My review of The May Fair Hotel in London

This is my review of The May Fair Hotel in London which is operated by Radisson Edwardian, albeit unbranded, and is part of the Club Carlson loyalty scheme.

You may wonder why I was in a hotel that is three tube stops from my house.  Last year I attended an event in Stockholm organised by SAS and as part of that I was given some SAS EuroBonus points.  One redemption option is for Radisson hotels and, as I didn’t have any plans for a one way short haul Star Alliance redemption flight, this seemed like an interesting use of them.

I topped up my SAS balance with Amex Membership Rewards points.  Availability at The May Fair Hotel was VERY restricted – I booked the hotel back in September and late April was the first midweek night that fitted in with my diary!  I could book online via the SAS website and, as an added benefit, the room came with full breakfast.

May Fair Hotel Review exterior

Ten years ago there were three InterContinental hotels in London.  Park Lane, The May Fair and The Churchill (now a Hyatt).  IHG did not want to invest in full refurbishments of all three so The May Fair and The Churchill were sold.  The May Fair has tried to position itself as a ‘funky’ hotel with its slightly racy press ads and its links to London Fashion Week.  This is, unfortunately, just PR.

My stay started badly.  Reception wanted a paper voucher which I didn’t have, only an email from SAS.  I gave them my Club Carlson Gold card and they promptly allocated me the worst room they had.  It had some sort of noisy ventilation equipment outside the door, was on a corridor currently being repainted and had this view:

May Fair Hotel London review

A short discussion later and I was given something more suitable on the 6th floor overlooking the street and with lots of light. 

This is the room I had.  In terms of square footage, you really can’t complain given that this is Mayfair.  The longer I was in the room the more I began to appreciate the size.

May Fair Hotel London review

‘Sparse’, unfortunately, is the word that came to mind.  If you’d seen the furnishings in person, the word ‘cheap’ would also have popped into your head.

May Fair Hotel London review

Note the lack of a desk.  There is a scratched glass table as you can see which is next to a plug socket.  The top wobbled as round table tops often do.  Glass tables, of course, also make it impossible to use a mouse.  At least the wi-fi was fast and stable.

The mirrored wardrobes didn’t really do it for me – sitting in bed and looking at myself was a bit weird.  If you’re not alone you may find more merit in this …..

I was impressed by the size of the bathroom and the amount of marble used:

May Fair Hotel London review

Again, though, it is cheap.  There is more than enough space for a second sink so why not put one in?  Similarly, the toiletries are bolted to the wall, just like a Holiday Inn Express, as you can see on the right.

And then, the crowing glory …. when I came to make a cup of tea, I found that the cups were wrapped in plastic bags.  If you have ever done a driving holiday in the USA and stayed at low-end motels, you will recognise the look.  It isn’t classy.

May Fair Hotel London review

Intriguingly, whilst the tea tray was on gliders, you couldn’t actually pull it out because the sliding door on the wardrobe had been badly designed and did not slide back far enough ….


The May Fair Hotel does a good breakfast.  I can’t knock it.

There is a decent selection of food and it is well presented:

May Fair Hotel London review breakfast


May Fair Hotel London review breakfast

You are invited to order off menu if there is anything else you want, so I asked for an Eggs Benedict.  This was good but oddly one egg was hard boiled and the other was runny.  The staff were very attentive at all times.

The only downside, albeit I ate a little late at 9am, is that a lot of non-residents were using the restaurant for breakfast meetings.  This includes one large group of eight noisily poring over PowerPoint presentations.  This meant that the room, which is not huge in the first place given the size of the hotel, was busier than it needed to be.

The bar, not pictured, is a light and pleasant spot.  As it has its own entrance on the street, it also gets a lot of non-resident traffic.

There is no pool and I didn’t check out the gym or spa.


There is nothing fundamentally wrong with The May Fair Hotel.  The location is ideal for a huge number of things, especially Bond Street.  The rooms are modern and a good size.

For the money, however, there are plenty of other options which also fit the bill and which don’t have the issues I highlighted.  For a points redemption, I would look at the 50,000 point Club Carlson London options before spending 70,000 points here.   The key reason to stay at The May Fair Hotel is location and if that isn’t important then there are other, better, places to stay.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on its website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. Johnnycl says:

    Wow, the room looks totally naff; not what I would have expected at all.

  2. barnaby100 says:

    I have stayed there a few times. When there are z listers in they block off the bar and don’t let residents in so don’t count on being able to get a drink or sit in the bar. We have had mixed rooms, a couple of new years ago we got 2 fabulous rooms but more often similar to your first with the added view of the dead and rotting pigeons trapped on the net covering the internal quad. The staff could kindly be described as brusque. There are issues with the lifts at busy times, made worse by the fact that the staff use them for baggage and it is the only hotel I know where staff with bags and guests can be waiting for a lift and when it arrives the staff push in leaving the guests with no access to the full lift.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Why a few times? I have stayed in many places for a tenner and been treated better.

      • Barnaby100 says:

        It always has last minute points redemptions and the location is near my office

  3. barnaby100 says:

    Nothing like a good honest unsponsored hotel review. I had been a little worried recently that Head for Points was ending up like others as they were doing more sponsored stay and travel reviews. I know it is an issue, as soon as you become well known you get offered freebies and with them comes obligation. But so much better when it is frank and honest as we can see that as a gold with club carlson on a redemption you really do get offered the crappiest room and not the fabulous suite that you might get on a sponsored stay,

    • Look at the top of this page. See the Radisson ad? They are paying for that. And I am still happy to trash their hotel.

