The Althoff St. James’s Hotel & Club has stood proud as one of the capital’s most charmingly cherished hotel havens, cementing its lionised status under the priceless Althoff hotel assemblage all of which sing a discerning testimony to grandeur lodgings, interweaved with saporous gastronomy.
A ravishing Victorian townhouse setup snuggled nestled inside a cul-de-sac hideaway, the Althoff St. James’s Hotel & Club boasts one of the most palatial and envied SW1 postcodes for London’s cafe society.
Cocooned in a polished attire in shades of deep scarlet red and accents of pristine snow white, the hotel sits comfortably merely a hop, skip and jump away from the historic designer-laden sanctum of the Burlington Arcade, also lovingly titled ‘the jewel in Mayfair’ whilst not neglecting its neighbouring proximity, to our lionised royals own gloried abode of Buckingham Palace.
A Treasured Historical Blueprint
The Althoff St. James’s takes great pleasure in their flourishing gilded timeline, with dates tracing back to the period of 1857. The hotel’s bonafide pedigreed genesis had originally embraced the form of a high-toned members club haunt brought to the formation by English aristocrat Earl Granville, and then Sardinian Minister Marchese d’Azeglio both of whom relished in welcoming the presence of their esteemed guestlist showcasing purebred grandees, and nomadic diplomats partial to the life of the extravagant ways of living.
It is regularly affirmed in April 1859, that fellow diplomat and noble Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish, had lent his helping hand to aid in inciting one’s attention in this new endeavour, by sending out a circular from the Foreign Office to every British Embassy in a mission to recruit accomplished courteous members for the new St. James’s Club.
The allure of an urbane club swathed in a refined gallant glory, right within the discretionary backdrop of London’s most pedigreed postcodes had set the scene for a treasured clientele directory meticulously plucked from around the sphere, including our own esteemed upper-crust luminaries from Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, Sir Winston Churchill and creator of the shaken not stirred loving spy James Bond; Ian Fleming. Charles Dickens had asserted, “Members are elected by ballot, but members of the corps diplomatique, of the English diplomatic service, and of the Foreign Office, may be admitted without a ballot, under certain restrictions”.
Whilst the club may have suffered a disheartening closure at the hands of the financial trials and tribulations in the ’70s, it was financier Peter De Savary who proved their saviour in addition to a splendacious enkindling at the hands of Berlin-born designer, Anne Maria Jagdfeld. The medley a mellow modern-day milieu with the treasured chronicle ambience of the gentleman’s club, had thus in 2008 led to the radiant genesis of the St. James’s Hotel & Club which now proudly rests under the prized global Althoff hotel collection.
Althoff St. James’s Hotel & Club – A Gateway To Grandiose Hospitality
A staycation recess of imperial glory is set into motion from the moment one steps a bejewelled heel onto the steps of this gleaming establishment, as the debonair doorman spared not a second to relieve me of my hefty overnight belongings before ushering me to the reception brigade, all welcoming me with earnest fervour as they swiftly hurried to complete the check-in formalities, and have me savouring my welcome refreshment in the sanctuary of the bar.
Glitterati guests have the pleasure of being canoodled in a polished palate of regal yellow tones, entwined with splashes of cream and silver tones against intricate, silken handmade wallpaper that hoisted the already elaborate trappings of wood-panelled walls, and Murano glass chandeliers illuminating the habitat with ceremonial pomp. With the team escorting me past the charming theatrics of the drape-like vintage staircase, my heart leapt as if to the beat of a delicious lyrical trill, as I was entrusted with a dainty key to activate the traditionally bijou yet endearing lift to my after-hours abode.
Unparalleled Luxury Lodgings
Playing host to an equally striking assembly of 60 guest rooms and unprecedented suites, each lodging at the St James’ Hotel & Club showcases a fusion state of state-of-the-art intricacy with masterly craftsmanship, in the artistic hands of Berlin-based and award-winning designer, AMJ Design. The Superior rooms, reaching to 237ft² rest as the ideal base for native and far-flung business barons with their well-loaded workstation setups, whilst the panoramic, 1’830ft² nirvana of The Penthouse Suite flaunts its seventh-floor seclusion with unparalleled vistas of St James’ historic district.
My own habitation of the Westminster Suite exhibited a visual top-flight beauty of raw bountiful opulence. Stretching over 506ft², exquisite art pieces lined up the pristine cream walls, while the suite’s natural shades of cream and tan against the silver grey and velvet taffy pink furnishings, further added to the chamber’s natural arresting elegance and treasured heritage.
Drawing emphasis on chic style over brash substance, the bedroom layout pivoted on a dapper notion, with ethereal glass chandeliers and cashmere and wool comforts set upon the colossal king-size bed, all concluded with modern gadget fixtures of the LCD screens and BOSE hi-fi system, to keep their discerning travelling guests content.
Evermore the honoured royal connoisseurs, a product catalogue from our Monarchs Penhaligon’s lined up the bathroom’s gleaming black and cream stone settings, not to forget the marble walk-in shower, and sumptuous bathtub accompanied by a sleek television, to make for the complete indulgence experience of leisurely pre-dinner soak, wine in hand of course. The suite’s shining beacon, however, rested with the compact enclosure of the rooftop terrace perfect for those morning cuppa respites, whilst lapping up the birds-eye sights of the capital’s quaint scenes terrains.
A Gastronomical Odyssey
Bon vivant devotees are beckoned to hop aboard and embark on a sumptuous sybaritic voyage, as culinary maestro William Drabble seeks to bewitch his diners with an epicurean liaison of impeccably flawless French cuisine, illustrating his razor-honed finesse, while supporting our deep-rooted farmers using only the “Best of British” seasonal produce.
No fine-dining encounter should be deemed justifiable, without the pleasure of an evening aperitif within the fresh dashing sanctum of the hotel’s Seven Park Place Bar & Lounge. Bedecked in demure softened shades of sage green and pink lavender, the interior Russell Sage Studio has painstakingly captured the polished grace of this establishment’s prized chronicles, twinned with a high-style elan.
Boasting a sacred backlist display of rare wine collections and vintage sublime ports, the besuited courteous mixologists took it in their hands to commence the dusky hours, with a dainty glass of Italy’s soft Pieropan, Soave Classico creation infused with subtle honey hints, twirled with zesty orange against the fragrant floral aromas.
Well-versed in my penchant for a cosmopolitan, it was a joy to the eyes to witness my favoured cranberry concoction shaken up to lightly sweet, ice-chilled perfection, before escorting me to commence the evening of toothsome sapid encounters.
Taking pride in the utmost of exceptional quintessential ingredients, succulent sweet from Scotland’s shores revealed a glistening butter-soft flesh that melted within moments, followed by a snug, yet hearty serving of steaming cauliflower soup, brimming with flavoursome touches of garlic and velvet-rich cream.
Adding a dabble of childhood nostalgia with a sophisticated twist, the golden topped Shepherd’s pie unearthed lashings of lightly fluffed potato, resting over a generous gamey bed of spiced diced lamb, the lobster tail however won its claim to the gloried crown, firm, meaty while enveloped in a sea of moreish melted butter sauce, concluded with yet another white wine serving of Pieropan, Soave Classico.
To depict the illustrious nobility of the St James’ Hotel & Club as anything but a celestially imposing statement of distinguished hospitality should be termed nothing but farcical.
Be it the graceful-mannered staff, lavish living quarters or piquant gourmand banquets, the St James’ Hotel & Club echoes the ethos of discerning poise and courtly stature, as they flourish in living by their statement to serve and honour their astute clientele for generations to come.