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Mayfair

_97_01_97_01Mayfair is famous in the popular mind as the most expensive property on the Monopoly board. It is the place to look if you need a mansion. It is one of the few places in central London where the really wealthy can find an extremely large house with staff quarters, impressive reception rooms and garaging for several cars. Equally, however, it offers tiny mews houses and small flats, as well as everything in between.

Neatly bordered to the north by the capital’s main shopping street, Oxford Street, to the east by Regent Street, to the south by Piccadilly, which separates it from St James’s (which has a flavour all of its own), and to the west by the open space of Hyde Park, Mayfair offers street after street, square after mews, of houses built in every architectural style between 1700 and 2000, large mansion blocks and serviced apartment buildings.

It has quiet corners and bustling thoroughfares, but as a broad generalization, further west is smarter and quieter. And much of it still retains a village-like feel, despite its proximity to Oxford Street and hosting the nation’s most exclusive shopping street, Bond Street, home to the flagship stores of international fashion labels known the world over.

Mayfair is also undergoing something of a renaissance. In the years after the War, large tranches of the district were given over to commercial office space and the area had a somewhat unlived-in feel. This is now changing as the Grosvenor Estate, the area’s biggest landowner, is converting buildings back to residential use. Similarly, Mount Street has been revitalized as one of the capital’s premier shopping streets

The area also boasts some of London’s finest hotels (The Connaught, Claridges and The Dorchester); its most fashionable restaurants (Scotts, Alain Ducasse and Sketch); as well as private members’ clubs (5 Hertford St, Birley’s, Annabels and The Arts Club).

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