DIPLOMATIC CONCIERGE: Venetia van Kuffeler finds the home of modern French luxury in London at Sofitel London St James
LOCATED ON THE CORNER of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall, a grand Grade-II listed building has been home to the Sofitel London St James since 2002. Opposite the Institute of Directors, the building – owned by the Crown Estate and completed in 1923 – is one of the most prestigious addresses in London, just minutes away from some of the capital’s most iconic attractions, including St James’s Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. Many of London’s Royal Parks are just a short stroll away, including St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens.
Formerly the banking hall of Cox’s and King’s, the double height entrance hall is a wonderful balance of old-world allure and chic modernism. The building’s prestigious history is still very much alive as evidenced in paintings, photographs and restored bank memorabilia dotted around the hotel. The property encapsulates the modern luxury of the Sofitel brand, continuing the mix of modern French and British designs, with a fresh contemporary and residential feel in the rooms.
2019 marked a new era for the five-star hotel with an innovative design update. The 183 rooms (14 of which are suites) have been renovated by the hotel’s original designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. Inspired by society and culture in 1960s London, rooms have various striking colour schemes. My luxurious room was a gorgeous shade of vibrant pink, with a striking Warhol portrait of Twiggy overlooking the bed. The bathroom boasted a walk-in shower as well as a huge bath, with smart chequered floor. All a welcome luxury after a long day in London. Amenities included a Smeg kettle, Nespresso machine, minibar, air-conditioning, huge television and iPod-docking station. A desk and comfortable armchair completed the picture.
Downstairs, the hotel’s restaurant Wild Honey St James is an exciting collaboration with renowned chef Anthony Demetre. Reimagining his restaurant Wild Honey – once one of London’s most talked about restaurants – the eatery combines contemporary French cooking with the finest seasonal British produce. The food is excellent. The hotel is also home to the pretty Rose Lounge, which is a lovely place for a client meeting, quick hour of work between meetings, or even an indulgent afternoon tea. The chic St James Bar is a great destination to meet colleagues or friends for a cocktail.
Whether searching for a National Day reception venue or a dining room for an intimate, private dinner, the Sofitel London St James has meeting and banqueting options for all occasions. The Westminster Suite caters for up to 200 guests; the Mayfair Suite for up to 100; the Piccadilly and Bloomsbury up to 70 and the Belgravia Suite up to 12 guests. Rooms come equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual facilities, including Wi-Fi and videoconferencing.
Friendly and professional staff are on hand to cater to guests’ every whim, as well as the concierge team to recommend the best restaurants, running routes for fitness enthusiasts, or arrange trips to a nearby West End theatre, or the Royal Opera house.
The home of modern French luxury in London, the property is found in what has to be one of London’s most prestigious locations. From visiting Heads of State to group delegations, the Sofitel London St James has all bases covered.
SOFITEL LONDON ST JAMES 6 WATERLOO PLACE, LONDON SW1Y 4AN
T: +44 (0) 20 7747 2200 WWW.SOFITELSTJAMES.COM