Travel

By Kelley Granger

We may not be able to help you score a night in Buckingham Palace with Prince William, but we can recommend some sweet digs just around the bend to share with a distinguished gentleman of your own.

The hotel’s luxurious guestrooms and baths

St. James’s Hotel and Club, which originally opened as a gentlemen’s chamber for English aristocrats in 1892, recently reopened after undergoing an extensive 18-month renovation. Located in the prestigious Mayfair section of London (where rent costs a very pretty pound), the historic property has been remade into a swanky boutique hotel done in delicious olive and khaki tones. Sixty guestrooms feature luxurious design details like handmade silk wallpaper, amber glass doorknobs, and polished stone bathrooms. Art buffs will enjoy the tremendous collection throughout the hotel, which ranges from Biedermeier to contemporary art and features portraits that immortalize the history of the club and its former patrons.

If you think the rooms are the crown jewel of the location, wait until you get downstairs to sample the gastronomical delights of Dieter Mà¼ller, the world famous, three Michelin star chef. Set just across from the reception lobby, the lounge and restaurant offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in a sensual ambience similar to the rest of the hotel. If you’d like to experience a traditional afternoon tea, stop by for warm scones, finger sandwiches, homemade pastries and more earlier in the afternoon. Otherwise, make a dinner reservation to choose delectable bites from the tasting menu, like terrine of foie gras with lychee-foam and amaranth cracknel, or a main course from the classic selection, like halibut with mussel-saffron sauce or a loin of lamb with olive sauce and artichokes. You’ll be waited on hand and foot by a bevy of staff eager to match your dish with the most appropriate wine, clear your plate or drop off just one more delicious roll while you await the next course. The service during dinner is reflective of all the staff at the hotel, who are eager to make your stay as comfortable as possible, from check-in to turn down to the concierge helping you create a customized excursion plan to take in the best of the city.

Green Park will lead you to the gilded gates of Buckingham Palace

Which reminds us…Don’t forget you are in London. Drag yourself out from under the silky covers of your supersized St. James’s bed, scattered with remnants of room service, and get out to take in the superlative sights of The Old Smoke. One of the best aspects of the hotel is its prime location, a stone’s throw from the Ritz Hotel, the tube station and Green Park, which provides a pretty pathway to stroll on while heading for sightseeing at Buckingham Palace. If you’d rather shop like a royal than watch the changing of the guard, Jermyn Street is a short walk from the hotel and provides upscale options like Floris perfumes and Nigel Milne jewelry. The street, which was once home to Isaac Newton, has a history of shirt-making and still offers the finest in ready-to-wear and custom tailoring for your chap. Pick up Luxe City Guide’s London edition, a small but sassy guide that devotes a great section to shopping in this area as well as the latest in spas, restaurants and nightlife. It also offers a prudent caution for the city in general: “On a budget? Don’t come to London.”

St. James’s Hotel and Club
7-8 Park Place, St James’s
SW1A 1LP London

+44.207.316.1600
www.stjameshotelandclub.com

Luxe City Guides
www.luxecityguides.com

Originally published November 2008
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