Exploring the Inner Workings of London’s Foremost Sustainable Hotel: 1 Hotel Mayfair

The illustrious 1 Hotel brand has ventured into the British landscape, and if it fails to secure acclaim as one of London’s premier establishments, it would be a profoundly startling revelation. The inaugural European site for 1 Hotels, a pioneering eco-conscious hotel brand, graces the esteemed locale of Mayfair, nestled on the historic Berkeley Street, directly facing The Ritz and Green Park. 

Its strategic positioning amidst prestigious art galleries, Michelin-starred culinary havens, and upscale shopping avenues like Bond Street, Mount Street, and Regent Street, coupled with its proximity to landmarks such as the Royal Academy of Arts and Buckingham Palace, provides an exclusive opportunity to relish the finest aspects of London city life while immersing oneself in the natural splendors of Green Park. However, a prime location alone does not define an outstanding hotel, and 1 Hotel Mayfair proves itself exceptional. What sets it apart?

Foremost, it would be an oversight not to underscore the brand’s unwavering commitment to sustainability. The principles of biophilic design guided every decision in shaping this establishment, commencing with the pivotal choice to repurpose and refurbish two pre-existing Mayfair structures rather than opting for ground-up construction. 

This approach resulted in the preservation of over 80% of the existing edifices, curbing the generation of embodied carbon during demolition and construction, minimizing construction waste, and aligning the project with BREEAM Excellent standards.

The addition of two new floors atop the structure facilitated the incorporation of 44 expansive suites, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that afford panoramic views of Green Park or the Piccadilly skyline. An entirely automated guest room management system curtails electricity consumption, marking just one facet of the multifaceted commitment to sustainability. 

As part of its dedication to eco-friendly practices, 1 Hotels has joined forces with Eco-Age, spearheaded by Livia Firth (spouse of actor Colin Firth), a leading sustainability consultancy. This partnership ensures that environmentally focused initiatives not only hold credibility but also captivate the audience with compelling narratives.

The dedication to sustainability becomes palpable from the guests’ initial encounter as they are welcomed by a living, verdant tapestry. The foyer is adorned with over 1,300 individual plants and a diverse array of 200-plus local and indigenous plant species, a collaborative effort between London-based design studio G.A Group and the internal design team of SH Hotels & Resorts. 

Stepping into the expansive lobby, accessed through bespoke bronze doors, visitors are greeted by the tranquil melody of cascading water, reminiscent of formal garden waterfalls. Notable design features include the “Rainforest,” a bespoke “living” chandelier crafted by nature-inspired artist Patrick Nadeau, suspended from the ceiling, comprising 50,000 strands of air plants, magically illuminated from above. 

Artistry also takes center stage, with original works by British artists strategically placed to evoke a profound connection to the landscapes of the United Kingdom. Prominent pieces include Steve McPherson’s thought-provoking marine plastic artwork “Flow” and Kate MccGwire’s integrated sculpture “Torrent” in the Dover Yard bar.

The reception desk itself deserves special mention, hewn from a single 200-year-old weathered oak tree naturally sourced from the Balcombe Estate in West Sussex. Adding to the organic allure, the lobby is furnished with bespoke furniture crafted using traditional techniques and adorned with natural fabrics.

Now, turning our attention to the accommodations. 1 Hotel Mayfair boasts 181 rooms, including 44 suites, each exuding a Zen ambiance, accentuated by native plants and a preserved moss-covered wall. The room interiors reflect a conscientious commitment to natural materials, ranging from responsibly sourced British oak flooring to a private bar crafted from timber and responsibly hand-wrapped woven jute. 

Sustainable wood finds its place in nightstands, chalkboard notepads take shape from reclaimed tree stumps, and local artisans contribute with handcrafted leather baskets and trays. Bathrooms feature textured limestone walls harmonizing with sleek dark vanities hewn from Welsh slate. Each room is equipped with a spout delivering fresh, filtered water – a first for a London hotel.

Noteworthy are the property’s four exceptional signature suites. The seventh-floor Green Park Penthouse, with its double-height layout, stands as Mayfair’s most capacious one-bedroom suite, complete with a sweeping wrap-around terrace and retractable sliding doors revealing panoramic park views. The Garden Terrace suite boasts a private terrace and seating area, offering vistas of Mayfair’s cinematic rooftop panorama. 

The Piccadilly Greenhouse suite, with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, provides guests with a bird’s-eye view of London, accompanied by a private dining area for six. Lastly, the Dover Terrace Suite, surrounded by a wraparound terrace overlooking Piccadilly, features an expansive outdoor dining and entertaining space, affording unobstructed views of London’s skyline.

1 Hotel Mayfair plays host to various restaurants and bar concepts, all embodying the brand’s sustainable, eco-conscious approach to dining. Dovetale, curated by two Michelin Star Chef Tom Sellers, focuses on reimagining modern European cuisine and Mayfair classics. The raw bar showcases British shellfish, including Orkney scallops, dressed Cornish crab, and N25 Oscietra caviar. Dovetale’s on-site butcher offers meticulously aged and cut steaks from the UK’s premier meat suppliers. 

The Knickerbocker Glory trolley, an innovation by Sellers in collaboration with Seymourpowell, enables guests to indulge in bespoke dessert creations or choose from four classic options. The wine program emphasizes sustainable and organic bottles, small growers, and new-wave producers, along with an extensive selection of Champagnes and back vintages from esteemed houses.

The dining ambiance, crafted by Dion & Arles, features pale wood, terrazzo flooring, oversized mirrors, and olive-green chairs, complemented by a charming adjacent terrace complete with an open fireplace, facilitating year-round drinking and dining accessed via Dover Yard.

Dover Yard also hosts two additional establishments, a destination bar offering casual bites and pre-dinner drinks, and Neighbours, a cafe presenting healthy grab-and-go snacks, cold-pressed juices, artisan coffee, as well as wine, classic cocktails, and local snacks in the evening.

A hotel experience wouldn’t be complete without a spa, and 1 Hotel Mayfair excels in this regard with the Bamford Wellness Spa. This earthly sanctuary offers an exclusive array of holistic treatments, services, and classes designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit, aligning with founder Carole Bamford’s holistic approach inspired by her inaugural wellness spa at Daylesford Organic Farm in the Cotswolds. 

The spa prioritizes organic and natural treatments over cutting-edge, results-driven facials. Additionally, the Field House Fitness Center promotes well-being and intentional living with cutting-edge equipment from TechnoGym, along with sessions spanning stress reduction, strength training, endurance building, yoga practice, outdoor fitness classes, and personalized training sessions with experienced trainers.

Finally, rounding off the hotel experience is the provision of a dedicated house car, a rarity in modern hospitality. 1 Hotel Mayfair’s fleet comprises electric Audi house cars such as the Q8 e-tron, Q8 Sportback e-tron, and RS e-tron GT.

1 Hotel Mayfair’s address is 3 Berkeley St, London W1J 8DJ.