London Luxury Quarter Insider

Fifth Issue



Each October, the annual art world colossus that is Frieze London returns and 2015 saw no fewer than 10 new galleries open within London Luxury Quarter. Italy’s Tornabuoni Art opened a flagship in Albemarle Street alongside three newcomers in the form of design galleries Patrick Seguin, Dutko and Achille Salvagni. A refashioning of the former Savills HQ in Grosvenor Hill by Gagosian Gallery, provided the city with their third space and one of the most high-profile openings.

The proportion of gallery openings is a sure sign of just how powerful the allure of London Luxury Quarter is. As a venue for art galleries, London Luxury Quarter has history on its side; the major auction houses, such as Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s are all based in the area, as are a number of major picture and antique dealers, jewel houses and flagship boutiques. One could say there has always been safety in numbers, but more importantly, it makes sound commercial sense to operate in London Luxury Quarter. London is the centre of contemporary art and London Luxury Quarter is the centre of luxury; with abundant galleries in the surrounding streets the area provides a context for art.

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Born in Spain, Laura moved to London at a young age and in 1996, set up a cafe and bar in the West End that ran until 2002, when she sold the business. Laura arrived at The Ivy in 2002, quickly rising through the ranks to become Restaurant Manager in 2005. In 2007, she moved to New York as the Assistant General Manager of the much-talked-about Monkey Bar. After a year, she moved to open Soho House West Hollywood, as Food & Beverage Director. This was a turning point in her career, where she honed the experience gained from these three major culinary cities and developed a more diverse and rounded approach to hospitality. Returning to the UK in 2009, she worked at Scott’s of Mayfair, whilst overseeing the project build for 34 Mayfair, which opened in November 2011. Her role is now to oversee the development of the group’s restaurants, clubs and bars. Laura has worked closely with Caprice Holdings’ Chairman, Richard Caring, on the group’s latest project, Sexy Fish, which opened in Berkeley Square in October 2015.

You oversee the smooth running of several restaurants within London Luxury Quarter (Sexy Fish, 34 Mayfair, Scott’s, The Mount Street Deli etc.). What makes the area special?
There are so many different walks of life in London Luxury Quarter; shoppers, tourists, hedge funders, residents, gallery and museum workers, hotel and restaurant workers – and the list goes on. It is a real melting pot, but there is a strong sense of community. It makes sense for us to operate in London Luxury Quarter because more great restaurants are coming into the area and it is making a name for itself as a destination for great dining.

What positive changes have you noticed to the area in recent years?
London Luxury Quarter of today is markedly different from that of, say, 20 years ago. The buildings are beautiful and have been there for centuries, but the retail outlets have really stepped up their game and there are some fabulous brands in our corner of London. Things are a more relaxed and less secretive. Galleries have flocked here, as it is now the non-negotiable location for bigger art houses. I think all of this is positive and attracts all sorts of interesting people to the neighbourhood.

How do you think London compares to other cities in terms of restaurants, and food and leisure innovation?
London’s food scene stands alone, in terms of diversity, innovation and excitement. I honestly think it has surpassed all other major cities. Apart from the obvious technological advances (booking systems on tablets and smart phones are now par for the course), there has been a huge rise in the number of casual, non-bookable restaurants; there are lots of new international restaurants (South American, Scandinavian etc.); and there is a great appetite for themed cuisines (e.g. pulled pork, burgers, hot dogs etc.). Street food stalls are now growing into premises and becoming more established; Asian-style food is more authentic and more prevalent; and there is a new found craving for raw, deconstructed and fermented food. Where we thrive is in the arena of people wanting the whole package – good food, drink, ambiance and service. Our training programmes are designed to give our staff the tools to deliver the best possible service they can, and there is great team spirit amongst our teams across the Caprice Holdings group.

