Boutique London townhouse hotel: St James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair review

The exterior of the St James Hotel & Club London

A stay at the five-star St James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair is a vacation in the very heart of London. This iconic boutique townhouse hotel is just a short walk from New Bond Street, Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly and the West End theatre scene.

The red carpeted entrance implies exclusivity, and that’s certainly what you’ll experience if you, like us, vacay in one of the hotel’s ten suites.

“The number one reason to stay at the St James’s is the location,” General Manager Francesco Sardelli, tells us. “Number two is the boutique-ness of the property, it’s very personal. The team knows everybody, it’s a one-to-one relationship.” 

Now a member of the Althoff Collection of hotels, the St James’s Hotel & Club has long been the haunt of VIPs, who routinely take advantage of a secretive back entrance which leads into Green Park.

We made do with the front door.

The St James’s Hotel & Club has long been the haunt of VIPs, who routinely take advantage of a secretive back entrance which leads into Green Park…

“We actually have three exits,” reveals Sardelli. “If people need to be discreet, we find a way for them to be discreet!  Back in the 1980s the St James’s Club was extremely popular with celebrities. We had Liza Minelli, Cher – musicians used to come and stay here because of the location and uniqueness of the place.” 

Sir Michael Caine, Roger Moore, and Dudley Moore we’re all regulars. The Honorary Committee of the St James Club was chaired by John Mills. I bet his board meetings were a riot..

There’s an ambience that still speaks of London’s lauded showbiz scene.

The St James’s Hotel & Club has an illustrious history that can be traced back to 1857. It was a haunt for London’s elite during the First World War, and during the Second provided a home for Ian Fleming.

New owner onboard, the property evolved from member’s club to hotel in the mid-noughties. “We still want the feeling that you are in a club, somewhere private,” says Sardelli (pictured above). 

St James’s Hotel & Club – Rooms and amenities

The St James’s offers 60 rooms and ten suites. There’s a choice of well appointed Superior and Deluxe rooms, and if you’re a large party there’s the option of interconnecting rooms. 

We stayed in the Westminster Suite, and it’s a stunner. Boasting 1044 sq ft of space and accessed via a private lift, it features a light and airy lounge with coffee and tea maker and desk space. The bedroom, with its generous Kings Size Hypnos bed adjoins a polished stone bathroom.

There’s a large tub, complete with Aquavision TV, for those that would rather soak than use the walk-in shower. Complimentary fast Wi-Fi and air conditioning are a given.

But that’s just the half of it: the Westminster Suite also has a 50 sqm rooftop terrace area. The views over the rooftops of  Mayfair are spectacular. The horizon line, which includes the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, is about as exclusive as it gets.

Planning to bring your extended family? The Westminster Suite and adjoining St Jame’s Suite can be hired together as a penthouse. 

St James’s Hotel & Club – restaurant and bar

The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Seven Park Place, and adjoining ‘1857 The Bar’, have a menu overseen by Executive Head Chef William Drabble.

I couldn’t help noticing a gallery of art as I entered. Make sure you take time to appreciate this when you waltz in. Turns out the wall is part of an extensive private art collection, The Rosenstein Collection, which comprises more than 400 paintings, pictures and sculptures, from 1920-1950. 

Harking back to the days when British private members clubs used to stage exhibitions, this collection includes works from classic, cubism, expressionist and impressionist movements, sourced from across Europe. There are pieces dotted all around the hotel.

To he interior aesthetic is the work of Berlin-based AMJ Design, and betrays Art Deco influences. A spectacular lighting fixture catches my eye as I devour some particularly delicious breakfast sausages.

Be warned that the restaurant is not open on Mondays, which is when we arrived. Consequently, we had our evening meal in the 1857 bar.

The bar offers a wide range of classic cocktails. We can vouch for the Old Fashioned, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, and the classic Cosmopolitan, with Ketel One vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime. Both priced at £18.

From the All Day dining menu, we enjoyed a starter of Homemade Sage and Onion Sausage Roll, and Smoked Haddock Topped with Welsh Rarebit. Then followed with a stacked St Jame’s Burger, comprising Rhug Estate Organic Aberdeen Angus beef burgers, white cabbage slow cooked in white wine, montgomery cheddar and pickled gherkins, and a succulent 8Oz  Rhug Estate Organic Rib Eye with green peppercorn sauce (£27 and £54 respectively).

This was washed down with some easy drinking Les Lauriers Viognier Grenache white and Carignan red. All entirely satisfying.

St James’s Hotel & Club – Location

Within walking distance of London’s West End theatres and the premium shopping area of Bond Street and the Burlington Arcade, the location of the St James is an undeniable USP. A more perfect base for a London city break is difficult to imagine.

A short walk takes you to the Royal Academy of Arts, which is not only home to a century spanning collection of British art, and the works of Constable, Turner and Hockney, but a revolving door of fine art exhibitions.

In town for a gala showbiz night? BAFTA is just around the corner.

Buckingham Palace? Yep, that’s nearby too. Greek Park, Bond Street and Piccadilly underground stations are on the doorstep. 

St James’s Hotel & Club – Verdict

We rate the St James’s Hotel & Club a boffo base from which to enjoy London. Team TLR had an absolute blast staying there. If you plan to splash out, the Westminster Suite is peerless (that rooftop terrace is just divine), and the level of service we experienced during our stay was outstanding. 

We particularly appreciated the intimate atmosphere, and understated glamour of the place. The reviews are in: the St James’s Hotel & Club is a fabulous five star experience.

The details

St James’s Hotel & Club, 7-8 Park Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LS.
Telephone: 020 7316 1600
Room rates start at £316. To book your stay at St James’s Hotel & Club click here.

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