Sofitel London St James: Review
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With eco-travel considerations topping travel trends and the slow travel movement encouraging us to seek beauty closer to home, a London staycation has never been more appealing. But where to start with choosing the best hotels in central London? Sofitel London St James is just a stone’s throw from both Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, so when it comes to tourist-friendly hotspots, it definitely fits the bill. But does this luxury French hotel measure up as the perfect base for a London weekender? Rebecca Cox checks in to check it out…
Sofitel London St James Review
Nestled in a quiet corner just off Pall Mall, it’s hard to believe that Sofitel is a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus and a five-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square. Each room is decorated in one of the four signature Sofitel colours, red, fuchsia, green or cobalt blue, with bold modern art to match the colour scheme and chic finishing touches including SMEG appliances to make your morning cuppa. The historic London address, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment by Pierre-Yves Rochon, is a Grade-II listed building which has been at the heart of St James since the 1600s. The design is the perfect marriage of old and new, with antique furniture and heritage textiles merging seamlessly with chic velvet upholstery and modern light fittings. The monochrome bathrooms feature impossible-not-to-pocket Hermes minis and the enormous beds are second-to-none in terms of comfort.
The hotel’s new restaurant Wild Honey St James is one of the chicest dining spaces in the capital, with baby blue velvet upholstery, marbled tabletops, halo chandeliers and an interesting selection of artwork adorning the walls of this two-level restaurant. Anthony Demetre and Head Chef Simon Woodrow have put together a delectable menu showcasing the best of British seasonal produce teamed with contemporary French cooking for a dining experience worthy of the dozens of superlative-packed reviews and recommendations. The Grilled Rib of Scottish grass-fed beef, winter vegetables, bone marrow, red wine and bay leaf sauce was deemed ‘delicious’ by the notoriously difficult-to-please dining companion (mother abhors ‘fussy’ foods), while the sea bass was cooked with melt-in-the-mouth precision and served with sweet and buttery honey-glazed winter greens and mussels to spectacular effect. The star of the show though? The off-menu rigatoni in three-cheese sauce cooked at the request of four-year-old Jack, which he had to fight us for until the last bite. Sadly, due to the unpredictable nature of dining with pre-schoolers in tow, we had to cut the meal short before dessert and thus failed to trial the signature ice cream and wild honey dessert we’d been eyeing up on the menu all week. Alas, another visit will be needed.
In between shopping and sightseeing pursuits in this area of town, you’ll need some R&R time at the Sofitel Spa. Check out the new CODAGE facial, a 60-minute treatment with the French prescriptive cosmetics brand. Your therapist will carefully select the products to suit your skin type and deliver an expert treatment (on one of the comfiest spa beds in the city) followed by a personalised skincare prescription.
It would be rude not to pop into the National Gallery, such is the hotel’s proximity to such an amazing collection of artworks. And if you’re travelling with kids a visit to the St James Park pelicans is a must, followed by a walk around the lake to salute the soldiers outside Buckingham Palace. Burlington Arcade and Fortnum & Mason are just a short walk away to fulfil your retail therapy needs.
KIDS WILL LOVE
A special shout-out goes to the Wild Honey breakfast offering, with the best kids’ breakfast buffet in London. Alongside all the usual favourites, kids will love visiting their very own breakfast station with a complete array of cereal selection box favourites, pastries, muffins and cereal bars. But parents, good luck keeping them away from the sweets and chocolates also on offer here…
Prices at Sofitel London St James start from £399 per night for a double room. To book, visit www.sofitelstjames.com