Where does the inspiration for a new opening come from?
In general, there is a tried-and-tested process to follow when opening a restaurant, but before this, there is a lot of talking that needs to happen. Inspiration can be found anywhere: travel, books, talking to people, seeing something you like, eating something good, and trying something new. Sexy Fish was in our Chairman Richard’s head, he was determined to make something of his ideas. We talked a lot and then set to work, everything was cherry-picked. We followed an A to Z path with lots of diversions along the way. Design, attention to detail, comfort, analysis of customers and what makes them happy and feel special, what could we do better in existing sites; an ‘always striving to do better’ stream of consciousness.

What is the secret to success in today’s competitive climate?
There are a few things that we focus on, which I think would generally contribute to anyone’s success. Consistency is paramount, but you can only achieve consistency if you are not complacent. It is important to always strive to be better, never to think you have learned it all, and always encourage your team not to believe the “hype”. Training and encouragement, again, spring to mind – this is my mantra!

What comes next?
Watch this space!

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Record Breaking LLQ
169 New Bond Street, let to luxury watch and jewelry brand Piaget, has been bought by a private UK investor for £65m equating to a capital value of £18,500/sq ft. The deal for the 3,500 sq ft boutique, represents the highest price paid, per sq ft, for a UK real estate asset – breaking the record set earlier in the year when Hong Kong tycoon Ian Ng paid a US investor just under £40m (more than £13,000/sq ft) for the 2,827 sq ft 31 Old Bond Street store. The previous capital value record is understood to be around £11,000/sq ft.

Movers and Shakers
The Knight Frank Retail team, together with DMA, have launched 1-3 Avery Row, Mayfair, W1 to the market. This property is located in the heart of Mayfair, home to some of the world’s leading luxury brands such as Canali, Smythson, Fendi and Dior. The building, which is the former Cartier watch workshop, provides just over 6,000 sq ft and is arranged over five floors. Joint advisors, Knight Frank and DMA, are quoting a guide price of £600,000 per annum.

CBRE announced that it has acquired Michael Horwitz & Company, a London-based retail property advisor specialising in the luxury goods retail sector. The move follows CBRE’s acquisition of the luxury retail property advisor Michael Peddar & Co. in 2011, and further strengthens the company’s retail property advisory and transaction service offer, for clients operating within the growing luxury goods and lifestyle sector.

St James’s – Jewel in the Crown
The Crown Estate has acquired 60,000 sq ft of office and retail space at 117 Jermyn Street for £67m from DTZ Investors, adding to its existing St James’s holdings, where it owns around 50 per cent of the buildings.

The Crown Estate’s £500m investment in St James’s is guided by a clear strategy to protect St James’s future as a distinct niche in the West End office market, and a world renowned destination for shops and restaurants. It will also build on the area’s residential character and improve the public realm by redressing the balance between pedestrians and motorists.

As part of this investment, St James’s Market, a £400m joint venture between The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties, is creating seven new restaurants, alongside 210,000 sq ft of new, modern office accommodation and five flagship stores for best in class lifestyle and fashion brands. Recent lettings include the premium British brand Jigsaw; Swedish cycling brand Assos; and iconic design and lifestyle brand SMEG; as well as the Carlyle Group and The Crown Estate for new London headquarters.


St Mark’s Mayfair

Westminster City Council has resolved to grant planning consent for Grosvenor Britain & Ireland (‘Grosvenor’) to complete a £5m repair and restoration of the former St Mark’s Church in North Audley Street, Mayfair. The building will provide a meeting space for the community as well as 14,500 sq ft of shops and restaurants.

The approval follows Grosvenor’s consultation with the local community, Westminster City Council, Historic England, The Diocese of London and Victorian Society, all of which reviewed the designs drawn up by conservation architects Donald Insall Associates. Grosvenor will retain or reinstate the building’s heritage features and install an impressive glass staircase, providing access to the first floor gallery. Ahead of the redevelopment, Grosvenor will host community events in the building, including screening films as part of the Grosvenor Film Festival.

