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The Magic of Mayfair - Traditional Elegance with a Contemporary Twist

Apr. 12th, 2010 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Things to Do in London: Mayfair has always been synonymous with style, glamour and decadence, and today it can also be proud of a new 'cool' status as Londoners embrace their British heritage, with the contemporary seamlessly sitting alongside old school grandeur.

Mayfair has its share of fabulous dining experiences, with a plethora of Michelin starred restaurants, including the legendary Le Gavroche and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, which was recently awarded its third Michelin star, making it only the second restaurant to currently hold that accolade in London.

The Wolseley has maintained its place as London's most chic destination for breakfast, with businessmen and fashionistas flocking there for the grand dining room and people watching, while Automat has firmly established itself as the place for weekend brunch and a Bloody Mary.

Serving fine Italian food from first thing in the morning until the early hours, Cecconi's is an excellent lunch spot to break up a day's shopping on nearby Bond Street. Cecconi's is fun and glamorous, with a real buzz about the place - and Prosecco on tap is never a bad thing.

Scott's, on Mount street, has been a Mayfair institution for years, and in its current guise, it is the epitome of the new Mayfair vibe. From the moment the doorman wearing a bowler hat greets and escorts you into the dining room and you see the fabulously ornate oyster bar, you know you're in for a treat, and the food, service and ambience deliver just that. Scott's is glamorous, exciting and a place 'to see and be seen'.

Mount Street has transformed itself in recent years, with high-end shopping boutiques such as Christian Louboutin and Marc Jacobs effortlessly neighbouring Purdey, the prestigious gun makers and Allens, London's oldest butcher.

The newly refurbished Connaught hotel has re-established itself at the heart of Mayfair and has elevated the hotel bar scene to new heights with two of the best bars in London. The Coburg bar is a wonderful place to relax after a day at the office or shopping, while the design and the cocktails at the Connaught bar are perfect for an upbeat glamorous evening with friends.

On the fringes of Mayfair, at the top of the former Dickens & Jones department store on Regents Street, Aqua opened towards the end of 2009 with 250 seats spread over two restaurants, both of which have a large and impressive roof terrace, which is certain to be a popular destination in the summer.

Mayfair's nightlife continues to thrive, with re-openings and reinventions at Molton House and Morton's competing with a new breed of cool pubs at The Punchbowl and The Only Running Footman, all in the shadow of the iconic institutions of Annabel's and Mark's Club.

A place to relax, pamper and rejuvenate is essential, and Mayfair does not disappoint. The recently refurbished Dorchester Spa at The Dorchester hotel is the epitome of Art Deco glamour with a contemporary twist; after indulging in the vast array of treatments, guests can enjoy champagne and cake at the adjoining Spatisserie. The Connaught Hotel has also just opened its Aman Spa, the first stand-alone Aman spa in the world. Gentlemen are also catered for with outposts of The Refinery and Gentlemen's Tonic and the recently launched Dunhill at Bourdon House.

With such a fine selection of venues to drink, dine and frolic, you may well need somewhere suitable to rest your weary head, and fortunately, Mayfair is home to some of the best hotels in the world. Claridge's exudes style and luxury, the service is impeccable and the public areas are delightful. For a more hip and trendy vibe, there's the Mayfair Hotel, the new home for any young celebrity passing through London.

The future of Mayfair, London's most stylish grande dame, is set to sparkle, with the re-opening of the Four Seasons Hotel and The Dorchester Collection's new 45 Park Lane scheduled for 2010, both of which will further ignite Mayfair's bar and restaurant scene. The chic and fabulous will surely follow; I, for one, will be joining them.
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Carol Driver
A journalist with more than 12 years' experience writing, subbing and editing at national and regional publications and websites in the UK.

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