Within a Grade 11 historical building on Waterloo Place, the 5-star Sofitel London St James marries a central West End location with glamorous design and intuitive service. With 183 rooms and suites across six floors, it’s a boutique-style hotel with an intimate vibe in a converted Victorian-era bank. And it served as an excellent base on my recent whirlwind trip to the British capital.
Here’s everything you need to know about staying at the Sofitel London St James.
Hotel location and first impressions
I arrive at the Sofitel on a crisp early-spring morning, mere hours after landing at Heathrow. (Read about my incredible Qantas Business Class flight here). I tilt my head back and drink in the neoclassical facade, with its grand columns sweeping skywards.
The Sofitel is ideally located in the heart of the West End. If you’re keen to see a show, you’ll find many of London’s finest theatres within spitting distance. In fact, Her Majesty’s Theatre is a two-minute walk away. And with Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus also close by, it’s the perfect location from which to explore this fabulous city on foot.
Inside, the soaring lobby is stylish yet intimate, with antique furnishings and artwork and a decorative Persian rug. Check-in starts at 3 pm, so I arrange for the concierge to store my bags. After exploring London’s National Gallery – a 5-minute walk away – my phone chimes with excellent news. My room is ready! It’s only midday.
Sofitel London St James room
I’ve booked a Superior Room, so I’m delighted to receive an upgrade to a more spacious Luxury Room – newly redesigned by French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. From the vibrant hues on offer (fuchsia, blue, red and green), I score my requested ‘green’ room.
It’s beautifully decorated, with a rich green tartan carpet, textured green accents and a pillowy king size Sofitel MyBed. There’s an entrance hall, a small dining table that doubles as a desk, and a compact seating area with a modish armchair and padded footstool. The decor strikes a happy balance between glam Deco and sixties mod.
Inside the double wardrobe near the entrance, you’ll find a safe, robes and slippers, laundry bags and a bounty of hanging space. After unpacking, I make a beeline for the tea and coffee station, where I find a personalised welcome note and a selection of handmade chocolates next to the Nespresso machine. The mini bar below is also a cut above the standard offering. Grey Goose vodka and Moët & Chandon champagne vie for my attention. And that’s just for starters.
On the tech front, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi, wired broadband, and a wall-mounted TV with international channels. Business travellers will appreciate the thoughtfully-spaced power points and comfortable writing desk. And what’s not to love about the warming glow of mood lighting and individually-controlled air conditioning?
Before heading out to the theatre, I savour a bath in the black and white chequered bathroom. It’s a chic space with a separate rain shower, gleaming chrome accents and luxurious Hermes toiletries. The mirror’s lighting is so flattering it wipes 10 years off my face. In fact, my only complaint is that there’s no full-length mirror. But given that’s literally my only criticism of the entire hotel, I think we’ll let it slide.
Dining at Sofitel London St James
Happily, the Sofitel’s in-house restaurant – Wild Honey St James – was awarded its first Michelin star just weeks before I arrived. With renowned chef Anthony Demetre at the helm, it offers all-day dining in a lofty and polished space.
I settle into one of the cushy velvet-covered booths for a hearty breakfast. After a flat white and freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice, the fluffy scrambled eggs with Scottish smoked salmon, roast tomato and crushed avocado goes down a treat. With sunlight streaming in through the huge windows overlooking Waterloo Place, I’m a happy girl.
So much so I can’t resist returning later in the day for the pre-theatre menu, served between 5 pm and 6:45. At just 35 pounds for three courses, it’s great value. The restaurant is even more glam by night. I begin with a double Campari soda, served in a weighty highball with a wedge of orange and a gold metal straw.
For entree, I order the warm carpaccio of chalk stream trout. Topped with salmon pearls and a zesty herb-infused oil, it’s deliciously light and refreshing. The roast haunch of venison for main is a bit rare and chewy for my taste – though the accompanying wild mushrooms and grilled celeriac are superb. But it’s the traditional English custard tart, with its textbook shortcrust pastry and light-as-air custard filling, that really bowls me over.
If you’d rather indulge in high tea, the suitably-pink Rose Lounge has you covered. The French-leaning afternoon tea menu includes savoury and sweet delights for 55 pounds per person, or 65 with a glass of champagne. Currently, the Rose Lounge is open from 12 to 4 pm, Friday to Sunday.
And don’t forget to stop by the moody St James Bar for an innovative cocktail from the ‘Imagination’ menu.
Facilities at Sofitel London St James
As a smaller-sized hotel, the Sofitel St James offers a few select facilities. Wellness warriors will want to book a treatment at the award-winning Sofitel Spa. Flooded with natural light across three levels, the Spa offers an indulgent menu of facials, massages and body treatments. If only I’d had time for a restorative hot stone massage. For those looking to keep up with their workout regime, the 100-sqm Sofitel FIT gym features cutting-edge equipment and a verdant vertical garden.
Business on the agenda? The Sofitel offers 12 state-of-the-art meeting rooms, catering for everything from private meetings to lavish 200-person banquets.
Sure, there’s no club lounge or pool area. But with the very best of London on the hotel’s doorstep, I’m too busy exploring to notice.
Booking Sofitel London St James with points
The Sofitel London St James is an AccorHotels property, so members of Accor Live Limitless (ALL) earn Rewards points on stays booked directly through Accor.
As an Accor Classic member, I earn 25 Rewards points for each €10 spent. You can use Accor Rewards points to redeem towards free or discounted stays at most participating hotels, with 2,000 Rewards points giving you €40 (~AU$64) of credit to spend.
Alternatively, book through Qantas Hotels to earn three Qantas Points per dollar spent (though keep in mind, you’ll only earn Accor Rewards points if you book directly through Accor). Qantas Points Club members earn 25% more Qantas points, while Points Club Plus members nab an impressive 50% more.
Overall, my stay at the Sofitel London St James is one of the most memorable hotel experiences of my life. My room is a delight, the dining’s excellent, and I feel warmly taken care of by the incredible staff.
I arrived in London during a tube strike, making it nigh impossible to get a taxi. But I needn’t have feared. Whenever I needed to head out, one of the concierge would hurtle himself into the traffic and wrench a cab back to the Sofitel almost with his bare hands. Service like that is priceless.
So if you’re looking for a cosy, glamorous haven in the heart of London’s theatre district, then look no further than the Sofitel London St James. It hasn’t been long, but already I’m itching to return.
Photography by Antonia Strakosch, who stayed at Point Hacks’ expense. She received an upgrade to the next room category courtesy of Accor.
* Featured image courtesy of Sofitel London St James hotel