The five-star boutique St. James’s Hotel and Club is situated a stone’s throw from Piccadilly in the heart of Central London, and is perfectly placed for exploring some of the Capital’s main thoroughfares and attractions.
Designed by Germany’s Anne Maria Jagdfeld, it is an esteemed member of ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’, and is also affiliated with the Althoff Collection of private properties.
Housing just 60 rooms, there are various categories of accommodation, and we were fortunate to stay in the St James’s Suite which can be combined with the adjacent 45 square metre-Westminster suite to form this hotel’s remarkable penthouse.
At 71 square metres in size, and only accessible using a key in the lift to reach the seventh and highest floor, the St James’s Suite offers guests commanding views over the rooftops of some of the area’s most expensive real estate, and of the city’s famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the London Eye. Dressed with elegant ornaments, eye-catching sculptures, and a selection of art from the Rosenstein collection to complete what is a relatively traditional décor, the suite is divided into a main living and dining area with a separate bedroom. Two wall-mounted flatscreen TVs come complete with satellite channels from multiple countries including France and Italy.
The impressive king-sized bed is dressed in a golden spread and matching cushions for a palatial feel, and features a mattress handmade by Hypnos which brings a reputation for being the most comfortable in the world. After enjoying an excellent night’s sleep, it would be very difficult to disagree with this claim. At its foot lies yet another TV which is electronically adjustable in height, and can therefore, be stowed away all together within its own leather-clad cabinet if one so desires, leaving the suite’s panoramic vista to be admired.
In the dark tiled and luxurious ensuite bathroom, guests have the option of either a walk-in rain shower with a built in seat for those who like to relax and take their time, or a sizeable Jacuzzi bath lined with fragrant accessories from Penhaligon’s. Here there is yet another in-built TV so visitors can soak under the bubbles without having to miss their favourite programmes or sporting fixtures.
For the evening meal, Seven Park Place, the domain of Chef William Drabble, is the St. James’s Hotel and Club’s main eatery. Awarded a Michelin star for the sixth time last October, this intimate space is able to accommodate 26 people at a time, thanks to there being only nine tables. We sat on a cushion-lined banquette in an intimate annexe, adding to what was already a very special and exclusive experience. Specific dietary requirements are very well catered for, and no demand, how big or small, presents a challenge for the extremely courteous and knowledgeable staff who carefully explain the ingredients of each dish before you have a chance to reach for your cutlery.
William Drabble himself was not present the evening that we visited, but this did not stop us from enjoying beautifully-crafted concoctions from the à la carte menu (£57 per person for two courses, and £63 for three) which were all composed to an exceptional standard. We started with fresh white and raisin bread, as well as a delicious amuse bouche in the form of homemade tomato soup laced with a subtle hint of olive oil. Paired with a fruity Wild Earth Riesling from New Zealand from the in-house wine list, I officially opened the meal with a griddled fillet of red mullet that sat on creamy garlic puree and red wine jus. All of this came topped with a goat’s cheese and rosemary crisp which was simply divine. My dining partner equally enjoyed the succulent mushrooms which were stuffed with chicken mousse, and joined by potato gnocchi, crispy chicken wings, broad beans and roasted chicken emulsion. Seven Park Place had set the bar high for what was to come.
For the mains, I tried the griddled fillet of seabass which was nicely presented with salt baked celeriac sticks, sliced granny smith apple and spinach, whilst my dining partner opted for the succulent duck breast which came with a thin potato crisp and winter vegetables, as well as a tasty and flavoursome Muscat sauce. A second amuse bouche of refreshing lychee sorbet, mango cream and passion fruit rounded off what had been an impressive insight into the skilful culinary excellence of Mr Drabble before we devoured a passion fruit soufflé with chocolate sauce, and slow-cooked pineapple infused with scotch and finished with a scoop of coconut sorbet.
After sampling what had been yet another exquisite meal at Seven Park Place, it was only apt that we ended our evening on a sweet note – several different types of petits fours on a piece of slate (caramelised nougat, pistachio profiteroles, Grand Marnier orange and sponge, white chocolate vanilla, blood orange jelly, lemon macaroon and chocolate brownie) and rich coconut marshmallows. After cleansing the palate for the final time with fresh mint and lemon tea, it was then time to retire to the comfort of the St.James’s Suite.
In the morning, and if you have any space left from the night before, breakfast is served in the main bar from 08:00 until 11:00 on a Sunday and is available for a supplementary cost, likewise for the hot and egg-based dishes.
St. James’s Hotel and Club is without a doubt one of London’s finest hotels, and if your budget can stretch to the top floor, then you will definitely experience the true ‘height of luxury’.
St. James’s Hotel and Club – Where and how?
St. James’s Hotel and Club is located at 7-8 Park Pl, London SW1A 1LS, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.stjameshotelandclub.com.
Expect to pay between £1,585 to £1,750 per room per night for the St. James’s Suite.
About Simon Wittenberg