Hotel Review: Conrad London St. James, Westminster in London
Sitting right at the heart of London’s Westminster the Conrad London St. James is within a short saunter of some of the UK’s premier historical sights, such as Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square, as well as its seats of power – both the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street are the hotel’s neighbours.
The Conrad London St. James is located directly opposite St. James Park Underground Station. The hotel appears relatively unassuming on the outside but once you enter it is a tastefully designed, spacious and slickly operated hotel. The property’s Blue Boar restaurant is widely acclaimed and a chic bar, both matched with striking works of art and sculpture, have turned the hotel into something of a local celebrity in an impressively short space of time.
The St. James area the Conrad London St. James inhabits is bustling during the week with office workers and civil servants but on weekends it has an almost pastoral calm making the hotel an ideal base for sightseeing. Nearby St. James Park is a rare oasis of green and trees in this otherwise heavily built up area and has spectacular views of Buckingham Palace.
On entering the darkened lobby of the hotel, you feel like you are entering an expansive, marble floored and chandeliered warren. The creams and dark wood evoke an almost Oriental design template seen in the finest hotels of the mega-tropolises of Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo. However the impressive pieces of art and original drawings from legendary artist Gerald Scarfe in the bar and a slightly bizarre sculpture satirising the House of Commons firmly bring you back to the hallowed ‘terra firma’ of Westminster.
The Conrad London St. James has 256 contemporary rooms including 15 luxury suites. The signature Conrad Suite comes with its own private elevator and a window open to the stars. All suites are sumptuously equipped with large marble bathrooms, a separate bath tub and walk-in rain forest showers.
Standard rooms at the hotel are large, airy and light with minimalist wood touches and discrete lighting. The curtains are opened automatically and some rooms have impressive London vistas. The bed is gargantuan and cosy, flanked by two nightstands, and sits opposite a large wall-mounted flatscreen television. A Nespresso machine and minibar is standard while still and sparkling water is provided gratis. The dark-brown, almost volcanic black marble bathroom is warm, sexy and and boasts impressive features.
The very popular Blue Boar restaurant boasts robust, inventive contemporary British cuisine. Head Chef Michael Riordan has created seasonal menus that use fresh, regional ingredients. Staple dishes from the à la carte menu include Angus Beef Fillet, Wild Rabbit Stew and Roast Cornish Plaice.
Private dining at Blue Boar occupies two exceptional spaces connected to the main restaurant by a striking floor-to-ceiling wine wall. Breakfast is served at the Blue Boar and centres around a extensive self-service buffet. Cream High Teas are served in Emmeline’s Lounge named after women’s activist Emmeline Pankhurst. The bustling bar takes it cue from the classic old English pub.
As befits a luxury branch of the Hilton Worldwide chain that has outposts in several major international cities, the Conrad London St. James has all the first class touches one would expect including an excellent multi-lingual reception and wired-in concierge service who can advise on dining, spa and beauty services as well as the best of London’s shopping, art galleries, theatre and nightlife – there is a dedicated Conrad Concierge App.
There is an impressive Hilton-standard business centre, conference rooms and facilities. An Executive Lounge is available exclusively to guests who book Executive Rooms, Suites and to Diamond Tier Hilton Honors members. The hotel also boasts a small, well equipped gym that can be accessed 24 hours. The Conrad London St. James is child-friendly – Children receive a big box of toys on arrival while a babysitting service can be arranged in advance.
This year Conrad London St. James is celebrating 100 years since Conrad Hilton first established the Hilton brand. The celebrations include a new Vintage menu at the Blue Boar restaurant and a “Back in Time” experience on the River Thames. Guests booking the “Back in Time” Experience step into a classic Rolls-Royce to explore Oxfordshire’s countryside.
Drawing up along the banks of the Thames, guests will be met by the captain of a vintage boat ready to travel down the river through the green and glorious countryside. Guests can enjoy lunch on board before stopping at Cliveden House, where a Private Butlers Tour and sumptuous afternoon tea await.
Double rooms from £317 a night. Breakfast is included. The Back in Time Experience starts from £2,500 for four guests.
Address: Conrad London St James, 22-28 Broadway, London SW1H 0BH, England
Phone: +44 203 3018080