At the top of its game – Sofitel London St James wows

The plush bar at Sofitel London St. JamesAt the top of its game – Sofitel London St James wows

Waterloo Place must be one of the most elusive addresses in the West End. Discretely tucked away between Pall Mall and Piccadilly, it’s a quiet yet central thoroughfare, enviously close to a few beautiful gardens yet minutes from the action. Taking up residence on the corner of Waterloo Place and the Mall is the magnificent Sofitel London St James. The neoclassical, listed building is home to 183 rooms, including several luxury suites, as well as a fantastic restaurant, a glamorous bar and an award-winning spa.

The warm and buzzy lobby at Sofitel London St. JamesThe warm and buzzy lobby at Sofitel London St. James

Sofitel is a French chain of luxury hotels, headquartered in Paris, so each of its properties is naturally grounded by a particularly French elegance. Upon arrival, a sense of European refinement is certainly what you get: the Sofitel’s 5-star status shines very brightly, yet very discreetly. The lobby is a grand affair, a wonderfully vibrant and busy space, with red velvet armchairs and glorious bouquets everywhere you look. The superb front of house staff take care of things in an effortless fashion and demonstrate that ultimate 5-star giveaway of anticipating what guests need before guests know themselves. Such polished and efficient service is truly enjoyable.

The Balcon - the striking restaurant at Sofitel London St. JamesThe Balcon – the striking restaurant at Sofitel London St. James

The ground floor of the Sofitel is pleasingly buzzy at all hours. The hotel’s golden-hued St. James bar is immediately cosy with its plush poufs and banquettes. If I worked in this part of town, I’d be here every week for classic cocktails and a smart atmosphere. Next door is The Balcon, an all-day dining spot that is exquisite to look at. Featuring ornate columns and huge arched windows, as well as two oak spiral staircases and silk drapes, the sense of scale is impressively dramatic. During our recent visit, we stopped by for dinner and sampled some first-rate cooking.

Highlights included smoked haddock croquettes with saffron aioli, smoked salmon with purple radish, artichoke gnocchi and a whole lemon sole meunière. For dessert, we couldn’t help but treat ourselves to that most French of puddings, crêpes Suzette served with a dash of Cointreau. The Balcon was where we happily found ourselves the next morning, and it must be underlined that their breakfast is pretty epic. An array of handmade pastries and freshly squeezed juices are offered alongside egg dishes, fry ups, waffles, porridges and home-made yoghurts. And that’s just the start. We couldn’t tear ourselves away; what a fabulous start to the day.

At the top of its game - Sofitel London St James wowsA Prestige Suite lounge and bedroom at Sofitel London St. James

Not that you’ll necessarily want to do much more than go back to your luxurious suite. The guest rooms are spacious and chic – think moss green and taupe touches – with large windows and all the amenities you could need.

Suffice to say, staying at a hotel slap bang in the centre of town is a real boon, but when you’re lucky enough to be residing at the Sofitel St. James, you really wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.  

by Derby Jones

All images courtesy of the Sofitel London St. James

Sofitel London St. James
6 Waterloo Place, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4AN
Tel: 020 7747 2200
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