The former St Mark’s Church opened in 1828 and was declared redundant and deconsecrated by the Church of England in 1974. Since 2009 it has been used as a private events space known as One Mayfair and is in need of substantial repair to secure its long term future. Grosvenor acquired the building in 2014. It aims to commence restoration works in late summer 2016 and to open the doors to the public in late 2017.

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Holograms and High Tech
RIMOWA opened its first store in London to become the world’s first RIMOWA 220 m2 Concept Store. Large-scale aluminium sheets made into holograms are a recurring, central motif, a concept inspired by the moulding every RIMOWA suitcase undergoes and represents the moment a two-dimensional material transforms into a three-dimensional body, to become a protective, modern suitcase.

The Concept Store subtly immerses customers in the world of aviation: the way in which the large, concave holograms are arranged is reminiscent of an aircraft fuselage and helps bring the RIMOWA slogan ‘Handmade meets high-tech’ to life.

Divine Dior
The new Christian Dior flagship store on New Bond Street, designed by Peter Marino, is an exquisite showcase for quality and craftsmanship. The tones of grey, pale turquoise and pink are enhanced by several pieces of specially commissioned art, including sculptures by Tony Cragg and Rado Kirov and a collaboration with artist, Mark Quinn, comprising a collection of handbags featuring his work. The store offers three private VIP shopping areas, a demi-measure floor for Dior Homme, a shoe gallery, a dedicated area to the new Dior Home collection, and for parents, two separate Baby Dior rooms.

Overseeing the four-year project was Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive of Dior. Since his appointment in in 1998, he has led a period of unprecedented expansion at the brand with the opening of 200 new stores. The latest figures record $41.6bn in sales (approximately £31.4 bn) and $1.7bn in profit (approximately £ 1.3bn).

Dior has also recently announced its newly appointed Creative Director, a role left vacant by Raf Simons. Maria Grazia Chiuri, formerly ofValentino, has taken up the role, making the move from Milan to Paris.

Burberry Boosts the Boardroom
Burberry recently announced a new CEO, Marco Gobbetti, who joins the house from Céline where he is currently chairman and CEO, a position held since 2008. Christopher Bailey, who has been CEO, in addition to being Chief Creative Officer, since Angela Ahrendts left in 2014, has been appointed to the role of President.

From Fashion to Fragrance
Landlord, Due West Investments, has leased a premises in Mayfair on South Molton Street, to French fashion retailer IKKS for their first UK standalone store. IKKS has a large following and fine heritage and marks a step forward in the businesses’ global strategy. CBRE acted for the landlord on the deal.
Jo Malone, London has arrived at Fenwick of Bond Street with a bespoke fragrance service where a stylist can help customise a signature scent.

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Film and Fitness in LLQ

or the third year running, the Grosvenor Film Festival teamed up with Chestertons and The Nomad, sister-company to The Lexi, one of West London’s most cherished local cinemas, to host open-air cinema screenings across Grosvenor’s London throughout the summer.

Fitness in the Community
Grosvenor’s new initiative, Fitness in the Community, in partnership with White Room Fitness, will provide a series of outdoor exercise classes at Brown Hart Gardens and Eccleston Place, Belgravia. Each class costs just £5 and takes place Monday through to Friday from 7.15am, with the last class starting at 6pm.
For more information, please visit

The May Fair Hotel celebrates its 10th Birthday

In September, the hotel marked its 10th birthday, toasting a decade since its launch in 2006. The hotel was officially opened in 1927 by Royalty with King George V and Queen Mary, however, Edwardian Hotels London took over ownership in 2004. The hotel marks its ninth year as the official hotel partner of London Fashion Week with a series of bespoke offers including the London Fashion Weekend package, which includes two complimentary tickets to London Fashion Weekend, held at the stylish and prestigious Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road, Chelsea.

