Fashion and art are in the DNA of The Westbury in the heart of London’s Mayfair.

That’s what I was told on a tour of the recently refurbished Luxury Collection hotel… but I’d already worked that out for myself.

The first indication came before even setting foot in what’s billed as “Bond Street’s only hotel” (although it’s actually a few steps away in Conduit Street).

At the art deco entrance was a fine visiting artwork by South Korean artist Kim In Tae – a huge sculpture of a bear which incorporated hundreds of butterflies in its metal structure.

More artworks were displayed in the grand lobby and other public areas but it was some of the more subtle touches that showed the Marriott group establishment’s commitment to creating an interesting environment for its guests.

Heading to my room on the sixth floor, the photographs in the corridors were all of 1960s scenes and fashions; on the way to the small gym on the second floor, the pictures were from the Roaring Twenties.

General manager Andrew Henning later confirmed that, yes, each floor featured a different decade.

And the photographs in the lifts, of US stars in the 1950s, had a link to the hotel’s origins - it was established by the polo-playing Phipps family in 1955.

It’s said to have been the first hotel to be built in the capital post WWII in which Conduit and Bond streets were badly bombed and the first five-star American hotel in London. It’s had a few changes of ownership as well as decor since the days when Jackie Onassis stayed there, but the understated glamour and excellent service remain.

The most recent refurbishment has seen extensive renovation of its 225 bedrooms and an increase of its suites to 64 but, despite its size, it has the feel of a boutique hotel.

My spacious suite featured elegant dark wood with tasteful silver grey and purple furnishings, along with crisp white bedding and large Italian marble bathroom.

All the touches you’d expect from a luxury hotel were there - robe, slippers and fluffy towels, a fine selection of toiletries (Asprey), free Wi-Fi – and a few unexpected, like the smartphones to make unlimited local and international calls for free.

Oxford Mail:

The hotel tour revealed that the regular rooms were also fairly spacious, certainly by London standards, and the top end suites were not only large and stylish but had terraces with great views over London’s most exclusive shopping area.

Dinner that evening was at Alyn Williams at The Westbury, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Alyn wasn’t in attendance, but in the capable hands of head chef Tom Booton we enjoyed a superb nine-course tasting menu (£90 or £160 with matching wine).

Then it was on to the hotel’s swish Polo bar, with its Swarovski crystal fittings, Fendi furnishings and polished marble bar, where we sampled its newly-launched Nightcap menu (£9.50 to £33).

“I’d love an espresso Martini but I’ll never sleep,” I lamented.

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That, of course, was no problem in the bar credited as being the birthplace of the Tom Collins cocktail and a decaff version was swiftly served up.

The next morning we took advantage of London Art Week. Unlike Oxfordshire Artweeks, it’s not artists’ studios which are open to the public but galleries. The galleries are in fact open year round but the aim is to encourage more people through what may sometimes seem their intimidating doors.

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On a quick visit to half a dozen or so high end establishments, all within easy walking distance of The Westbury, we found people passionate about their wares and more than happy to share their knowledge. The next of the twice-yearly art weeks, which also feature talks and special exhibitions, is Thursday June 27 to Friday July 5, 2019 (

High fashion is also on the hotel’s doorstep but not having the means to shop in the likes of Chanel, Dior et al, I stuck to window shopping on the way to The Royal Academy of Arts.

Enough culture, it was time to feed the body as well as the soul with a delightful afternoon tea. There were tasty twists of Coronation chicken on brioche and cucumber sandwiches with wasabi, along with beautiful patisserie and scones.

We walked off a few of the calories on a fun and informative walking tour, which the hotel offers free of charge, with entertaining concierge Duncan Dickenson.

That was just as well as dinner that evening at nearby Indian Accent ( was another delight, with inventive fare a world away from the usual curry house offerings. Perfectly spiced and beautifully presented dishes; everything from the amuse bouche of spiced soup with blue cheese stuffed fluffy paratha and on was magnificent.

Full of kulcha and culture we retired happily to bed.

The facts:

  • The Westbury, 37 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF
  • Contact: Call 020 7629 7755 or book at
  • Rates start from £279 for a Signature King room
  • Afternoon tea is offered at The Westbury in partnership with the East India Tea Company. It is served in the Polo Bar (noon to 4pm, £48 or £58 with a glass of Moet)
  • Explore the area’s creativity at London Art Week, the next of the twice-yearly art weeks is June 27-July 5. See