine storeys.

1 Hotel Mayfair facade (provided by Bacchus Agency on behalf of 1 Hotels)

Where is it?

On Berkeley Street in Mayfair, just around the corner from Piccadilly and several luxury properties such as The Ritz, The May Fair Hotel and Brown’s Hotel.

Nearby attractions include The Royal Academy and Fortnum & Mason, while the local Green Park, St James’ Park and Hyde Park complement the hotel’s green design.

Green Park station, served by the Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, is a two-minute walk from the hotel, and guests can also make use of the hotel’s electric Audi e-tron on a first come, first served basis by contacting the concierge.

The hotel has also converted a former car park, located on the left-hand side of the property, into a smart cobbled, pedestrianised square, known as Dover Yard. This features a green living wall and narrows into an alleyway linking Berkeley Street with Dover Street.

The alleyway was once a thoroughfare for those on their way home from one too many after-work drinks, but is sure to smarten up as a result of this redevelopment, and reminds me of Ham Yard Village just down the road in Piccadilly Circus.

1 Hotel Mayfair lobby (provided by Bacchus Agency on behalf of 1 Hotels)

What's it like?

The hotel stands out thanks to its lush facade, featuring vibrant green living walls which act as columns between the uniform rectangular windows. This biophilic design continues inside, with a spacious lobby richly decorated in various natural and highly textured materials, predominantly wood but also Yorkshire dry stone, living moss and artworks that nod to the environment.

Numbers-wise, the hotel boasts 200 plant species and 1,300 individual plants across the property, along with just under 400 sqm of external green wall planting area across Berkeley Street and Dover Yard.

Interiors are reminiscent of a Swiss chalet, with an earthy colour palette, cosy throws and woven cushions, plus roaring fires in the F&B spaces that will provide an even cosier vibe in the winter months.

Furnishings are often crafted from felled wood – from a beautiful chunk of textured wood from Sussex which has been repurposed as a check-in desk to tree-trunk-styled coffee tables. Meanwhile Studio Patrick Nadeau has designed a beautiful ‘living’ chandelier, Rainforest, which is crafted from Spanish moss, with over 50,000 strands draped from the ceiling in a dome-like structure, illuminating as night falls and providing an ethereal touch. I also loved the large stones affixed with handles to mimic luggage, a subtle but amusing touch.

1 Hotel Mayfair stone sculptures (image Hannah Brandler)

The entire lobby is open plan but smartly designed with slatted walls (both of the wooden and stone variety) dividing areas such as a lounge space, coffee shop Neighbours and the lift bank.

The hotel has worked with contemporary artists to create pieces that comment on humanity’s impact on the environment. From afar Steve McPherson’s concentric mosaic-like Flow in Neighbours is scintillating, though up close tells a tragic story. The artwork is compiled from discarded items found along the coastline in Kent.

Check-in is from 3pm and check-out at noon, with wooden keycards and an excellent app which has a digital key and allows you to control the room temperature, TV and chat with the team. This can also be used to set preferences for a personalised stay, with questions ranging from pillow choice to guest room location (near or far from the elevator, for instance), and favourite drinks.

1 Hotel Mayfair King room (provided by Bacchus Agency on behalf of 1 Hotels)

Rooms

The hotel has 137 rooms and 44 suites – 35 of the suites are located on floors seven and eight and feature a slightly darker wooden palette as well as floor-to-ceiling windows. There is also a double-height Green Park Penthouse Suite (named after its sweeping views from the wraparound terrace), which is the largest one-bedroom suite in Mayfair at 274 sqm.

Rooms come in nine categories and range from 19 sqm to 28 sqm, all featuring a similar design to the rest of the hotel with neutral colour palettes, natural light and (of course) wood throughout – from the oak flooring to the bedside tables and even wooden legs on an ironing board.

The rooms have some really lovely touches, starting with the living moss wall near the entrance, though mine was fading in areas and the staff made a note of this immediately. The 1 Less Thing initiative is also a great idea, inviting guests to leave a clothing item or two behind to be donated to a local nonprofit.

An in-room water filtration tap is very handy and if you still don’t own a reusable water bottle (shame on you) then there are tumblers and a carafe crafted from reclaimed wine bottles – sadly there’s no wine tap. There’s also a stone engraved with the words ‘not now’ to place outside your door instead of ‘do not disturb’ plastic hangers.

1 Hotel Mayfair bathroom (provided by Bacchus Agency on behalf of 1 Hotels)

My L-shaped Lounge King room (24 sqm) was well-configured for business travellers, with a separate lounge area off to one side providing a very comfy and secluded space where you can work at the table or doze on the built-in banquette.

There’s an identical window-side banquette in the bedroom area which was big enough to fit someone of my height (5ft5) – though the supremely comfortable bed was vast.

The lighting system includes a master switch as well as a night-time function, though we had trouble at night as a built-in light stripe behind the bed seemed to glow slightly regardless of what we pressed. The curtains are also not totally blackout, which is always a shame.

