In London, the hotel world’s majorest of major leagues, even the big chains know which way the wind is blowing — away from that fusty manor-house look, and toward something altogether more clean-lined and contemporary. Nobody’s about to mistake the old May Fair for the Sanderson, but it’s plain they’ve learned some lessons from the new breed of design hotels.
The May Fair Bar is stylish and modern, packing in a hip West End crowd. The May Fair Kitchen proudly wears its Mediterranean influences, forgoing the usual formality of five-star dining for a more casual shared-plate approach spanning Italian and Spanish cuisine as well as Peruvian and Mexican dishes from sister restaurants Monmouth Kitchen and Leicester Square Kitchen. The May Fair terrace, encased in stainless steel mesh that allows the space to breathe, offers a nicely curated selection of rare and fine hand-rolled cigars.
Upstairs, the bedrooms are still oversized and as luxurious as they come, and now they’re utterly modern too, slightly minimalist in muted earth tones. And of course they’re packed with all the modern must-haves, from forty-inch Samsung Smart TVs and free high-speed wi-fi to high-end bath products.
A 201-seat private screening room is a rarity, to be sure, but the May Fair’s spa is its crown jewel. It’s vaguely Asian in design (as are all spas these days) and completely over-the-top — the best place for a mud bath after a long day of splashing cash all over the West End. Or all over the hotel — the May Fair’s own Palm Beach Casino is among the biggest in town, and its atmosphere of old-world glamour is an inducement to high-stakes playing.