The appealing aspect of The May Fair London for me is location. The hotel is centrally located near the Royal Parks of The Green Park and Hyde Park, about 15 minutes walk south to Buckingham Palace or north to Selfridge’s on Oxford Street and only about 200 yards from the Green Park Underground on the Piccadilly Line with direct service to London Heathrow.
Guest arriving at The May Fair London in a brilliant green Lamborghini
Best of all for me is the proximity of The May Fair to several grocery stores, including Sainsbury’s across the street and Marks & Spencer next to Green Park Underground, about three minutes walk.
The location met my primary needs with 300 to 350 square feet rooms, large by London hotel standards, and easy access to food and beer at the markets. Loads of HDTV channels with several focused on British history (Yesterday Channel) and reruns of British mystery shows (Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Vera, A Touch of Frost, Prime Suspect and more) met Kelley’s primary needs for in-room entertainment.
The end of an era for Club Carlson Visa 2-for-1 nights
Last October, when I purchased WOW Air tickets from Boston to Copenhagen, my plan was to spend a couple of weeks touring Scandinavia and staying in Nordic Choice Hotels redeeming Choice Privileges points.
My plans changed once Club Carlson announced the free night on award stays of two or more nights would cease as a Club Carlson Visa card member benefit effective June 1, 2015.
Kelley is deeply interested in London history and British Royals and Club Carlson is a fantastic program for London hotels with 18 properties. The May Fair is their flagship property for London.
We stayed at The May Fair for two nights in November 2014 and it was by far our largest and quietest room in London during that trip.
The May Fair lobby late at night
Club Carlson London Exchange Rates:
210,000 points = £2,230 = $3,480 for six nights at The May Fair Hotel
Hotel rates in London are astronomical for high end properties. I booked three 2-night award stays in early May at The May Fair Hotel London for our July trip.
The May Fair Hotel stay #1 lowest rate was £410 per night when I booked our first award stay on Monday and Tuesday nights July 6-7. At an exchange rate of £1 = $1.56, the nightly rate was $640 USD.
We stayed at the InterContinental Park Lane on Wednesday night using one free night from fall 2014 Into the Nights promotion. The advance purchase lowest rate for that hotel night at time of booking was £382 per night = $596 USD. We were upgraded from an interior courtyard room with no view to an exterior room with a view of the Four Seasons hotel.
Loyalty Traveler – Into the ‘Free’ Nights at InterContinental London Park Lane
The May Fair stay #2 for Thursday and Friday nights July 9-10 had a lower published room rate of £375 per night = $585 USD. I made sure to break each Club Carlson 2-night award stay using points with one night at another hotel, so there would be no issue with one free night on each Club Carlson stay at The May Fair.
Saturday night, July 12, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock using 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points. Kelley loved the hotel location in Camden ‘party’ Town area of London. She says she wants to stay there again when we return to London.
Loyalty Traveler – Rock history and a view at Holiday Inn London Camden Lock
There was a substantial rate drop for The May Fair to £330 per night = $515 USD for our third stay booked on points for Sunday and Monday nights July 12-13.
All together, six nights at The May Fair cost us 210,000 points for this Club Carlson category 7 hotel with lowest published room rates at $3,480 USD for a redemption value of $16.57 per 1,000 Club Carlson points.
Check-In at The May Fair London
Really, the only thing to share about check-in is the drink coupons provided for one free drink for each night of our stay.
May Fair Bar
Those six drink coupons could have had more than $100 in value in free cocktails at May Fair Bar. We had intentions each day to go have drinks at the bar, but we never made it during any of our six nights at the hotel.
Honestly, we were content to watch Wimbledon tennis, Tour de France and British mystery and history shows in our hotel room with big bottles of cold Stella Artois and Indian food meals purchased from Sainsbury’s across the street from the hotel. We toured London during the day and used our May Fair hotel room like a residence most evenings.
Room Stay #1: Deluxe Room 855 on Eighth floor, interior view
Three days walking miles and miles over cobblestones in Copenhagen tore up Kelley’s feet with blisters and fried our brains, when daytime temperatures were in the 90s during a blistering European continental heat wave. London had hit the high 90s too.
I only took one photo of our first hotel room at The May Fair, where we were upgraded to a Deluxe room.
The closet door was not level and would slide open. This room was the only room we stayed in with hardwood floors. Room size was about 33 sqm or 355 sq. ft. The May Fair rooms are fairly basic with the bathrooms being the main area of distinction.
The InterContnental Park Lane had much nicer furnishings and felt like a luxury hotel room. Our room at InterContinental Park Lane was only about 275 sq. ft.
The May Fair bathroom was large with a tub and separate shower and two sinks. Most notable about the room was a stair down into the bathroom. I worried one of us would forget about the step and trip face down on the hard marble floor in the middle of the night. My suggestion for the hotel would be to install a little night light by the bathroom step.
We did not trip and fall during our stay.
Room 855 had three windows and no view, except for other room windows. We were in a corner of the hotel, so the adjacent corner room windows were only a couple feet away.
Last November we stayed in an exterior view 8th floor room.
The May Fair view of Lansdowne House.
