From the luxury labels of Bond Street to the historic club-land, Mayfair and St James’s offer a seamless blend of tradition and modern wealth. A stroll along the streets will take you past embassies, hedge funds, and the most prestigious art galleries, auction houses and restaurants in the world. Traditionally, St James’s has been the land of royalty, while Mayfair has been the domain of wealth management funds and FTSE 100 firms. As two of London’s most exclusive locations, they offer prestigious business addresses alongside luxury lifestyle venues.
Mayfair is bordered by Marylebone to the North, Soho to the East and Hyde Park to the West. To the South, it shares it’s boundary with St James’s, bordered by Royal Parks on two sides. In both locations, the architecture is dominated by period buildings, while the surroundings are leafier than many other areas of Central London, thanks to the presence of three Royal Parks. With average residential property prices resting around the £2million mark, this is home to the very wealthiest residents in the capital.
For prestige brands and high-end businesses, Mayfair and St James’s offer the perfect location. Take a stroll down Jermyn Street; explore the Royal Parks; indulge in Michelin-starred dining. The lifestyle offered by Mayfair and St James’s is the most exclusive in London.
Drinking and dining options in Mayfair and St James’s span from ultra-elegant formal dining, to party venues and traditional pubs.
Coffee Shops and Cafés
Some of the best cafés are found in the parks around the area. The Lido Café Bar and the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Hyde Park are perfect for quick bites and drinks, especially in the warmer months. The area’s many hotels offer plentiful options to indulge in afternoon tea or a bite for lunch, such as the all-day menu at The Wolseley .
Pubs and Bars
Mayfair and St James’s may be known for their upmarket dining, but you’ll also find plenty of places to enjoy hearty, traditional fare in its many pubs and grills.
Head to The Audley, on Mount Street, to enjoy a traditional pub atmosphere which has also played host to a handful of celebrities, including the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama. Keeping with the celebrity connections, The Punchbowl on nearby Farm Street was once owned by film director Guy Ritchie. Today it provides a welcoming atmosphere to enjoy drinks, snacks and dining. On Bruton Place, The Guinea Grill specialises in serving English and Scotch beef from an open grill, washed down with traditional ale. The current pub stands on the site of a former inn, which was built in 1423.
Many of Mayfair’s best bars are found within the area’s luxury hotels, including the Coburg Bar and The Connaught Bar (both found at The Connaught Hotel). For a complete contrast, the lively party atmosphere of Mahiki on Dover Street offers escapism rarely found in the capital, promising to transport visitors from London to paradise as soon as they walk through the door.
As with so much in Mayfair and St James’s, the restaurants are world renowned. The area boasts two Nobu restaurants – one on Park Lane and one on Berkeley Street – as well as Le Gavroche (recipient of two Michelin stars and owned by Michel Roux Jnr.) which has been described by The Telegraph as “the last bastion of classical French haute cuisine in London”.
The Greenhouse in Mayfair also has two Michelin stars, and offers a light approach to French cuisine led by Chef Arnaud Bignon. In St James’s, Boulestin serves up traditional French cuisine all day long, with the option for diners to retreat to a hidden courtyard for peaceful outdoor dining. For a Manhattan-inspired atmosphere, head to Avenue on St James’s Street, and choose from the dishes on their new American menu.
Staying in Mayfair and St James’s
Both Mayfair and St James’s are renowned for their high-end hotels. Names like The Ritz, The Dorchester and Claridge’s are famous far beyond London’s bounds, known for their luxurious interiors and illustrious histories.
While there are too many five-star hotels in these areas to list them all, additional highlights include The Park Lane Hotel with its Art Deco architecture, and The Connaught with its elegant old-world charm. Beyond providing first-class accommodation for business travellers, all these hotels provide dining and drinking options perfect for business lunches or dinners.
The prestigious reputation of Mayfair and St James’s has long made both locations a popular choice with the finance and property sectors.
