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.
The Hotel Guest Experience
“As a hotel guest we really aim to immerse you into the local community… to include our guests fully—as soon as they arrive at our hotel, guests will have access to all members’ areas in The Club at The Twenty Two: The Living Room, The Dining Room, The Vault Bar and The Music Room, to become a real part of London and the cultural melting pot that it is.”
The Club Member Experience
“As for members, we aim to provide them with a destination for any time of day—whether it’s popping in for a fresh juice after breakfast or joining us for a late-night cocktail. We want to be that easy destination that they can just pop into without having to put too much planning into it. That is why our leading mantra is to ‘Come as you are.’ In addition, we are working on some great programming around our brand pillars of wellness, art and film to ensure a constant dialogue amongst our members and our global community.”
The Nonexistent Dress Code
“First and foremost, we want our members to feel comfortable to come as they are—we won’t have a dress code and feel this is important to allow freedom of creativity and expression.”
The Demand for Private Exclusivity
“I think the demand has always been there, but particularly with the limitations we’ve all faced over the past two years, there’s definitely a desire for something new and exciting.”
What Guests Want…
“A certain standard of service is always expected when staying in Mayfair, and I don’t think this has changed; whether it’s the quality of bedding or butler service for each room.”
… And How The Twenty Two Will Meet Those Desires
“The Twenty Two will aim to offer a uniquely personalized level of service; the ultimate level of luxury. Returning guests will also see changes to their room that reflect their known preferences, whether that be an eclectic playlist or a selection of books bespoke to that individual.”
The Cocktail Menu Standouts
“One of the most interesting—and what I predict will be most popular—will be our own in-house spirits. There will be a couple of spirits behind the bars and within the minibars that have been created specifically for us. In addition, our wine list will be very diverse—there will be a lot of biodynamic wines on it, organic wines, vegan wines. There’s a lot of attention being paid to beverages as well as food.”
Darius’s Favorite Room
“That’s a tricky one! I’ve been living and breathing this project for years now, so there are many nooks and corners that I favor. But if I had to choose my most-loved spot, it is a particular bedroom that has a truly exceptional balcony which looks out onto Grosvenor Square.”
And Finally… Darius’s “Must-Do’s” in Mayfair
For Coffee: District on Brooks Mews
For Pastries: Connaught Patisserie
For Lunch: Mercato Metropolitano
For Dinner: Bibi
For Art, Design and More: Phillips Gallery on Berkeley Square
Don’t miss the opening of this groundbreaking new hotel and club, The Twenty Two, coming to Grosvenor Square soon!