The Hotel Sofitel London St James was originally built in 1923 to house the headquarters of the army banking agency, Cox and Company, later Cox’s and King’s, which was subsequently taken over by Lloyd’s Bank. It remained in the hands of bankers until Sofitel converted the grade II listed building into a 125,000 sq ft luxury 5-star hotel with 186 rooms.
We were invited along to try out their “Revealed” package for the night – An overnight stay at Sofitel London St James including breakfast, afternoon tea for two in the Rose Lounge as well as a “Revealed” cocktail for two in St James Bar.
“Revealed” pays homage to a selection of artists, revealing intimate moments when inspiration comes to life through their everyday situations, be it over lunch or simply walking about. The images, from Paris Match, have been selected by Olivier Widmaier Picasso, the grandson of Pablo Picasso.
On entering the Sofitel St James, you can’t help but be impressed by its former life. The grandeur of days gone by is embraced, with pockets of information about banking as well as tasteful portraits of the previous owners on the walls. With the cycling “Tour of Britain” happening just outside, the lobby was surprisingly tranquil and no cheering could be heard.
A LCD display shows highlights from the exhibition – a glimpse of what is to come within The Rose Lounge, however first it was time for a “Revealed” cocktail, a sumptuous combination of St Germain elderflower liqueur and Bombay Sapphire Gin, the fragrant spirits are mixed with fresh fruit and a cleansing green oolong tea served from a teapot. The cocktail was deliciously light, fruity and perfect for the St James Bar with its Coco Chanel boudoir-inspired interior.
It would have been very easy to spend the afternoon sampling all of the cocktails from the bar! However, it was time to check out the “Revealed” exhibition and have afternoon tea!
The exhibition runs within The Rose Lounge as well as at the side of the lobby. Afternoon tea within an art gallery setting is a first for me, and it was pretty interesting wandering around and getting the chance to chat to fellow “tea-ers” as they enjoyed their sandwiches!
Afternoon tea at The Rose Lounge consists of a vast choice of teas, scones with lemon curd, jam and clotted cream as well as finger sandwiches finished off with mouth-watering Parisien pastries. I also love cast iron teapots!
Beetroot-coloured bread brightened up the sandwich selection with a heavenly selection of fillings which were light enough to leave room for scones and pastries!
A choice of two delights each from a large selection. It was the hardest decision of the day! Delicate morsels filled with cream, coulis and more. And after all that we headed up to our room for a quick peek at the “Tour of Britain” which was practically on our doorstep.
The room had everything we needed: Coffee-maker, TV, internet, air-conditioning and the view onto Pall Mall topped it off.
The best bit for me however was the bathroom…
A huge bath with a separate shower – sometimes you just want to have a long soak in a bath you can almost swim in! Robes, slippers, Hermès toiletries and even a skin scrubber were provided. A good night’s sleep for me was just about guaranteed!
The following morning breakfast was served in The Balcon restaurant, which is worth a peek at night for the balcony itself (and the charcuterie plates). There was a large buffet selection of fruits, pastries, hot and cold dishes as well as dishes to order.
The scrambled eggs were almost as good as mine (that’s praise – it’s taken years to perfect my art!) with herby chipolatas and tasty non-fatty black pudding. This buffet would definitely set you up for a full day exploring London.
But all too soon it was time to head homeward. We had a lovely night at Sofitel St James and enjoyed the “Revealed” exhibition (and cocktail!). The “Revealed” package is available at the Sofitel St James websitewith room prices starting from £545 for stays until 30th October 2015, subject to availability. This would be an ideal package for a special occasion visit to London (birthday, anniversary etc).
Many thanks to Sofitel London St James for the opportunity to visit and review, we received the stay for free but this did not influence our review, paws up honest.