A stay at St James Court has heritage, luxury and location rolled into one. It’s a hotel near Buckingham Palace (the current building went up in 1902 to house guests of the big house), St. James’ Park, and Westminster Abbey, providing a wonderful welcome and perfect base for the big London sights. There’s no doubt the St James Court hotel postcode is a massive bonus!
Arriving via a short sunny stroll through St. James’ Park, and crossing The Mall past Buckingham Palace, you are left in no doubt of the wonderful location of this hotel. A little further on has you at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye and the West End theatres. St. James Park underground station is maybe five minutes away. As a base for a family sight seeing trip to London it would be difficult to imagine anywhere better.
St James Court was taken over in 1982 by its current owners, the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces group. It was completely and luxuriously restored by them in 2014. It’s fair to say the hotel does have a dose of the opulent feel and attentive service you would expect to find in its Indian cousin, Bombay’s famous Taj Mahal Palace.
The hotel is housed in an impressive Victorian brick building, with its façade broken into turrets, balconies, arches, columns, cornices, gable ends, consoles and copings. The large marble lobby is decadent telling stories of the hotel’s old English history, with its dark panelling and gilt mirrors. A highlight is the stunning and serene interior courtyard which is an oasis complete with water nymph fountain; the perfect spot to break up your sight seeing schedule and enjoy a meal or a drink between your adventures.
Going further in, you find a hotel that is wholly more contemporary. We stayed in a family suite which was perfect for us with two adults and two children. The family suite had separate sleeping and sitting areas, so when the kids were asleep we could sit and have a bit of well deserved grown up time! The suite was generously sized for a city hotel, and well designed. There were two large double beds, and bathroom on one side; comfortable sofa, tables and mini bar on the other with a partition between. The children were thrilled with a goody bag each with Queen’s Guard teddy bears and crayons. They also loved the personalised biscuits left for them in the evening.
The service was impeccable. When we stayed the hotel was busy, so breakfast was split between ground floor and first floor dining areas so no one was kept waiting. Both areas were comfortable, and relaxed with the same buffet options. Breakfast offered the usual English and European options, with the added surprise of Indian dahls and paratha flatbread (this was a delicious and different breakfast which went down well with us). Foodwise, a must when visiting the hotel is dinner at the adjoining Michelin-starred Quilon which serves an impressive menu of experimental Indian food. There are other options on site too, so if the Quilon is too adventurous for little appetites they can easily get a pizza or eat in the bistro.
We loved the combination of luxury and atmosphere. There was nothing stuffy about this hotel even with its heritage, even when the kids decided to try out (very dramatically!) the very lovely armchairs in the foyer as part of their initiation. This is a fabulous option for a London trip with the family or without! A great mix of Victorian opulence, modern style, relaxed atmosphere and great value.
A Family Room at St James Court (A Taj Hotel London 51 Buckingham Gate) starts from £325. This includes breakfast. See www.stjamescourthotel.co.uk