As official hotel partner to the London Film Festival 2016, organised by the British Film Institute (BFI) every October, The May Fair Hotel hosts the exclusive May Fair Gala Screening. The May Fair Hotel’s glamorous heritage as the once home to Hollywood impresarios, The Danziger Brothers, coupled with its reputation for private screenings in the 201-seater cinema, makes The May Fair Hotel a natural choice as the 60th BFI London Film Festival’s Official Hotel for the 8th year running.

Other news from the hotel includes a refreshed interior and new menu at The May Fair Kitchen, to evoke an ambience that recreates the culinary delights of the Mediterranean and showcases an exquisite selection of Spanish and Italian small plates, complemented with the finest wines.


Suite Life at The Langham, London

Langham, London is pleased to announce the next phase of its evolution with the addition of several new Suites and Residences, which launched this summer. The new rooms, located in the main building facing Portland Place, with views of the iconic BBC and All Souls Church buildings, will further elevate the hotel’s position in the luxury hotel market.

The project, spearheaded by designers, Richmond International will see the addition of 115 new guestrooms, including 25 suites. One third of the overall hotel inventory will be reconfigured to provide a more refined and residential style with the creation of new suites and five Residences fitted with designer kitchens.

Richmond International was the team behind the additions of the exclusive Regent Wing, Langham Club Lounge and London’s most expensive six-bedroom Sterling Suite during the hotel’s 150th anniversary year in 2015.

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Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has announced that leading gourmet food specialist DEAN & DELUCA will open its first ever store in Europe on Mayfair’s Mount Street, in early 2017.

The brand, which operates in the US, Asia and the Middle East, will open a neighbourhood Market Store and Cafe at 117 Mount Street. The new store will be arranged across 1,900 sq ft and will also include a standalone butchers, spanning c. 500 sq ft located adjacent to the Mews Building.

DEAN & DELUCA has established a reputation for curating some of the world’s finest ingredients and produce, serving local communities around the globe. The letting is in line with Grosvenor’s commitment to providing community-use services and amenities across its estate and DEAN& DELUCA is expected to prove particularly popular with Mayfair’s residents, workers and visitors.
Mark Hix is now in residence at Fenwick of Bond Street. Influenced by flavours from around the world, the restaurant offers classic, healthy and light dishes, as well as Mark’s Afternoon Tea.


Anzu Arrival

London’s leading ramen noodle restaurant group, Tonkotsu, will open its new premium restaurant, Anzu, offering contemporary Japanese dishes in The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties’ £400m St James’s Market redevelopment later this year. Building on Tonkotsu’s heritage of accessible authenticity, Anzu will use fresh, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients to create traditional teishoku (pre-set) lunch and à la carte menus served alongside a select range of wines, sake, Japanese beers, whiskies and cocktails. Anzu is inspired by the Japanese brasserie, offering high quality dishes and amazing service in fine, but relaxed surroundings for all day dining. It will occupy a site of over 2,000 sq ft at 1 Norris Street, on the southern side of St James’s Market. Norris Street will be pedestrianised as part of the creation of a distinctive new half-acre of public space.

Anzu is the fourth restaurant confirmed for this exciting new culinary destination, including the internationally-acclaimed Nordic ‘Aquavit London’ and the leading London restaurant group, Salt Yard.

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Following the highly successful inaugural awards held in January 2016, Publishing Business is pleased to announce the 2017 awards will again be sponsored by Grosvenor, The Crown Estate (St James’s) and Lancer with London Luxury Quarter sponsoring the Long Service Award, recognising someone who has served the local community for many years and has enhanced the lives of others.

The purpose of the awards is to celebrate and strengthen the sense of community in Mayfair and St James’s, recognise individuals, businesses and groups contributing to the areas, put the spotlight on unsung heroes going above and beyond the call of duty and inspire others to connect locally and to contribute more to their local area.

There are nine award categories and six high-profile judges, all independent pillars of the community who are recognised for their success, expertise or knowledge of the area. Confirmed judges to date include Ewan Venters, Fortnum & Mason; Jeremy King, Corbin & King; Lydia Forte, Rocco Forte Hotels; David Gandy, Super Model; and Dylan Jones, Editor GQ.

