The Hotel Review: Conrad London St James, Westminster, London
Review: Jane Pople
Fabulously located seconds from St James tube station and a minute or so walk from some of London’s most iconic attractions including houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the Conrad Hotel is perfect for a stay in the heart of the city. From the moment we arrived for our one-night stay the service was impeccable, the doormen welcomed us inside the impressive lobby and we were checked-in efficiently by the warm and friendly desk staff.
Staying in one of the King Executive Rooms on the fourth floor, we were told it was one of the quietest rooms in the hotel and this was certainly true as despite being right in the bustle of hustle of the capital we didn’t hear any traffic or other noise for the duration of our stay. The spacious room was equipped with plenty of luxuries to make the stay extra special, from 400 thread count sheets to the large marble bathroom with walk-in rain shower and separate tub, ideal for relaxing in after a day spent sight-seeing or shopping. There was also complimentary bottled water, Nespresso coffee and the room came equipped with a state of the art media hub and 42-inch satellite HDTV. The executive rooms also come with access to the Executive lounge, which offers guests a further great space to relax and unwind in, with complimentary refreshments available throughout the day.
With afternoon tea booked for 3.30pm we headed down to Emmeline’s Lounge, a great space located adjacent to the hotel lobby. With ambient lighting and comfortable seating it afforded a luxurious yet cosy atmosphere, ideal for enjoying an intimate afternoon tea for two or for a larger group. Our server showed us to our seats and gave us a menu highlighting the seasonally themed selection of savouries, sandwiches, pastries and scones we would be enjoying, and we informed him we were both vegetarian, hoping this wouldn’t be an issue as at first glance the menu seemed not to really cater for this. We were told this would not be a problem and were promptly poured our first glass of Muum Champagne, which is free flowing with the £54-a-head Afternoon Tea. We were then offered an extensive tea menu, which gave a delightful overview of the origins of the afternoon tea tradition and then gave an overview of the various teas on offer. This was a great touch to the experience and after much deliberation we opted for the chai tea, which was served in individual tea pots and remained topped up throughout our two hour experience.
Our food arrived with the server explaining the chef had changed the menu slightly to cater for our vegetarian requirements, and we were given individual fresh quinoa salad, bruschettas and mozzarella pasties instead of the meat savouries, these were all delicious and we were suitably impressed that they had catered so well for our requirements and that it seemed no trouble at all. Next we moved onto a selection of delicious finger sandwiches, including pickled cucumber, lemon & mint cream cheese on beetroot bread, free range egg & mayonnaise with mustard cress on country loaf and mediterranean roasted vegetables on rye. Throughout our experience the staff were always on hand to fill up our champagne glasses and teapots yet were never intrusive, complementing the relaxed yet luxury atmosphere of Emmeline’s.
Next we enjoyed the selection of cakes and pastries which were almost too beautiful to eat, almost. They again had altered these slightly from the menu as to remove any of the gelatine based options for us. We had delicious madeleines and then mini candy apples and the fantastic chocolate and cherry forests, which looked like miniature plant pots thanks to their chocolate casing and thyme garnish. Fit to burst, we somehow managed to finish our afternoon tea with the warm scones served with lemon curd, strawberry compote and Devonshire clotted cream. For those unable to finish the delectable delicacies on offer these are able to be boxed up for guests to take home. A superb, highly recommend experience we would give Emmeline’s Afternoon Tea a strong 5/5.
Guests looking for dinner and drinks can head to the Blue Boar Restaurant which offers contemporary British dining, and there is the Blue Boar Bar which has a sophisticated take on the classic British pub, serving locally brewed craft beers and ales. Even on a quiet Sunday evening this warm and friendly space has a lively atmosphere full of both locals and tourists.
After a wonderfully peaceful night’s sleep we headed down for breakfast at around 8.30am, after enquiring as to exactly where we were heading the friendly staff showed us the way, another display of great service from the hotel’s staff for whom nothing was ever too much trouble. An extensive array of buffet options were available, from full cooked-breakfast staples, to warm waffles and syrup, plenty of pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal. Tea and coffee can be ordered and are served in large pots, making a relaxing and comfortable breakfast experience a breeze. A great addition to the Conrad’s breakfast amenities were the fresh smoothies on tap, we enjoyed the fabulous spinach and lime, a refreshing bright green concoction that helped alongside a delicious breakfast to set us up for the day.
The hotel’s decor is modern throughout but with a nod to its historical past and location, once government offices, there are plenty of political artworks to be spotted. Luxurious styling without being overbearing, the Conrad’s decor is a refreshingly different take from many of the more stuffy and traditional hotels that London has to offer. With exceptional service throughout and a wonderfully modern yet luxurious stay, the Conrad St James is a must-experience hotel in the heart of Westminster.
Conrad London St. James
22-28 Broadway | Westminster | London | SW1H 0BH
Rates at Conrad London St. James start from £274 per room per night on a B&B basis, staying in a King Superior Room. To book, visit www.conradhotels3.hilton.com