Mayfair has an international reputation as being London's preeminent enclave of tradition, wealth, status and luxury. And for more than 300 years, this tiny outcrop of prestige has had the honour of showcasing the world's most sought after craftsmen, brands, and purveyors of finery. Yet amongst its cobbled streets and tony thoroughfares laden with exclusive shopping, there is a small but impressive community of those that consider Mayfair their home. And whether you are a foreign student studying at LCE with studio digs on Hill Street, a handsome hedge fund manager in a Finchatton styled bachelor pad, or 4 generations of family holed up in one of the impressive Georgian townhouses that dot the small but ultra-prestigious Upper Brook Street, Mayfair Village has much to proffer when it comes to residential amenities.
Much of the Mayfair we know of today came into existence in the latter part of the 17th Century and as its name suggests was a "May" Fayre held annually in what is now Shepard's Market. From its inception, the area attracted affluent and powerful families and in particular, the Grosvenor Family who, by the beginning of the 1700's was a considerable Mayfair land owner. Their descendants, The Dukes of Westminster, remain W1K's largest landlord. Eventually, commerce, industry, and diplomacy took a foothold in Mayfair, reducing the residential footprint in favour of more mercantile pursuits. Iconic shopping areas such as Burlington Arcade, Savile Row, and Bond Street began flourishing by the mid 19th Century and eventually attracted other cultural and political institutions such as The Royal Academy in 1857 and US Embassy 100 years later in 1960.
With international HNWI demands for more and more residential property, the 21st Century seems to be ushering in a new residential era for Mayfair. Continued investment in 1-3 bedroom properties, new builds, and office space conversions has provoked, according to Mayfair property experts Wetherell, an increase of over 500,000 sq feet of residential space and an equally impressive decrease of office space. With over 5,000 permanent residents, many of whom are foreign, Mayfair is also seeing a 33% increase of residents between the ages of 22-35. However, as with many Prime Central London neighbourhoods, price per square foot for residential space has reached astronomical levels, pushing many previously qualified buyers out of the realm of acquisition. Over the past 10 years, Mayfair prices have increased 188% with many units selling for more £4,500 per sq ft.
Lack of inventory and an ever growing & exigent handful of Super Prime buyers have provided resistance to the trends of social integration and affordable housing, reinforcing the areas historical reputation as a veritable ghetto of the affluent. This trend of seeding Mayfair with the Crème de la Crème of international HNWI buyers is further being fuelled by ambitious projects like the very high profile transformation of the American Embassy at Grosvenor's Square into a luxury mixed-use hotel complex handcrafted by Qatari Diar. Other projects that will be delivered over the next two years include One Grosvenor Square, Clarges Mayfair, Burlington Gate, 22 Hanover Street, and 70-73 Piccadilly to name a few. Overall it is estimated that 21 new schemes will deliver over 400 new apartments.
With the Grosvenor's £80 million investment in Mount Street, The Crown's £1bn renovation of Regent's Street, and the soon to launch Elizabeth Line, Mayfair is poised to become one of the world's most coveted urban public realms with excellent transport, world-class education, and beautifully maintained parks. Fused with 5-Star hotels, restaurants, and clubs, it is no wonder why Mayfair has become the destination for young and affluent singles and families alike.
Here are a few of our recommendations whether you are about to move in or just taking a leisurely stroll....
Caprice Holdings has dominated the culinary scene for many years with their now famous collection of chic restaurants including Scott's, 34, Mount Street Deli, and their latest inception, Sexy Fish. For a chic twist on Italian, book a coveted table at Sartoria on Savile Row or if you are in the mood for expertly prepared sushi, head over to Sushi master Mitsushiro Araki for the capital's most exclusive sashimi.
The advent of home delivery from the likes of Ocado and Amazon Fresh may have changed the dynamic for Mayfair residents, providing a constant flow of conveniences to the area. But for traditional shoppers looking to peruse the produce, Selfridges Food Hall and Fortnum & Mason offer a sophisticated gourmet grocery experience. If sweets are on the menu, Mayfair also hosts a stellar selection of delicious delectables from authentic and luxuriously presented Saudia Arabian dates at Bateel, traditional prink champagne chocolate truffles from Charbonnel et Walker, or perfectly Parisian macaroons from Laduree located in the Burlington Arcade.
Mayfair isn't short on entertainment options either, boasting an impressive array of hotel bars, nightclubs, and casinos. For the chicest cocktails and opulent trappings head to The Connaught or Claridges for a truly decadent experience. Other more private hotspots include Annabelle's and Loulou's whilst Charlie Berkley Street ups the ante with the world's first fireplace clad Haig Club Room. And if its a 007 Casino Royale moment you're looking to have, look no further than two of the capital's most exclusive casino establishments, The Clermont Club and The Ritz Club.
When it comes to shopping Mayfair is abound with options, far too many to even mention here. From Luxury Prêt-à-Porter brands to the most opulent of high joailliere, Mayfair is a veritable treasure trove of luxury. Its compact, 5-mile square confines also provide the best in refined and uber-cool department store experiences of Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges, multi-brand style purveyors such as Browns and Dover Street Market, and newcomer boutiques to the areas like Giuseppe Zanotti. For a truly special treat, head to Mount Street for the capital's finest display of handcrafted leather goods, perfumes, and Haute Couture including Valextra, Simone Rocha, Creed, Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta, and Linda Farrow just to name a few. 2016 also saw the much-anticipated opening of the newly renovated Dior boutique on Bond Street, the bedazzled world of Harry Winston's first London salon, and the Maiyet concept store. Of course, if big ticket items are on your Christmas list, Jack Barclay on Berkely Square can find just the right shade of metallic beige for your newly acquired Bentayga Bentley.
* Data sources courtesy of Wetherell Mayfair