Nestled just blocks away from Trafalgar Square on Waterloo Place rests the beautiful and welcoming Sofitel St. James Hotel in London. The globally recognized brand doesn’t sacrifice quality on the altar of being a corporate name, as many hotels can often do. Instead, the Sofitel St. James caters to guests and offers award-winning experiences such as the So Spa, The Balcon Restaurant and the Rose Lounge.
After a flight from Paris, I found myself navigating the whirlwind streets of London for the first time. The tube dropped me off at Trafalgar Square and within a moment it felt as though I had somehow taken the underground back to New York’s Times Square. Tourists swirled around, lights flashed overhead and double decker buses weaved in and out of traffic effortlessly as I made my way through the crowd towards Waterloo Place and the St. James hotel.
At first glance, I found the hotel to be utterly charming–having just put up its Christmas lights, the entrance looked like a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and British flags proudly waving overhead. The hotel had an immediate regal feel likely due to its storied past dating back to 1923. What was once the headquarters of Cox’s & Company, later became a bank before eventually being repurposed as the celebrated hotel it is today. The lobby gives a nod to the hotel’s past while retaining a modern feel and merges English and French contemporary artists to pay homage to British culture and the French hotel chain.
As I shuffled into the lobby with bags in tow, I was greeted by a welcoming staff that handed me a key to a modern room with warm color schemes, a large comfortable bed and all the amenities needed to ensure a lovely stay. Perhaps the most notable feature of the 183 rooms offered at the Sofitel St. James is the “MyBed” concept created to ensure a wonderful night’s sleep for guests; a feature unique to the Sofitel brand.
As I explore the rest of the hotel, I come across the 1920s inspired St. James Bar that gives a nod to Coco Chanel’s apartment in Paris. The bar and its extensive, original cocktail list is outshone only by the neighboring restaurant, The Balcon, which whips up delectable meals served by a wonderfully attentive staff.
Giving a nod to classic French cuisine, The Balcon serves up everything from a charcuterie board accompanied by wine from the Loire Valley to organic roasted chicken and lemon sole with sage, brown butter. The result? A meal that single handedly argues against the point of it being difficult to find fantastic cuisine in London.
My stay at the Sofitel St. James proves short and sweet as I enjoy the hotel’s various offerings, languidly sip on wine at The Balcon and savor the excellent location that put me within walking distance of many of London’s notable sights.
Book this Hotel If…
You are looking for a quality hotel stay with a globally recognized and trusted brand, such as Sofitel Hotels. For those traveling as families, the hotel proves extremely thoughtful when accommodating the needs of its guests and has been known to surprise parents and kids with treats to welcome their arrival. Similarly, for business travelers passing through London, the Sofitel St. James offers private meeting rooms and banquette halls to accommodate large parties. The Sofitel St. James is located in a prime area of London, so look to book a stay if opting to be in close proximity to the main tourist attractions the city offers.
*I was invited for a complimentary stay at the Sofitel London in exchange for editorial coverage. As always, all opinions expressed on The Pin the Map Project are unbiased and my own.