      The only difference between a stay like this and a comped room is that the comped room usually comes with a tour of the hotel which gives you a better chance to get an overall view. If I had seen the gym and spa or some of the other rooms I may have had a different view – and that view, importantly, may have been more accurate. This is just a snapshot review which may or may not be unfair to the property.

      The main reason comped stays are positive is that I wouldn’t do them if the hotel had a bad reputation. Why should I pay Anika for 2 days of her time, plus pay for a flight, just to visit somewhere which does not seem fantastic? Even if the room is free HFP still incurs substantial costs. Similarly, running such reviews in 2 parts is mainly a way of getting more content for the money spent.

  4. Raffles, or anyone, any general tips when complaining about being given a very bad room? I’m never quite sure what to say, beyond “You appear to have given me a bad room, when in fact I would prefer a good room please”

    • I was in a bad mood by this point, because most of the rooms had been taken over by a Japanese tour group who a) would have been paying peanuts and b) had no status, so I don’t recommend the approach I used :-)

      Having a Gold card to wave about helps. If I didn’t have the Gold card, I would have said that the ventilation unit outside the door – which was very noisy – would have stopped me sleeping. Complaining about the view isn’t much of a ground for a change unfortunately unless you have status. That said, if you are there early then they will have other rooms and if you are paying rack rate (and I wasn’t) you can complain in the knowledge that you are paying more than most.

      When I had a bad time at the InterCon Abu Dhabi recently the duty manager was falling over himself to compensate me because the hotel has now sold out to low yielding tour groups and, as I forgot to update my IHG account five years ago when I left banking, he thought I still worked for a major player in the UAE …..

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      In this case, I’d probably present it as not getting the Club Carlson Gold upgrade (clearly not even a ‘better view’ or ‘refurbished room’) and checking that CC details were in the booking.

      Often worth including some sort of request in the booking notes (check TripAdvisor for room tips) ‘please could I have a view of the cathedral if possible’ or even asking for a specific room number.

  5. Metatone says:

    Back when I was a regular Radisson in London user, I stayed at the May Fair once.
    My impression was that it was charging on location and wasn’t any better than other Radisson’s around the city.

  6. Rob, great review, I’ll will be staying in (not at) Mayfair this weekend and I’m glad I didn’t pick this hotel; the grief I would’ve got for that first room you had!!

    Incidentally, why is the UK light on many high end chain hotels like IC, Sofitel, Contad etc, etc. It seems other countries do have much more choice outside their Capitals. We have Stonehenge after all

  7. Sebastian says:

    Thanks for this review it has saved me wasting my points here!

  8. The reason for the mugs and glasses being plastic wrapped in Radisson Edwardian hotels is that they were exposed in Panorama a few years ago for shonky practices, in particular using low paid untrained staff who didn’t know what to do when servicing rooms. Video footage included someone cleaning a glass with a toilet brush! So something reassuring had to be done to try to repair the brand. Certainly I was pleased to see the plastic wrapping next time I visited a property!

    • I expect the plastic wrapping is put on after they have cleaned the glasses and cups with the toilet brush… :))

    • The_Real_A says:

      I too have no issues with this. Since i understand standard procedure is to the dry off cups with the previous occupants towels, i always pack a small bottle of washing up liquid to do my own cleaning before enjoying a cup of tea.

  9. Nice review,

    Quoting this from your article:
    ” Glass tables, of course, also make it impossible to use a mouse. At least the wi-fi was fast and stable.”

    Have you ever considered or looked at this wireless beauty, the Logitech MX mouse. The travel version is called MX Anywhere, and I highly recommend it. Works on any surface, including glass.

  10. I have never found ANY availability in this hotel with SAS points. You must have gotten very lucky.

  11. I saw the Sooty and Sweep Show at the Mayfair in the 70s, had wonderful club sandwiches in their Coffee Shop but can’t, for the life of me, remember the rooms back then. Think Grand Met ran it in those days.

  12. O/T but is anyone still waiting on Hailo bonus (and base!) points from February? Mine haven’t posted yet.

    • Apparently a lot just posted looking at my emails.

    • Mine posted (bonus and base) for a taxi in March. The second taxi I took that night also on hailo hasn’t posted the base points so I should really chase that up!

    • Johnnycl says:

      Standard points from Feb and March plus bonus posted for me the other week.

  13. OT: I have 2000 Marriot Reward points expiring. Can I use them for anything? I cannot even donate them to charity, minimum is 2500.

  14. My usual line is are you taking the piss (without the swearing) and moan moan moan until you get what you want it’s only the way this world works!

    On a serious note had cocktails in here the place is a rip off and the rooms compound it one word for a hotel in Mayfair…..garbage

  15. pazza2000 says:

    I much prefer the more modest Mercer Street (Radisson Blu), beats the Radisson Blu Hampshire also which is the other 5* Carlson property in London alongside The May Fair.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Agree Mercer is great (feels much more boutiquey), although the rooms are a bit smaller.

      Westminster Bridge probably my top Carlson pick in the city though – the riverview suites have sensational views (and balconies) for only £300 or so even on summer weekends.

      • pazza2000 says:

        I like the Westminister PP. Not a fan of the Riverbank PP or Plaza on the River (another Carlson 5*) along the road however. Always been lucky with Mercer re. room size, they tend to acknowledge Club Carlson Gold.

  16. Yep, had to endure a mid morning meeting here not that long ago, but the food was surprisingly good…

  17. I stayed here recently – the rooms are very poor for the price, absolutely no character. Concierge staff not very good, and overall poor service for the price in my opinion. Wouldn’t go back.