Like many Taj hotels, St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel also boasts a glorious history. In 1897, a retired military man, Major Pawley, acquired a site to build eight redbrick prestigious townhouses in Westminster. These are the buildings that make up the two Taj hotels in London — Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, and St. James’ Court A Taj Hotel. It was acquired by the Indian Hotels Company in 1982 and officially opened as St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel in 2014.
What’s it like?
Walking into the entrance, a striking Indian flag catches my eye, a proud moment for any Indian traveller in the English capital. My bags are instantly taken care of by the warm bell boy, who then directs me to the lobby. Dressed in shades of brown and gold with touches of blue, the lobby features a roomy lounge area in front of the reception. The Hamptons Bar, its lobby lounge and Bistro, its all-day dining outlet are situated on this level. I then explore its historic Shakespearean Courtyard that is its pièce de résistance.
Where is it?
Close to the Buckingham Palace. It is a five-minute walk from Victoria station. On the way, you will pass Cardinal Place, a chic commercial development that houses a myriad of restaurants and shops. The hotel is beside Westminster Chapel and St. James’s Park station isn’t too far either.
Some of the categories of this 323-key hotel include Classic room, Classic King room and Classic Junior suite. The wing by the courtyard features renovated rooms that are categorised as Premium. I stayed in a Premium Junior Courtyard suite that overlooked the quaint patio. Abundant natural light complemented the pale hues of the suite, giving sense of balance to the space. What sets this room apart was the back view of the ginormous clock that adorns the red-brick building from outside — a treat for design connoisseurs. A Nespresso machine, a marble bathroom with Forest Essentials amenities, a work desk equipped with multiple charging points, a minibar and a lounge area are some of the features of this suite.
Food and drink
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, and St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel share their restaurants and bars. The Hamptons Bar in the lobby has a pleasant vibe with live piano music in the evenings. Breakfast is at Bistro that features some Indian fare alongside British dishes. I had dinner here one night as well, an elaborate three-course Indian meal with French wine. The hotel’s courtyard opens in summer as an al fresco F&B outlet and there is also The Cellar Room by Laurent-Perrier (champagne). Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences houses the one Michelin-starred Quilon (Kerala’s cuisine) and Kona (known for its creative afternoon teas).
The hotel has banqueting suites that can accommodate up to 250 people. It features a separate city entrance. Along with The Director’s Boardroom, the Executive Boardroom, George VI and Edward VIII, the hotel offers over a dozen conferencing rooms.
There is a fitness centre and the Taj-signature Jiva Spa that has a lovely indoor vitality pool. Hair by Dar is a salon of celebrity hair stylist Dar, whose patrons include international royalty and Hollywood icons.
Verdict: Ideal for business travellers looking for a classic experience with contemporary service in central London.
Price: Upwards of ₹15,743/£169
Contact: St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, 54 Buckingham Gate, Westminster, London SW1E 6AF, United Kingdom