Tried & Tested

Hotel review: St James’s Hotel and Club Mayfair

1 Jun 2022 by Tom Otley
Exterior St James Hotel and Club2 – Credit No Limit Fotodesign

Background

St James’s Hotel and Club is both a hotel and a club, which originally opened as a gentlemen’s club in 1892. St James’s is operated by Althoff Collection, which has 18 hotels under its Althoff (5-star) and Ameron Collection brands (4-star), mainly in Germany and Switzerland, and recently launched its Urban Loft brand. The company’s chief

Frank Marrenbach, was in charge of Oetker Collection for 15 years. The Club part of St James’s is a membership that gives you discounts off rooms and the restaurant along with reciprocal rights to some 600 clubs around the world.

Where is it?

On Park Place, a cul-de-sac off St James’s Street. Walk down the street and look for the sign on the side of a building directing you to the Royal Overseas Club. Just before you get to those gates you will see a red brick building on your left with a flagpole and flag. It is a five-minute walk from Green Park station which is on the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Victoria lines.

What’s it like?

From the outside, the hotel is very traditional. It has a deep terracotta Victorian exterior with wrought-iron detailing, but inside it is more modern, with original works of art in all the public areas, including European Impressionist, Expressionist and Cubist art. It was last substantially renovated by Berlin-based AMJ Design in 2008 but this has weathered well and successfully combines period features, including the internal staircase, with a more modern bar area and restaurant.

The welcome was refreshingly informal: friendly, chatty and made me immediately feel that the stay would go well.

St James’s Hotel and Club Mayfair

Rooms

Reception is just above street level, up a flight of steps. When you enter reception you are already on floor 2 with rooms on the lower floor (1), no rooms on 2, but then rooms on floors up to 6 with the penthouse on floor 7.

We were staying in a lower room which had a view onto an internal (inaccessible) courtyard. All 60 bedrooms are quietly luxurious, so while there’s no gold and gilt, décor includes silk wallpaper, black lacquered furniture, Murano glass chandeliers, and marble bathrooms. There are eight categories in total, five of which are suites. Entry level Superior rooms start at 22 sqm, with standard in-room amenities including an armchair, a work desk with free high-speed internet access, a laptop safe, a minibar, an iPod docking station, built-in wardrobes and a flatscreen TV, with Penhaligon toiletries in the bathrooms. Our room had a shower over the bath, which wouldn’t suit everyone. There are quite a few stairs in the property, though obviously there is a lift to access the various floors.

Since it is also a club (£250 to join, £400 per year), there’s often a buzz around the public areas, albeit of a very refined sort.

Food and drink

The last time I stayed (around 15 years ago), the hotel’s restaurant was Andaman by Philipp Vogel. Since 2009 it has been Seven Park Place by William Drabble, and it is a superb restaurant, serving modern French cuisine. At a time when restaurants are quiet in London, it was almost full on this Thursday night. There are some excellent set menus, and the same kitchen serves à la carte in 1857 The Bar, which has bay windows, the art collection, and an extensive wine list along with what must be one of the largest offerings of port in a London hotel. There’s an all-day dining menu in 1857 The Bar (which also has the name William’s Bar and Bistro). Breakfast is served here (£22.50) and is both a buffet with the option of hot dishes to be ordered. Traditional afternoon tea is served daily from 3pm to 5.30pm.

St James’s Hotel and Club Mayfair

Meetings

There are five meeting spaces in the basement, including the surprisingly large Mayfair Suite, as well as two adjoining suites on the penthouse floor.

Verdict

This is a luxurious bolthole with great service, and a very special restaurant and bar.

FACT BOX

  • Don’t miss A special occasion meal in Seven Park Place
  • Best for A romantic weekend in the centre of London
  • Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in July started from £470 for a Deluxe room
  • Contact 7-8 Park Place, St James’s; tel +44 (0)20 7316 1600; stjameshotelandclub.com
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