The Sofitel London St James is a grand hotel set in a beautiful old building that used to be a bank. Remnants of the old bank still remain, from the ornate high ceilings in the foyer to the swathes of marble throughout the building. The hotel has even kept remnants of the old bank; coins, notes weighing scales and other apparatus that was used in the bank all those years ago are displayed in glass cases next to the check-in desk.
The Sofitel London St James has a great location. Walk North and you will reach the iconic Piccadilly Circus (your nearest tube stop) which leads onto Regent Street where you will find an enormous Apple store and a bunch of designer and high street stores including Top Shop, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger. To the South, you are just steps away from St James’s Park and the Mall which leads to Buckingham Palace and various squares where you can watch soldiers on horses in Busby hats. Trafalgar Square with Nelsons Column and the hub of Charing Cross station is also just 5 minutes away. Finally, lets not forget that you are in Theatreland here, with Her Majesty’s Theatre being located behind the Sofitel and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery also around the corner.
Style & Character
This grand building has been beautifully refurbished and mixes the history of the traditional old building with new and stylish interiors, which make it feel like a really “happening” place to be. The popularity of the bar was evident on our visit as it was almost always packed with locals and guests.
There is great humour in the decor, such as the original painting glued to the ceiling in the bar, which encourages you to sit and look upwards and in the foyer, while I was there, there was a selection of artwork displayed by one of France’s most successful contemporary artists, Richard Orlinski. A selection of his famous figurine works was being displayed which gave it a sense of vibrancy.
Service & Facilities
To one side of the lobby is the bright and airy The Balcon restaurant, where breakfast is served along with lunch and evening meals. It has a sophisticated yet contemporary brasserie feel with lots of funky lighting. Next door is an atmospheric bar and beyond this, behind the reception desk, there is a pretty rose lounge with lots of flowers on the walls and pink lighting. This lounge is ideal for an afternoon tea which can be enjoyed with the sounds of a live harp.
Further down the corridor, there are numerous meeting rooms (although I cannot stress this enough, this hotel does not feel like a business hotel in any way) and there is generous spa area with a cathedral-like sitting area leading onto treatment rooms.
Rooms have a classic but stylish design and are a good size for central London. The smart decor is complemented by the black and white immaculate bathrooms with black marble work surfaces.
Food & Drink
I did not try the food and drink on my visit, but the atmosphere in the bar and restaurant was warm and buzzing, and online reviews suggest that the food is as tasty as the decor is elegant.
It is rare for a hotel in central London to be rated excellent so consistently on TripAdvisor. I have stayed in a number of Sofitel hotels around the world including the Sofitel at London Heathrow, but the Sofitel London St James is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of luxury. This is a very special hotel in the heart of London. Book here and you will be delighted with your choice!
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