- International Standard
- Well located
- Voir l'hôtel en français
St James's Hotel Club - © Niall Clutton / St James's and Club Hotel
St James's Hotel Club - © St James's and Club Hotel
Rating and opinion given by a member of our team of Easyvoyage experts
Mark out of 10 for geographical location
Evaluation of the hotel based on its size, its decoration, the number of rooms, the attractiveness of its architecture and the quality of any swimming pools, lobbies or sport and leisure facilities it may have
Evaluation of the quality of the room or suite based on cleanliness, decoration, size, view, services and comfort of bedding
Evaluation of the restaurant based on service, atmosphere, quality and presentation of dishes
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The exclusive St. James's Hotel and Club is appropriately tucked away discreetly at the end of a cul-de-sac behind The Ritz on Piccadilly. While perhaps not quite of the same standing as its West End neighbour, the property is nonetheless a class act and has a history and following to rival that of any London hotel. The guestrooms are decorated and appointed to the highest standards and feature every amenity expected of a place like St. James's. As well as Michelin star dining and a service of the utmost attention to detail, the hotel still operates as a club to the rich and famous so you never know who you will be rubbing shoulders with when you stay here. More of a couples' or individual hotel, the St. James's is the place to come for intimacy, discretion and privacy.
This hotel review is a translation from the French by the agency Traductéo.
Park Place is a cul-de-sac off of St. James's Street which is itself connected to Piccadilly close to Green Park Underground station. In close proximity to the hotel one can find both Green and St James's Parks, the Royal Academy, high end shopping in many of the surrounding streets as well as a host of theatres, bars and restaurants of varying price points. In terms of transport, the hotel is well served by public transport with the Piccadilly and Jubilee Lines close by as well as several bus routes to various parts of the city. The hotel can be reached from Heathrow Airport by the Heathrow Express which gets into Paddington (you will then need to complete the journey on the Tube or by taxi) or on the London Underground on the Piccadilly Line, getting off at Green Park. If you are coming in from Gatwick Airport you can catch the Gatwick Express to London Victoria and then catch the Tube or take a taxi.
The story of St. James's starts back in 1857 when Earl Granvile and Marchese d'Azeglio decided to found a new private members club after a disagreement with the Travellers club. Opened in 1859, members were voted for (aside from diplomats and Foreign Office staff) and welcomed such characters as Lord Randolph Churchill and Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. In 1970 the club was closed due to financial woes but was then reopened in 1980 with members including Liza Minelli and Michaels Caine and Parkinson. Some of the more recent members of the club are Samuel L Jackson, Keith Richards and Dita Von Teese
The St. James is housed in a remarkable Victorian building which was built at the tail end of the 19th century as an apartment block for gentlemen. The exterior displays large bay windows, beautiful rail work on the balconies and intricate mouldings, especially on the main entrance's arch. Once up the red carpeted stairs and through the door opened by the most gracious of doormen, you will be greeted yet again by another pristinely costumed gentleman before being directed to your right to the modestly sized reception area. Here, one of two further delightful members of staff, each with their own desk, will check you in and your luggage will be transported to your room forthwith. Leading off from the entrance is a hallway with hardwood floors, wooden panelling and portraits of former club members at whose end is the smart St. James's Lounge where guests can relax on the period furniture amongst the books, Expressionist and Cubist works of art and fire place while they enjoy a drink or even afternoon tea. Sandwiched between the lobby and this lounge are the hotel's restaurant spaces (see 'Food and Drink').
Being a private members club as well as a hotel, there are very few common areas of the hotel other than the eating outlets. The hotel does not have its own wellness and fitness facilities, however it does have a partnership with both a local spa and a neighbourhood gym which guests can take advantage of.
From what we saw of the hotel, the entire building is spotless and kept in flawless condition. The hotel's staff is at the top of its game in every department and is also presented immaculately. Finding your room is no hassle at all and there is a lift for those who find the stairs a little too much effort.
With just 60 rooms (of which ten are suites), The St. James is one of the more intimate hotels in London. Although a few of the most basic rooms are a little on the pokey side, one cannot criticise the appointment of the guestrooms which is exquisite and attentive. As one goes up through the different categories of room what changes is the square footage, the size of the bathroom and the size of bed. The suites each have a living space with the largest ones having dining space and even outdoor terraces. Unique features of the rooms include the handmade silk wallpaper, the black lacquered furniture, the Murano glass chandeliers and the high quality mattresses on each of the beds. The superior rooms, the standard category, measure around 20m² and have a queen bed dressed in luxury linens, a small desk, a banquette and amenities including a flatscreen television, iPod docking station, a well-stocked minibar, large make-up mirror, safe, robes and slippers and hairdryer. The bathrooms, which feature black marble, chrome glass fittings and Penhaligon's toiletries, are ultra sleek and have a walk-in monsoon shower, large mirrors at the vanity and a backlit make-up mirror too. The suites have added features including Etro toiletries (in addition to the Penhaligon's range), deep soaking tubs, larger living spaces and extra touches such as objets d'art and flowers. The suites also have the advantage of a higher position in the hotel and thus some sweeping views of London and its icons such as the London Eye and Westminster.
The hotel boasts two eateries on its premises, both under the auspices of British chef William Drabble. The first of these, William's Bar & Bistro, occupies the front half of the space and features a long backlit bar, mustard yellow banquettes and walls crammed with part of the hotel's art collection. The more relaxed of the two establishments, the bistro still maintains a high level of sophistication and offers a modest menu featuring dishes such as a pear, chicory and walnut salad with stilton, slow cooked pork cheeks with Madeira and rum baba with vanilla ice cream. All ingredients are sourced from small local producers. As well as being a bar, the bistro also serves several versions of afternoon tea, including a gluten free one and a Royal Academy one and even hosts masterclasses on cheese, chocolate and make-up.
Seven Park Place, the hotel's more upmarket, Michelin star restaurant, is an intimate affair with just 26 covers and a rather bold décor choice with heavy carpet, backlit panels and custom floral wallpaper. Its menu is more complex and inventive than that at the bistro and offers dishes including poached native lobster tail, cauliflower puree, lobster butter sauce (a signature dish) or saddle of Lune Valley lamb with onions and thyme. At lunch guests can enjoy two courses for £25.50 (£40 with wine pairing) or three courses for £29.50 (£51 with wine pairing) while at dinner two courses cost £55 and three courses £61. There is also a tasting menu priced at £72 (£123 with wine pairing) as well as a comprehensive wine list catering for all price points.
We were lucky enough to be able to try the afternoon tea during our visit and it absolutely lived up to all expectations. Not only was the service spot on, but the sandwiches, handmade cakes and scones and the teas (of which there is a large choice) were all delicious. Some of the sandwiches contain meat and some of the cakes have nuts in so if you have any allergies or dietary requirements do let the staff know and they would be delighted to accommodate your needs.
Breakfast is served in both halves of the restaurant every morning and involves both a continental buffet and hot options from the menu.