London’s St Ermin’s hotel is to reopen in mid-April following a £30 million refurbishment.
The Westminster property, housed in a Grade II Listed Victorian building a minute’s walk from St James’s Park station, is being relaunched as a four-star deluxe hotel by US company Amerimar Enterprises.
A hotel since 1900 and most recently a 275-room property owned by NH Hoteles, the revamped St Ermin’s will have 331 rooms, including 80 in a new adjoining wing to open by September.
Business Traveller had a hard-hat tour this week and found the transformation was well under way. The property’s original interiors by theatrical designer J P Briggs are being carefully restored, while a modern new look by LA designer Dayna Lee is being introduced.
The horseshoe-shaped building’s front courtyard is being landscaped and will have a drive-up entrance. Inside, the grand double-height lobby, which features rococo plasterwork, an ornate curving staircase and wrap-around balcony, is being redesigned to create what general manager Douglas McHugh called a “warm, homely, welcoming and non-corporate” feel. “We don’t want it to feel like a 330-room property,” he said.
Also featuring beautiful period details are the 150-capacity ground-floor ballroom and the adjoining Cloisters and Balcony rooms. The property will have a total of 15 meeting spaces.
Guestrooms start from 18 sqm and have a warm colour palette of green, brown, purple and red. They will have king-size beds, workdesks with multinational plug sockets, wired and wireless internet access, 37-inch flatscreen TVs, iPod docking stations, minibars, tea and coffee-making facilities, safes, robes and slippers, and bathroom amenities by the White Company. Room service will be available 24 hours.
There will also be 40 suites measuring up to 60 sqm, 18 family rooms and 53 Executive rooms. An Executive lounge will offer breakfast, drinks and canapés.
The Caxton Grill, under the leadership of Hus Vedat, will offer modern European cuisine made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It will feature a Josper charcoal grill, its own street entrance, and a private dining room for ten people.
The adjoining Caxton bar will offer whisky and wine “flights” and serve food all day. In the lobby, a coffee station will offer “grab and go” hot drinks and pastries in the morning, while afternoon tea will be available in the library.
A gym will open at the same time as the new wing, with a temporary one in place until then. While there will be no spa facilities, it will be possible to arrange in-room treatments.
Amerimar specialises in hotel redevelopment and its previous projects include Hotel George in Washington DC, Hotel Derek in Houston and the Hutton in Nashville. This is its first project outside the US.
Jon Cummins, Amerimar’s chief operating officer, told Business Traveller: “Our whole approach is that we look for opportunities to redevelop properties that in our view aren’t what they should be. With St Ermin’s we are restoring this beautiful grande dame to her former glory, introducing a beautiful, rich design that will bring her back to the way she used to be.”
He added: “What makes a hotel special or fall flat is service, and that’s what we spend a tremendous amount of time on. We’ll be delivering five-star service in a competitive market, though we won’t be priced at the top of the market.” Weekday room rates would start at £199, he said.
The property has a rich history, being the base for MI6 and Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.
It is one of a raft of properties opening or being revamped in London in the coming months. The Four Seasons London at Park Lane reopened this week after a two-year refurbishment programme, while The Savoy unveiled its £220 million refurbishment project late last year, and W London will open on Leicester Square on February 14.
The Corinthia Hotel London is also now taking reservations, while the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London will open on March 14, and the boutique Eccleston Square Hotel will follow suit in Pimlico later this year. Bulgari Hotels also looks set to open its first London property in Knightsbridge towards the end of this year.
The Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is to undergo a “multi-million-pound” refurbishment of all guestrooms over the next few months, and Guoman’s Charing Cross hotel is nearing the completion of its project to add a new Executive Wing.
Report by Michelle Mannion