W1. Westminster. London Property Area Guide. Last Update July 26th, 2016.
Monopoly money it Isn’t !
Mayfair’s first impression for most British people was that it was the most expensive ‘property’ in the board-game Monopoly. Well monopoly money won’t buy you much here today. In fact, nothing less than a vault full of gold will get you on the property ladder. There are more expensive areas of London now – Belgravia for example, yet Mayfair still exudes wealth.
Bounded by the now upmarket (and very well redeveloped) Regent Street to the East, Park Lane with it’s glitzy 5-star hotels to the West, scruffy Oxford Street to the North and tourist-laden Piccadilly to the South, Mayfair occupies an almost square shaped plot in the heart of London’s West End.
Avenue of Glamour
Bond Street disects Mayfair, from New Bond Street, to the North which joins Oxford Street, to Old Bond Street at the South end, merging onto Piccadilly. On this boulevard of shoppers heaven, you’ll find every high-end jeweller, fashion designer and art dealer you could want. Even the Centurion AMEX holders amongst you can achieve buyers fatigue here! To the side of Old Bond Street you’ll find the Burlington arcade – packed to the gills with more expensive trinket shops and an absolute must visit for discerning spenders.
Formal wear is suitably catered for by London’s finest tailors on Saville Row, over towards Regent Street. If you must pick up some clothing casuals, there is always Abercrombie and Fitch on the corner of Saville Row and Burlington Gardens. Ideally you should leave your teenage kids here to splurge in the cavernous, over-perfumed store and head straight to lunch at delightful Cecconi’s half way down Burlington Gardens.
If all that shopping leaves you needing a lie-down, then (assuming the sun is out) head for the grassy spaces of Green Park or Hyde Park, bordering Mayfairs Southern and Western fringes.
Afternoon cocktails are best enjoyed at any of the five-star hotels along Park Lane. We reccommend Daquiri’s at the Dorchester, Manhattan’s at the Metropolitan’s Met Bar and a Gin-fizz at the Grosvenor.
Nightlife exists all over Mayfair, however if you are living in such an exclusive neighbourhood, your choice of drinking venue should feel equally as distinguished. Residents prefer private members clubs, where they can remain in their social and business bubbles, surrounded by the elites. Mortons on Berkeley Square fills with Hedge Fund boys. The English old school head to Annabel’s. Europeans love George and the celebs hang out with Gwyneth (Paltrow) in the Arts club (she’s on the selection committee).
Hedge Fund Alley
Curzon street plays host to the lovely historic Curzon Cinema: showing an eclectic array of new and old movies. However the street is better known for a different kind of action: Trading. Known by the banker crowd as “Hedge Fund Alley.” Several prominent Funds including GLG and Moore Capital occupy the modern building that sits at 1 Curzon Street. Thankfully they eschew the cinema for the May Fair bar (under the May Fair hotel), Nobu or a traditional pint in the Only Running Footman.
Houses in Mayfair tend to be large Ambassadorial affairs. Upper Grosvenor Street north to Oxford Street is where most of these properties hide. Those still entact as entire dwellings (they can be 6 or 7 stories) often sell by sealed bids, away from public eyes. Offices often occupy these premises, so there is some potential for conversion from commercial to residential again. Smaller (still large by most measures!) terraced houses are found on the roads running off Curzon Street to the North or along Park Street. Houses typically dates back to early 18th Century, thus tend to be Georgian style.
Mayfair’s finest apartments are in the late 19th Century terracotta clad buildings in and around Mount Street. Despite being above retail premises they command the highest prices. There is a small sixties block (Audley Court) at the corner of Chesterfield Hill and South Street with the added advantage of parking (very rare in Mayfair) and across the road from Guy Ritchies ‘Punchbowl’ pub.
Clarges Street has another sixties block with dozens of flats, mostly used as weekday pied-a-terres. Where South Audley Street joins Curzon Street you will find a much more aesthetically pleasing mansion block with more of the residents occupying full time. If you like the plush feel of the doorman manned blocks in New York’s Upper East Side
then the white-washed block on Upper Grosvenor Street as it adjoins Park Street is ideal.
Grand apartments can be found in converted Georgian terrace houses across the area. Those on the West side nearer Hyde Park command a stiff premium over those closer to Regent Street. Berkeley Square has a few flats with lovely views and the odd terrace, although it is primarily home to offices of Hedge Funds and Private Equity firms.
Grosvenor Square is home to the art-deco – love it or loathe it – U.S. Embassy and a huge amount of security (most of it ugly fences and barricades). A large number of apartments are here too – in the buildings on the North and West side mostly. Large blocks with big service charges to boot, you get a lovely view of the Squares green grass and trees in most cases. Be aware the Embassy is moving to Battersea, so the sixties building it occupies could be subject to years of redevelopment by it’s new owners, who are likely to go for a conversion into new homes.
On the outskirts of traditional Mayfair, a corner you may find a reasonable priced rental or flat purchase is Shepherds Market. Previously home to Mayfairs seedy nightlife – some evidence still exists – this more casual location has smaller, less cared for apartments above the shops and pubs and is a favourite with young foreign traders.
+ Amazing location, with everything you could want on your doorstep
+ London’s best Parks on your doorstep
+ Best selection of shops, restuarants and bars for those who like Michelin Stars rather than McDonalds
+ Beautiful Architecture almost throughout the neighbourhood
+ Lots of public transport choices (or just head to the Bentley/ Rolls Royce/ Porsche showrooms in Berkeley Square)
– It’s not cheap!
– Transient community with many properties used as pied-a-terres or second/third homes, ‘community’ is lacking.
– Berkeley Square / Street turn into a huge car park for West End goers on Thursday to Saturday evenings. They like to create traffic jams and rev their engines loudly all night (and early morning).
Dim Sum with attitude and plenty of style – Hakkasan (17 Bruton Street, W1J. 020 7907 1888)
Cocktails with the cool crowd – Claridges Bar (49 Brook Street, W1K. 020 7409 6307)
For the Finest Fish Supper in London head to Scotts (20 Mount Street, W1K. 020 7495 7309)
Drink a pint of Ale at Clint Eastwoods favourite pub – The Only Running Footman (5 Charles Street, W1J. 0207 499 2988)
Sunday Brunch date for when the sun is out? Eat alfresco at Hush (8 Lancashire Court, W1S 1EY. 020 7659 1500)
Gadget Heaven: The Apple Store (Regent St at Hanover St, W1B. 020 7153 9000)
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Bond Street (Central, Jubilee)
Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria)
Oxford Circus (Central, Victoria, Bakerloo)
Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly, Bakerloo)
Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly)
Marble Arch (Central)
None, but Charing Cross, Waterloo and Victoria are 5mins on via the Tube
Numerous bus stops on Mayfairs borders: Oxford St, Regent St, Piccadilly and Park Lane allow you to travel to almost any location in London. Comprehensive Bus Map