Mayfair has plenty of luxury hotels, most of them marble-floored palaces lining Park Lane and turning the corner into Piccadilly.
It is, however, rather short on boutique hotels offering super-attentive service and protection from prying eyes. Which is one reason the St. James Hotel and Club has been popular with the showbiz set for more than 20 years – privacy is guaranteed in a cul de sac where the paparazzi can’t easily gather.
Park Place is a very posh cul de sac, leading off St. James’s Street, a broad boulevard lined with gentlemen’s outfitters which bridges the gap between Piccadilly and St. James’s Palace. At the end, on the left-hand side, is the handsome seven-storey Victorian building which it’s hard to believe accommodates 60 five-star rooms. All are elegant and individual – some have terraces – but the suites are even more special. Mine, the St. James’s on the seventh floor, had an exquisitely-furnished living room, with a dining table at one end and two giant plasma TV’s. There was an even larger screen in the bedroom, hidden away in an elegant padded unit till required, when it popped up at the touch of a switch. And the fourth screen was above the bath in the elegant black marble bathroom, which had a separate walk-in shower and also a separate, adjacent lavatory.
The look, created by a Berlin designer, is at once elegant and yet perfectly in keeping with the age of the building, and the only niggle – one infuriatingly common in the 21st century – was an almost unfathomable lighting system. Free wi-fi throughout is a big plus.
One of the great assets of the St.James Hotel and Club is an eclectic and joyous art collection of 20th century European art, running the gamut of Impressionist, Expressionist and Cubist paintings. Many of these are displayed in the brasserie and bar, from where perfect creamy scrambled eggs and other hot breakfast dishes are dispensed in the morning. (Americans expecting fluffy pancakes and crisp streaky bacon with their maple syrup will find a pancake option, but might be better opting for eggs or the smoked salmon, cheese, fruit and cereal selection on the cold buffet).
For fine dining, there is a Michelin-starred modern French restaurant in the back, Seven Park Place, which opens Tuesday through Saturday. St. James’s is perfectly situated for the Royal Academy with its blockbuster art exhibitions, the beautiful green swards of Green Park and St. James’s Park, Piccadilly Circus and Bond Street, all within a couple of minutes’ stroll. Unique and exclusive shops even closer to the hotel lie along Jermyn Street and within the elegant Burlington Arcade, and just around the corner is London’s finest grocer, Fortnum and Masons.
More about St. James Hotel and Club
Rooms from £419 per night
7-8 Park Place, London SW1A 1LS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 7688
St James Hotel and Club