Lansdowne House was built as a private residence in the 1760s near Berkeley Square. Lansdowne House was the residence of several British Prime Ministers and owned for a time (1921-29) by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American founder of Selfridge’s retail store in London. The building now houses Lansdowne Club, established in 1935 as a ‘social, residential and athletic Club for members of social standing’ and their families.
Loyalty Traveler – Ritzy enough for The May Fair London (Dec 4, 2014)
Room #2 Deluxe Room 355, interior view
Our second stay took us down several floors to an interior view 3rd floor room in the exact same corner as the previous room. This time I took room photos.
Room 355 compared to room 855 was like one of those spot the differences puzzles.
- Room 855 did not have large headboard.
- Room 855 did not have carpet.
- Room 855 had a different bed lamp style.
- Room 355 had two steps down into the bathroom and still no night light to illuminate the steps in the dark.
The May Fair Room 355 TV and electronic mini-bar cabinet with coffee maker. Not a fancy Keurig or Illy coffee maker, but rather a noisy heated water kind of coffee maker with freeze dried coffee packets. Kelley said she hated the noisy water kettle. There were two bags of candy as a welcome amenity gift. They were some chewy jelly bean type candy and not something I ate. I’m a chocolate guy.
The May Fair Room 355 difference #5 is one window compared to three windows in 855. Windows opened for fresh air.
Bathroom products were Gilchrist & Soames in large containers.
The bathroom had a full-size tub and walk in shower without a door. Amazingly, in four nights I never photographed the deluxe room showers or tubs.
I did photograph the two bathroom steps of room 355.
The May Fair room #355 view
Of note is Kelley thought the exterior room at InterContinental Park Lane was very noisy in the morning when delivery trucks service the hotels. Basically, interior courtyard rooms trade lack of view for quieter rooms. If this had been our first time in London, I’d probably have been very depressed with the room views. I learned from our previous stays that truck and vehicle noise can ruin a night’s sleep. I did not mind the trade-off of lack of views for quiet room nights.
Our stay at Holiday Inn Camden Lock gave us a terrific view and the loudest hotel room noise of our two week trip.
Camden Lock on a warm Saturday afternoon.
The May Fair Hotel Interior Spaces
Even though I stay frequently in hotels, I generally do not enjoy the public spaces of many luxury hotels. I have stayed at The May Fair a total of eight nights in the past year, but I never felt comfortable about taking hotel photos in the public spaces. There are just too many suits around the place.
I walked up the stairs from the lobby with my camera one time when the three small elevators were taking too long.
The first floor of The May Fair had some seating, the Business Center and a reception space under a clear courtyard ceiling.
The view of the May Fair through the clear mezzanine ceiling shows the three windows of the 8th floor interior facing rooms. That might be room 855 in the right corner of the photo.
The May Fair Superior Room 219 Blu Dungeon View
We joked upon our return for the third May Fair Hotel stay that we would either have a bathroom with three steps or a basement room. Actually, there were no steps in the bathroom. Our room downgrade was to a superior room with a combination shower/bath and a single sink. The room was smaller at about 300 sq. ft. and at the end of the hall. The advantage of the second floor room was the option to walk the stairs rather than waiting for one of the three elevators to the lobby.
The South Wall of Room 219.
The bathroom had only one sink in our superior room.
Of course the distinguishing room feature was the view.
We had been relegated to The May Fair dungeon in Room 219 at the end of the hall. Accentuating the positive, our thoughts turned to the fact that we would be the first guests out of the hotel with fire escape stairs, both outside the room door and the room windows.
The May Fair Room 219 Blu Dungeon View at night.
Glad we did not pay £330 per night for room 219.
Seriously though, the hotel location met our objective. After our first night at The May Fair we walked 15 minutes over to Hyde Park for the 7 July Memorial Commemoration, where we saw Prince William.
Prince William seated at the 7 July bombings ten year commemoration.
Loyalty Traveler – London 7 July Memorial Hyde Park Ten Years After (July 7, 2015)
On our second stay at The May Fair, we walked out of the hotel to Green Park with our destination being the Royal Mews to see horses at Buckingham Palace. We saw crowds heading to Buckingham Palace. Unknown to us at the time was the morning included a balcony presentation of Queen Elizabeth and several royals for the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary flypass.
Queen Elizabeth II waving from balcony of Buckingham Palace July 10, 2015.
Loyalty Traveler – So much owed by so many to so few, London 75th Anniversary Commemoration of Battle of Britain (July 10, 2015).
The May Fair Hotel was all about location for us. If not for our hotel stays at The May Fair, we would have probably missed these Royal sightings.
210,000 Club Carlson points for six nights at The May Fair in London and photo opportunities of Prince William and Queen Elizabeth II provided once in a lifetime moments for this trip to London.
That redemption value was priceless for Kelley who had the London trip of her dreams.
Scandinavia Next Summer
In my opinion, Choice Privileges points offer better value than Club Carlson points for Scandinavia. So I changed our trip from a focus on Norway and Sweden to Copenhagen and London this summer with four nights at Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen and six nights at The May Fair in my purge of 310,000 Club Carlson points using the 2-for-1 Club Carlson Visa card member benefit. Our plans include travel to Amsterdam and Stockholm in 2016 with another 8 nights booked at Club Carlson hotels for 200,000 points.
Thanks Club Carlson for the London memories.