When people say London's iconic May Fair
hotel has been "refurbished," Charles Oak is somewhat taken aback.
He uses the word "reborn" to describe the hotel's recent overhaul.
seems to be a strange word to use, since we have effectively
physically touched every inch of the building," said Oak, who is
general manager of the 406-room property.
Located in London's
Mayfair section amid other icons such as Piccadilly, Bond Street,
Knightsbridge, Green Park and Buckingham Palace, the hotel is one
of the city's grande dames.
hotel had started to show its age, but a few years ago its new
owners invested $150 million into upgrading virtually every aspect
of the property. The May Fair is part of the Radisson Edwardian
Hotels luxury chain.
"We had a lot of
work to bring it up to date, without really compromising the
integrity of the building," Oak said. "We wanted to work
effectively towards bringing the May Fair back to what it used to
hotel remains very traditional in appearance.
But inside, the
property is stylish and boldly contemporary.
"We've taken every
bit of the building and played around a bit and tweaked it to make the best use of the
space, while trying to keep the best that the original building had
to offer," Oak said.
The original floor
plan for the hotel has not changed dramatically, he said. The
original Crystal banquet/meeting room, the theater and all of the
suites are still there.
has changed at all," he said. "But we've made fantastic use of the
For instance, the
hotel's "U shape" inspired the architects to create a new atrium,
now used for "very smart cocktail parties, dinners, lunches," Oak
Twenty rooms with
private balconies were added to one side of the
are unique for London [hotels]," Oak said. "When London is basking
in beautiful sunshine, all of the guests in those rooms are having
their breakfast out on the terrace, which is quite lovely for
A modern aesthetic
Along with the new
spaces came a modern aesthetic that can be seen throughout the
Guests will notice
stylish, Fendi-designed sofas and chairs accenting the new lobby,
and Baccarat-crafted chandeliers enhance the public
The hotel's guest
rooms also "have been given a very fresh, modern, dynamic
face-lift," Oak said. All guest rooms also have Wi-Fi Internet
But the most
eye-catching addition to the May Fair is the new penthouse suite
that occupies the entire ninth floor, which was added to the hotel
as part of the renovation.
"It is an enormous,
two bedroom penthouse suite," Oak said. "It has a
100-foot-by-8-foot terrace with one of the best views of
amenities include a spa, restaurants, a 24-hour business center and
15,000 square feet of meetings space.
the May Fair has once again become a London hot spot.
"The media has
responded to us particularly well," said Linda Plant, the hotel's
The positive buzz
surrounding the newly reborn hotel even inspired pop singer Pink to
film a music video at the property recently.
But while much has
changed about the May Fair, one aspect of the hotel
"We wanted to
retain that intimacy and keep that boutique feeling about it," Oak
said. "The feedback that we get from our clients, particularly
those that have stayed with us for the past 20 years, is that we
haven't lost the intimacy or boutique feel.
"We are very
conscious that we have a legendary building here," Oak added. "It
was a huge responsibility to get it just right."
reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].