As frequent visitors to London, we have long searched for the right Luxury Hotel that can become our bolthole and base from which to work or explore the city. Earlier this week was our latest attempt to find the hotel, and I think we might have found it.
We were in town for a night to catch Steely Dan at Wembley Arena. As ever, we started the search for a luxury London hotel with a map search – something that was in Mayfair (to catch the Jubilee line) where we could get a good night’s sleep and hopefully grab a pre or post drink at the bar.
Our ongoing search has been a fun experience, trying some of the greatest hotels in London. The ‘Grand Dames’ of Park Lane offer much but deliver little. Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley are the height of luxury but you still can’t get a table in the bar.
The Cavendish on Jermyn Street has been the closest to becoming our regular place. The location is perfect for us, and the rooms are comfortable. But it lacks any of the additional qualities we want for our go-to hotel. Regardless of the number of times we have stayed there, we are treated like first timers. One more than one occasion, we have been left to struggle out of the taxi with far too much luggage as the doorman looks on. It can also be noisy if you get the wrong side on the wrong floor. The sound of taxis honking late into the night, outside Annabelle’s club is not conducive to a good sleep, nor the sound of refuse collection at dawn your ideal wake up call.
This week, our search turned up a new name, the St. James’s Hotel and Club. I confess to never hearing of this place before. That sounds daft as it sits behind the Ritz, a moment’s walk from the Cavendish and one street away from Le Caprice (now sadly closed), one of our favourite restaurants.
So we booked in, hoping this could be the one. Just two minutes walk from Green Park tube station, it should have been easy to find if I had not taken us to St. James Park station! After an enjoyable 15 minute walk in the unseasonal sunshine we found the hotel tucked just off St. Jame’s Street at the end of a small no-through road. The location already boded well for a peaceful sleep.
We had barely opened the door when three different voices greeted us. Welcome to the St. James’s! Check in was swift and we were shown up to our room on the fourth floor.
Entering our Superior Room through a small corridor past the large walk wardrobe, we encountered a room of serenity, Taupe silk wall coverings, thick carpet with cream bed sheets and peacock and black cushions.
To the right of the bed was a small desk with Nespresso type machine and plenty of plug sockets. A small chair looked an ideal place to read, or more realistically dump clothes on.
The black and white bathroom was compact but still offered enough space for a bath and a shower with plenty of thick towels and robes.
Plenty of hangers in the wardrobe meant everything could be hung up, even my stuff, which is a rarity! A useful safe was big enough for the usual stuff and my watch winder.
We avoided temptation from the small mini bar, underneath the flat screen TV, but a pint of milk in there would have been a real help in the morning. It did feel a little daft to order room service, just for a jug of milk.
The well stocked bar looked comfortable with cosy chairs and and gold wall coverings. We had planned to pop in for a post-concert drink but we rolled in after midnight, too tired to enjoy a late G&T. The bar was still going though, with a relaxed group enjoying a drink, the laughter following us as we headed up to bed.
After an early morning watching the Oscars, and a late night at the concert, I was ready for bed. The plump pillows, heavy duvet and firm bed meant I was out for the count, waking up at my usual time without need for a wake up call. If there was any noise during the night, I didn’t hear it. No banging of doors, emptying of bins or honking of horns in this peaceful corner of St. James.
The location also meant we were very close to our favourite shopping areas of New Bond Street, the Burlington Arcade and Piccadilly for Maison Assouline.
Breakfast, in the bar was another great tick for this hotel. Personal service from the team made us feel like we were back with old friends. The continental selection was generous, the fruit juice was truly fresh and the cooked breakfast very filling. Basic elements, like a decent (not mean) glass of juice and my correct order (no black pudding) seem like basic tasks but do get missed in other hotels. Not here.
We ate beneath a collection of original artwork which is echoed in the public areas and the bedrooms. Not the generic London prints or confused scribbles you still find in other hotels.
The St. James felt a lot like Le Negresco, our favourite hotel in the world. The service, decor and bold artwork all share similarities between the two hotels.
Checkout came around far too soon, but again the service was impeccable – quick check out, bags stored and cab hailed when it was time to leave London.
We didn’t get a chance to try out the spa, the restaurant or the bar so there is plenty more to encourage us back!
Could this be our perfect Luxury London Hotel? We’ve checked in to stay there again soon, so I’ll let you know!
St. James’s Hotel and Club Mayfair
7-8 Park Place
St. James’s, London, SW1A 1LS
The main image has been taken from the official website.