A stay at St. James’ Court has heritage, luxury and location rolled into one. Parked on the doorstep of Buckingham Palace (the current building went up in 1902 to house guests of the big house), St. James’ Park, and Westminster Abbey, the hotel provides a wonderful welcome and perfect base for the big London sights.
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 St. James’ Court. A little further on has you at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye and the West End theatres and St. James Park underground station is maybe five minutes away.
St. James’ Court was taken over in 1982 by the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces group, and completely restored by them in 2014; and 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 for guests to enjoy a meal or a drink between exploration or business meetings.
Going further in, you find something wholly more contemporary. We stayed in a family suite which was perfect for our group of two adults and two children with its separate sleeping and sitting areas. The suite was generously sized for a city hotel, and well designed with 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, and loved the personalised biscuits left for them in the evening.
The service at St. James Court 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.
We loved the combination of luxury and atmosphere of St. James Court. There was nothing stuffy about this hotel even with its heritage. This is a fabulous option for a London trip – business or pleasure! A great mix of Victorian opulence, modern style and great value.