1 Hotel Mayfair
Reading through the Tripadvisor comments about the recently opened 1 Hotel in Mayfair it’s difficult to draw a conclusion.
Is this former Holiday Inn now a good luxury hotel?
A weighty number give it a five-star rating, gushing about the service, the rooms, and the comfort of the beds.
A smaller number are slightly less enthusiastic although they do point out its better points, not least its location on Berkeley Street just off Piccadilly.
And fewer still are those who are obviously angry and disappointed that their expectations have not been met or that they have been let down by a bad experience.
They are the one-star raters, which they give reluctantly (there is no option to award no stars).
With Tripadvisor it’s probably wise to ignore the extremes (five-stars and one-stars) and pay heed to the reviews in the middle.
They are probably the more considered opinions and are therefore the most realistic.
Interestingly, very few reviewers mention the building or the interior design yet that is what sets it apart.
It provides a compelling story, and a good reason to visit.
Reception image: Jon Day
1 Hotels, as a brand, launched in 2015 with the opening of exclusive properties in Miami’s South Beach and Manhattan’s Central Park; followed by Brooklyn, located on the East River, in February 2017; West Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard, in June 2019; Sanya (China) in 2020; Toronto in 2021; San Francisco and Nashville in 2022; and in 2023, the Hanalei Bay flagship property.
This London hotel is their first European venture.
As a mission-driven luxury lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature, 1 Hotels cultivates sustainable design and architecture, and mixes it with a high level of comfort and five-star service.
The brand is inspired by a simple idea: those that travel the world should also care about it.
1 Hotels upholds this vision by channelling nature through design and culinary partnerships while connecting with the local community and taking sustainable steps to make a big difference.
Opting for reconstruction over new construction and built to BREEAM Excellent standards, the architects have utilised 80% of the existing structure, which was repurposed to minimise adverse environmental impact.
Hotel exterior image: Milo Brown
Living green-trellised exterior walls transform former hard surfaces into natural vertical landscapes.
A freshly cobbled and pedestrianised previous parking lot creates a harmonious outdoor public space, now gifted to the neighbourhood.
Guestrooms feature living moss walls, timber flooring crafted from fallen British Oak trees and Welsh slate bathroom vanities.
More than 200 plant species can be found across the property, from the living walls to the planting beds in the bedrooms.
Living Walls in rooms, image by Milo Brown
Atop the building, two new complete floors were added to introduce 35 stunning suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive outdoor spaces, inviting guests to entertain or relax while overlooking Green Park, one of London’s eight Royal Parks and the rooftops of the Ritz hotel.
The double height Green Park Penthouse Suite features a sprawling footprint of 274 square metres which makes it the largest one-bedroom Suite in Mayfair.
The Penthouse can be further expanded to 2 bedrooms at 304 square metres and 3 bedrooms at 340 square metres.
It features a wrap-around terrace and retractable sliding doors that open fully to sweeping and dramatic park views.
Other design elements woven throughout the property include reclaimed Yorkshire dry stone walls, a reception desk created from one naturally felled piece of wood from Sussex, and a leafy chandelier created from air plants and sliding rattan panels.
Suite (top) and single bedroom (above) images: Milo Brown
1 Hotel Mayfair have installed a combined heat and power system that produces electricity that will be fed back into London’s utility grid, saving on electricity, while at the same time capturing the waste heat to pre heat the domestic hot water on the property, saving on gas used from the main boilers.
From the onset of the project, the lighting design team set very high standards for sustainability and energy efficiency.
A soft, modern, and architecturally integrated, holistic lighting scheme enhances the sanctuary of the guestroom.
1 Hotel Mayfair uses less than 5w per square meter of pure LED lighting, which is apparently 50% less energy than the standard hotel in the UK.
Most light fittings use minimal components and are 80% recyclable.
Dover Yard bar image: Jon Day
The exterior landscaping irrigation system employs a smart controller that uses moisture sensors and local weather conditions to tailor water schedules to actual conditions on the site.
This reduces the amount of city water needed to irrigate the landscaping. Each room is equipped with dedicated bottle-fill stations to encourage bottle reuse and all faucets provide guests with high-quality drinking water.
In-room cups and carafes are made from recycled wine bottles to encourage guests to avoid single-use water bottles and plastics.
Guests will also find shower timers in every bathroom – a friendly reminder, on behalf of water.
1 Hotels properties are partnering with Foodprint Group to develop and implement a True Zero Waste program across all its F&B outlets.
This program is designed to eliminate waste across the property, eventually reaching a 90% or greater total waste diversion from landfill and incineration in accordance with USGBC’s TRUE Zero Waste certification.
This will reduce CO2 emissions and prevent needless waste.
Dovetail Terrace image: Milo Brown
“Rainforest” chandelier image: Jon Day
The artwork has aimed to incorporate the local community, local surroundings, and local history—organically and sustainably.
Local artists were commissioned to create pieces that provoke thought and instil meaning.
A prime example is “Rainforest” by Patrick Nadeau, located in the lobby.
“Rainforest” offers an immersive and fantastical entrance into the hotel, thanks to a planted dome measuring 4 metres in diameter.
It is meticulously covered with over 50,000 strands of Tillandsia usneoides and magically illuminated.
Walking under this rain of tillandsia, one can experience a surreal feeling of walking through a dreamlike tropical forest right in the heart of London.
The plants comprising this dome, Tillandsia usneoides, are epiphytic plants that grow without the need of soil.
They typically live attached to trees in the tropical forests of Central America.
They exclusively feed from light and the moisture found in the air, transitioning from a silvery grey to a meadow green when wet.
The small scales covering their surface reflect light exceptionally well, giving “Rainforest” the appearance of a living chandelier.
Dover Yard image: Jon Day
Bamford Spa reception
There are several major art pieces displayed around the public areas of the hotel and each has its own unique story.
It’s appropriate that such a collection should be in an area already brimming with art galleries.
1 Hotel is surrounded by five-star luxury hotels. In the immediate vicinity is The Ritz, The May Fair and Browns.
And from Berkeley Street it’s a short walk to the south end of Park Lane, where The Four Seasons, The Dorchester, The Intercontinental and the COMO Metropolitan all vie for a rich man’s pound.
And whilst the owners may argue that they are appealing to another type of guest altogether, the competition for custom does exist.
Let’s hope that their green endeavours strike a chord with Mayfair locals and visitors alike to bring them good fortune.