Older, townhouse-style properties are typical of the office space available in the area. To protect their architectural heritage, Mayfair and St James’s are subject to planning restrictions, which place significant limitations on new developments. However, it also means that the picturesque appeal of these areas has been largely preserved, providing a pleasant environment for the businesses based here.
Office space available in the area spans from basic through to high quality. Current rents for basic space start from around £55 per Sq. Ft per annum, depending on your requirements. For top quality space, expect to pay around £155 per Sq. Ft per annum, with talk of rents exceeding even this level, therefore making it the most expensive office location in the world.
• Expect to pay the highest rents in London
• Townhouse – style properties are typical
• New developments are limited by planning restrictions
Restaurant and Leisure Space
As an area renowned for its many Michelin stars and the quality of its restaurant scene, clientele heading to Mayfair and St James’s for food are looking for a high-end dining experience and are willing to pay premium prices. With every restaurant pushing the culinary boundaries, standards are high. For ambitious restaurateurs looking for a base for their latest venture, Mayfair and St James’s are the places to be seen.
• Not much newly built space
• Expect to pay the highest rents in London and the UK
Together, Mayfair and St James’s are the land of high-end retail. For retailers moving into the area, this means customers looking to spend more on luxury goods. This makes the area ideal for premium boutiques, niche luxury goods retailers and high-end brands alike.
As with restaurant and office space, typical retail properties are found within townhouse-style period properties, while new developments are scarcer, due to planning restrictions within the area.
• Ideal for boutiques, niche retailers and high-end brands
• Highest rents in London and the UK
No guide to Mayfair or St James’s would be complete without mentioning the area’s luxury retail offering. From designer brands to one-of-a-kind boutiques, it’s a luxury shopper’s paradise. In Mayfair, shopping is as much about the experience as the goods themselves. Louis Vuitton Maison on New Bond Street is one of the most luxurious Vuitton stores in the world, stocking a range of exclusive items. Nearby on Dover Street, McQ delivers a mix of boudoir styling meets high tech, where visitors can project footage of catwalk shows onto the walls.
Shopping in St James’s is equally select. Discover the broad selection of foods, homewares and beauty products behind the sea-green façade of Fortnum & Mason, or head to niche, but equally prestigious retailers, such as cheesemongers Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street.
Parks and Green Spaces
There is nothing better than to escape the hubbub of the city for half an hour and retreat into one of the three Royal Parks found in Mayfair and St James’s.
Green Park is a popular picnic spot in the summer months, as well as being perfect for a stroll through the trees all year round. For more lively outdoor pursuits, head to Hyde Park, where you can play tennis, go horse riding, boating or even open water swimming. St James’s Park, meanwhile, incorporates The Mall and Horse Guard’s Parade, the venue of many royal ceremonies.
Arts and Culture
Mayfair and St James’s are at the heart of London’s fine art scene. Auction houses including Bonham’s and Christie’s can be found in the area, alongside world-leading art galleries such as White Cube, Flowers, and the Royal Academy of Arts.
Whether your tastes run to contemporary artists or Old Masters, Mayfair and St James’s provide ample opportunity to meet likeminded people. Perhaps most notable of these is The Arts Club on Dover Street. The members-only club has been at the heart of Mayfair’s cultural scene since 1860, and has boasted members including Millais, Rodin, Whistler, Lizst and Charles Dickens. Today, it provides a space to dine and exchange ideas on topics as diverse as art, architecture, literature, music and science.
Speaking of intellectual pursuits, St James’s is also home to The London Library. Visitors to the world’s largest private lending library follow in the footsteps of such literary giants as Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Rudyard Kipling as they step into the magnificent Victorian Reading Room.
As one of the most desirable locations in the world, it is no surprise that commercial property in Mayfair and St James’s is the most expensive in London.
But for the companies based here, the price tag is worth it. This is where the world’s most exclusive businesses are found; where celebrities come to dine and be seen; and where the wealthiest people in the capital come to buy luxury goods.
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