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Sofitel London St James

by Emily Healey-Lynham

The luxurious Sofitel London St James is in a great central London location, only a stone’s throw from Theatreland, the renowned Gentleman’s Clubs, Buckingham Palace and St James Park.  This beautiful hotel resides in the former home of Cox and Kings, the renovated building is now a English Heritage Grade II listed housing one of London’s most unique five-star hotels which combines traditional British design with a contemporary style that is unmistakably French.

After a short jaunt from the station I arrived at the Sofitel London St James which is just as impressive from the outside as it is elegant inside.  I was met by the doormen first who were pleasant and a very welcoming start to my Sofitel experience.  If you are travelling by car it is worth knowing that in the evenings and on Sundays there is free parking immediately outside and very close to the hotel, the hotel will also park your car, for a small fee which is very handy to help speed up your start to your stay at the Sofitel.  Inside I was greeted by the delightful reception staff, once checked in and my luggage on the way to my room, I was taken on a tour of the facilities the hotel has to offer, including the Sofitel So SPA, The Balcon Restaurant, where we were to dine that evening and St James Bar, a intimate bar tucked away between the restaurant and lobby.

I made my way to my room which was spacious and decorated in tones of green, grey and black, very art deco in design.  The beds and linens are crisp and comfortable, with large headboards and state-of-the-art lamps for reading.  The luxurious furnishings include a writing desk, lounge area with seating and an occassional table as well as a good sized bathroom with a bath tub and seperate shower cubicle where one can use the divine Hermès amenities supplied.The room was spotless and the bathroom was clean and up to the Sofitel’s great standards.  You also have more touches of state-of-the-art technology in an ipod dock and flat screen TV plus there are other neccessities such as shoe cleaning, ironing board and sewing kit etc.  After settling in the room and looking at the beautiful view from my window of Waterloo Place I tested the fitness room which was a lift ride down to the first floor, very well equipped with nice touches like a water fountain and the current newspapers and magazines.   The equipment on offer in the fitness room is modern and varied, I thoroughly enjoyed using the running machine while watching TV.

After a much appreciated shower I went down to the lobby to explore further and came across The Rose Lounge, a lovely area where afternoon tea can be enjoyed while listening to a harp player, a interesting twist to a tea lounge.  It was time to brave the weather outside, after obtaining an umbrella from the kind doorman, I tested how long it would take to get to a theatre and the shops and as informed it was a very short distance to the iconic areas of the West End including Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and the shopping of Regent Street and the Piccadilly.  This hotel is indeed a fabulous location for outings to site-see and attend business meetings in nearby Private Clubs and restaurants.  Upon returning to the hotel I noticed as you walk around the Sofitel the staff you meet are very pleasant and nothing is too much trouble from directions to an extra pillow to help using equipment in the fitness room.  Guests are greeted by real passion for their roles within the hotel and make your stay even more comfortable with their kind attitudes and knowledge.After glamorising myself in my room for dinner I made my way to The Balcon, a restaurant well known in food circles for offering the best in simple yet elegant French cuisine.  After a wonderful dinner I I took a trip to St James Bar bring a perfect end to my perfect stay at Sofitel.  The bar takes its inspiration from Coco Chanel’s 1920’s Paris apartment and it is very glamorous indeed, a very intimate setting for cocktails with family, friends or even lovers.  It is discreetly hidden from the reception and restaurant which makes the experience of drinking here even more pleasant as you are transported away from the hustle and bustle of London outside. The cocktail list in St James Bar includes vintage cocktails from antique recipe books as well as a wide champagne list and includes English sparkling wine.  The bar staff were very knowledgeable and helpful, just like every other staff member I had met during my stay.

After a few tipples I was very happy to be returning to the comfortable white linen bed,  I was very impressed with the touch of the sheets being turned down and bottled water being left by my bed with slippers while one is out enjoying a dinner or show and in my case one of the best meals I have had in London for a long time!  For travellers with a taste for art, history and culture, Sofitel London St James is more than a luxury hotel – it is somewhere that will always feel like a (French) home away from home.  From the moment I arrived to the moment I checked out everything was just superb – Jusqu’à la prochaine fois!

Sofitel St James
6 Waterloo Place
London, SW1Y 4AN


  • Emily Healey-Lynham

    Emily has been involved in the media industry for well over 10 years from working on film sets to journalism and PR. Emily is a strategic, energetic Editor who has been with Bespoke since the start heading up the Culture department. Being a fan of all art forms from the theatre to films, literature to exhibitions Emily is usually found in the stalls of a theatre telling you where the cast have been seen before without looking in the programme or fact finding in an art gallery, failing that she will be sipping champagne at the bar regaling stories of "glory days" of the West End!

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