With tourist numbers nothing like a normal summer for obvious reasons, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the capital being quieter than ever with an exploratory staycation. We’re all guilty of eschewing UK holidays for bargain beach breaks, but with foreign travel rules still ever-changing there’s no time like the present to make the most of being a tourist in London…without the other tourists.
Right in the heart of the West End, behind its neoclassical facade lies an impeccable five star property. Resplendent with a cosy bar, a stunning restaurant in the form of Wild Honey and an impressive three floor spa, you’d be forgiven for not wanting to leave during your stay, yet its location in the beating heart of the West End and proximity to some of London’s best parks, not to mention Buckingham Palace, means it’s the ideal location to base yourself for exploring the sights of the city.
Checking in for a midweek break, the property was blissfully quiet, certainly something to take advantage of compared to a normal summer season. Rooms are stylishly decorated incorporating Sofitel’s classic Parisian elegance with nods to 60s and 70s design, drawing inspiration from London’s cultural heritage, with thoughtful details from fascinating fashion and design books to pore over, to a camomile tea set next to the bed ready for lights out, not to mention the utterly divine orange blossom toiletries by Hermes, quite the most luxurious we’ve experienced on our travels.
Throughout the summer – weather permitting – the Sofitel’s terrace is transformed into the Parisian Café, bringing the café culture of the French capital to ours, with a small but perfectly formed menu from the hotel’s restaurant Wild Honey of bar bites, nibbles and mains. We savoured a crisp fillet of Cornish cod with fresh green beans and lemon purée and a deeply indulgent warm chocolate fondant, accompanied with a seasonal rose G&T as the sun downed; the perfect pavement summer supper. If however the weather isn’t holding out (this is London after all…) the beautiful backdrop Wild Honey doesn’t disappoint. For a nightcap, trot across the lobby to the St James Bar; its velvet banquettes are just calling out for an evening tryst with a negroni.
While you’d assume that being on the corner of one of the West End’s busiest streets would be a drawback when it comes to noise, with soundproof glazing, blackout curtains and a king size bed bed enshrouded in crisp linens, it’s safe to say that your night of slumber won’t be disturbed. With the option of breakfast in bed always a lure, we can highly recommend the utterly divine toast with goat’s curd and fresh berries. What a way to start your day.
Of course you shouldn’t leave with paying a visit to the exceptional Sofitel spa. While a host of treatments are available, the new partnership with HydraFacial is worth booking in for. For the uninitiated, a relaxing facial this is not, though it most certainly makes up for it in the satisfaction stakes as this hydradermabrasion procedure combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection simultaneously, drawing impurities from the skin like never before and leaving skin refreshed and glowing.
As one of London’s best five star hotels it’s no surprise the Sofitel St James is a delightful stay; just prepared to want to stay forever.
Rooms from £295+VAT in a Superior Room.