Judging will take place during December 2016 followed by an invitation-only Champagne, cocktail and canapé reception in the Ballroom at The Dorchester in January 2017. Selma Day, editor of Mayfair Times, will be non-voting Chair.
Over the coming months leading up to the awards, Mayfair Times will actively seek entries and nominations, telling the stories of interesting nominees and use local characters and businesses to illustrate the people and organisations sought as winners. The publication will follow up with extensive coverage of the awards and winners.

To receive a nomination form, please email

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London Luxury Quarter is pleased to announce details of “By Appointment”, servicing the needs of sophisticated international clients visiting the area, through bespoke, curated experiences and exclusive privileges.

Collaboration is the underlying thread to the By Appointment programme. Our luxury hotels have embraced this proposition, with The Langham, London launching the “Goddess Guide” and Café Royal launching a “Royal Excellence” experience. Both invite international clients to celebrate unique experiences that provide access to the rich retail and cultural offerings in London Luxury Quarter.

The travel trade and luxury networks have heralded the innovative concept of a destination concierge as a first in market, enabling them to work directly on bespoke and tailor made itineraries, as well as experiences.

Recent visits to China, America and Middle East markets have ensured that By Appointment is front of mind for these decision makers. Partnership opportunities with Mastercard, American Express, the British Consulate and British Airways have resulted in them seeking everything from fast luxury experiences for business groups with limited time but high spending power, through to international fashionistas spending the summer in London.

St. James’s Association hosted a UK Inbound Luxury Seminar in their marketing suite to present the area, the By Appointment services and an exclusive insight into how the imminent launch of St. James’s Market will shape the destination as a hub for retail, gourmet, art, culture and lifestyle.

For more information or to participate in the By Appointment programme, please contact Emma Huckerby or Lucy Bell at

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On 27th October, London Luxury Quarter hosts “The Art of Placemaking” Conference at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly from 8.30-11.00am.

The conference will explore and create dialogue about measuring, evaluating and communicating the impact of using luxury, design and craftsmanship to build and transform the community. It will also tell the stories of other destinations that have been developed and showcase the positive impact achieved.

Public realm improvements along Bond Street, the St. James’s Market development and the redevelopment of Hanover Square and Mount Street are designed with placemaking in mind and will fundamentally transform the daily experience of millions of visitors. From residents to local workers, Londoners to international visitors, London Luxury Quarter’s retail, culture, leisure and entertainment experience will be enhanced and improved significantly for many.

The conference format will include a key note address, an interview with a notable influencer from the Quarter and a panel debate. Please earmark the date in your diary for this important debate. If you would like to attend this event please

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It was a pleasure to welcome members to The National Café, at The National Gallery, on Thursday 21st July for the annual Summer Social drinks reception, an informal opportunity to network with fellow businesses. We extend our thanks to Kit Gallagher, Head of Commercial Events at The National Gallery, who also gave us a glimpse into their upcoming exhibition programme.

Since our last issue of the Luxury Insider we have enjoyed the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations and in collaboration with other West End partners we saw giant union flags lining the streets, as well as the creation of a West End Guide, written by Time Out Editor Andy Hill, detailing the top 90 royal-themed activities taking place in the area. Many London Luxury Quarter members featured in the Guide that was circulated to more than half a million people around the globe, including Smythson, Fortnum & Mason, 34 and James Purdey & Sons.

In addition to the celebrations, the UK has witnessed historical change. Over the coming months, the property and retail sectors in particular, will experience a period of transition following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union after the EU Referendum in June; but we are confident London Luxury Quarter will continue to be an attractive destination for visitors and investors, thanks to the current fluctuations in Sterling and the strength of the Quarter’s proposition.

Please do save the date to attend London Luxury Quarter‘s Annual Conference at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly on 27th October, from 8.00am-11.00am, on the fascinating topic of “The Art of Placemaking”.

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