St James's is richly endowed with interesting little shops selling fine wines, gourmet foods, cigars and luxury clothing. You are also very close to Green Park, one of the city's most likeable Royal Parks, and there are good transport connections to all parts of London.
There are 50 rooms and 10 suites arranged over seven floors, including several with small balconies. The interior design is classically opulent with silk wallpaper, Murano glass chandeliers and black lacquered furniture. For me, a star feature is the bathrooms which are designed in a classy, Art Deco mix of black marble, cream tiling and gleaming chrome fittings. Enormous beds, seemingly inspired by the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea", ensure a blissful night's sleep.
The small and smart reception area is on the second floor, along with the bar, restaurant and tranquil St James's Lounge - a treasured spot for enjoying Afternoon Tea (£19.50). Dating from 1892, the building still has a beautiful staircase at its heart, along with many fine works of art.
Eating and drinking
The Althoff Collection takes pride in its gourmet reputation and the arrival of William Drabble as Executive Chef at the hotel's flagship restaurant Seven Park Place is good news. The dining room is small (and also used for breakfast), so it's worth asking for a particular table to get the best experience. There's also the adjacent William's Bar and Bistro, perfect for an after-work drink or light meal, and you might want to time your visit to coincide with the hotel's occasional Masterclasses in cocktail-making and pairing wine with cheese.
None on site but in-room spa treatments can be arranged and guests are entitled to a 15 per cent discount at the nearby Elemis Day Spa. You can also leave the hotel by a side entrance to walk or jog in Green Park.
Courteous and uniformed staff - including a team of three concierges - are in abundance. My requests to room service and housekeeping were dealt with instantly and efficiently.
Who stays there
Business travellers during the week, leisure guests and wealthy families at the weekend and during school holidays - the hotel has a dedicated 'Kids' Concierge'.
Room rates generally exclude VAT and breakfast (£16 for Continental, £22 for Full English), and are subject to a 5 per cent optional service charge.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Pampering bathrooms
- Hideaway location
- Discretionary service charge
- Conservative ambience