For decades, the posh clubs of London have remained closed off—cosseted, velvety sanctuaries of exclusion. “London is unique in its club culture and is very restrictive for international visitors in that regard,” explains Darius Namdar. That’s about to change, thanks to the opening of The Twenty Two, a new hotel and private members club opening in Mayfair this spring.Born and raised in London, Namdar began his hospitality career in the kitchen of the historic restaurant Wheeler’s on St. James, established in 1856 and credited as “the world’s oldest and finest fish brand.” But after working as assistant maitre d’ at The Wolseley, he discovered a back-of-house role wasn’t where he belonged. He went on to help launch Chiltern Firehouse and Mayfair’s The Beaumont Hotel in 2013 and 2014 before serving as club director of the members-only Mark’s Club, near Mayfair’s leafy Berkeley Square. Now, he’s moved to the nearby Grosvenor Square to be The Twenty Two’s managing director.The new hotel and club showcases a marriage between modernity and Edwardian grandeur. Inside a historic limestone townhouse with original double-height ceilings, silks cover the walls and crimson velvet drapes line the windows. It fits right in on a square that was once the home of the Bentley Boys, Oscar Wilde and the U.S. Embassy (the square still has statues of U.S. presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan).And yet…The Twenty Two won’t be your typical Old School London club. The dining will emphasize contemporary British and Mediterranean food and highlight local suppliers. Most shocking: Don’t expect a dress code.Below, Namdar shares a sneak peek of what guests and members can expect from this exciting new property, plus information on trends in the travel industry and his favorite room in the hotel.
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