By Angela Fairhurst
On a quiet cul-de-sac in London is the St. James Hotel and Club, a boutique hotel that exudes quintessential English-ness from the moment you approach the stairs. Originally an exclusive gentleman’s club, the 1857 building was meticulously restored by renowned German designer Anne Marie Jagdfeld into 60 luxurious rooms and suites featuring the flavor of the period with handmade silk wallpapers, glass Murano chandeliers and a museum-worthy art collection of over 450 pieces.
The St. James Hotel is popular with celebrities, diplomats and authors alike with former guests including Cher, Elton John, and Sean Connery. The location is off St. James Street, around the corner from Buckingham Palace and close to London’s most exclusive shopping destinations of New Bond Street and Jermyn Street. The 40-acre Green Park is also easily accessible through a shortcut through one of the hotel’s back doors.
St James Hotel and Club is a member of the Althoff Collection, known for its attention to detail. True to its reputation, the hotel is elegantly designed. All rooms have luxury Hypnos mattresses also used by the Royal Family, polished stone bathrooms, cozy bathrobes and Penhaligon’s bath products. Modern technology abounds with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, VDA multimedia system with music and videos and iPod docking stations. Many of the rooms have their own balconies with views over the rooftops of the Buckingham Court area.
The hotel has its own in-house Michelin Star restaurant, William Drabble’s Seven Park Place. The fare is classic French cuisine using the freshest British produce. “Billy” has a fondness for fresh lobster and Lune Valley lamb, found year-round on the menu, which he creatively prepares with seasonal accompaniments.
William’s Bar and Bistro, the informal dining establishment in the hotel has an extensive menu of cocktails, wines and spirits, and a treat of popcorn with a daily flavor change. Here, traditional afternoon tea is served daily from 3:00 – 5:30pm, with all the classic elements of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and pastries, but with the added benefit of a gluten-free menu.
The St. James still takes pride in the tradition of its forbears, maintaining a private club where members have VIP status and benefits and a reciprocal arrangement with over 500 private member clubs worldwide.