1 Hotel Mayfair rooms (provided by Bacchus Agency on behalf of 1 Hotels)

Further amenities include a 55-inch HD Smart TV, bedside plug sockets and USB slots, a yoga mat and soft, snug tracksuit-style bathrobes with a hood, plus slippers. A minibar is neatly hidden in a beautiful rattan cabinet, with a range of organic drinks and snacks including chocolates and cocktails from Daylesford, Karma Cola, Camellia’s tea, and a candle with the hotel’s soothing eucalyptus and cedar wood scent so you can make your home feel like pure luxe.

Bathrooms feature a spacious shower with a rain shower and handheld shower, with a glass window that opens onto the bedroom, though a curtain protects your modesty. As to be expected, the Bamford toiletries are in large dispensers, though you are also gifted two lip balms and a body cream.

I’m told that timers will soon be installed in the showers to prevent wastage. This is a smart feature as guests are often more wasteful when staying at hotels than at home, fooled into thinking that their impact while on a trip doesn’t really exist.

Dovetale at 1 Hotel Mayfair. Credit Jon Day

Food and drink

The ground floor is home to three venues: contemporary restaurant Dovetale from award-winning chef Tom Sellers (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner), the adjacent Dover Yard cocktail bar and lounge, and the petite but cosy Neighbours coffee shop (open 7am-10pm) which becomes a bar in the evening with live music sessions.

Dovetale is a large space with a warm Mediterranean feel, featuring wooden beamed ceilings, low-hanging lights, a laidback electronic soundtrack monopolised by Jungle, and a contemporary copper fireplace. At the far end is a wall stacked with wine bottles, with a raw bar just in front from which we enjoyed delicate sea bass and scallop ceviches as starters.

The seasonally changing menu offers European classics, with a focus on dishes cooked over the grill, but the prices are rather eye-watering (though somewhat unsurprising for Mayfair). Mains start from £32 and the grill items to share range from £54 to £150. The pièce de resistance was the 700g turbot à la méuniere for a whopping £150. It was silky and perfectly cooked, and we enjoyed it with a side of picture-perfect ratatouille.

Sustainability feeds into the restaurant process too. The restaurant uses all British produce and the bar offers cocktails made from repurposed ingredients – for instance, a citrus concoction made from leftover lemons.

Dovetale at 1 Hotel Mayfair - Raw Bar and Starters Selection (Credit Jon Day)

To finish the meal there are plenty of delicious-sounding desserts but it’s hard not to revert to your childhood days and order an ice cream sundae from the fun Knickerbocker Glory trolley. You’re provided with a menu to build your own, which adds to the novelty, though it’s a shame that these aren’t made tableside – I went to watch ours being created but felt like I was getting in the way.

An excellent à la carte breakfast is also served at Dovetale from 7-10am, with mouthwatering pastries on show (the apricot and fennel pollen danish is a must) alongside a rainbow-like assortment of juices at the bar, plus hot and cold dishes. We enjoyed the ‘avocado everything on toast’ (£20) which included poached eggs, a yoghurt-style dressing and seeds, alongside labneh with raspberries, buckwheat and honey (£15), plus great lattes from Workshop coffee.

Adjoined to the restaurant is a stylish covered terrace which has a Californian feel, and both the inside and outside areas have a range of seats, including round tables in plush booths.

1 Hotel Mayfair Knickerbocker Glory trolley

Meetings

The hotel has five boardrooms (32-46 sqm), four of which can connect into a 158 sqm space.

Leisure

A wellness area spanning the first floor will open in late August and include a spa in partnership with sustainable skincare brand Bamford, as well as a gym with Technogym equipment.

This was not yet open during my visit, but a room on the fourth floor had been fashioned into a spa treatment room. I had a fantastic and invigorating 90-minute signature treatment, which comprised a massage and facial, by the wonderful massage therapist Lucas.

Verdict

I was very impressed with this sustainable sanctuary in the heart of Mayfair, which has original and characterful design, inviting dining spaces and peaceful rooms. It’s impossible to note all the eco touches in this review but that’s proof of the lengths that the hotel is going to in order to live up to its ethos.

Biophilic features seem to be the future of luxury hotel designs – from Pan Pacific properties in Singapore, including its Parkroyal brand, to The Athenaeum hotel down the road, whose living wall was installed in 2009. I’m a fan of the design, particularly in city centres where greenery may be hard to come by.

Finally, staff at the hotel are warm, welcoming and helpful – Nadra at reception was excellent – and most importantly seem passionate about the brand. I can see why, and am sure the hotel will provide stiff competition for neighbouring establishments in the months and years to come.

FACT BOX

Best for

Thoughtful and refreshing eco-friendly design

Don’t miss

A soothing massage at the soon-to-open Bamford Spa

Price

Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September start from £692 for a Lounge King room, and £571 for entry-level.

Contact

3 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DJ London; 020 3988 0055; 1hotels.com/mayfair

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