We've stayed at this hotel a number of times previously, in its former guise as the Crowne Plaza St James', but this was our first visit since it has become a member of the Taj Group - as we were down in London for a friend's birthday.
The location is, of course, excellent. A gentle 2 minute stroll from Buck House in one direction and Westminster Abbey 5 minutes the other direction, its quiet at night, but only 10 minutes walk from the pubs and bars of Victoria.
We were lucky to be upgraded to one of the newly refurbished Executive Rooms on the 5th floor, and it was spacious with chairs, a sofa, an office console area with all data and VGA connection points and a large King Size bed. Both the "suite" and the bathroom were spotless.
This hotel, and its rooms, have everything a luxury hotel requires but there were a couple of minor niggles. Firstly, check-in was slow. I must point out that it didn't appear to be the fault of any individual in particular as the girl that checked us in was very courteous. I think it was a question of timing - too many people checking in at once, with too few staff on reception to cope. We were told our room was not quire ready, but that we would be contacted very shortly when it was, so we decided to have a coffee in the lobby. An hour later, and after queuing at reception for 20 minutes, I asked the receptionist if our room was ready which it was. Not a major gripe, but if you are told you would be contacted as soon as your room is ready, this didn't happen. But then again, the reception staff were flat out.
Whilst waiting to check in, my second minor gripe surfaced. The "free WiFi" (which all hotels with 3 or more staff should provide these days) is insufferably slow. I store my books and music in the cloud, and subscribe to the Times' electronic (ipad and tablet) editions. I could not download anything, not even open a regular, attachment-free email on the free Wifi. My wife's iPhone actually crashed completely when attempting to browse! There is a high speed WiFi which the hotel also offers, but this is £10 per day. In my opinion, the high speed WiFi should be included in the price of the room.
Also, I'm glad we didn't have breakfast at the hotel as there appeared to be a long queue for service in the morning too. We ate breakfast at one of the local bistros nearby which was more than adequate.
I hope that these two issues are resolved, as this hotel is totally fabulous in every other way. It's good to see the refurbishments have overhauled areas of the hotel that had become a little tired over time. The Hampton's bar is perfect for a late evening, post-meal, drink and the service and ambience is great.
Nice little touches - we came back after dining out at the brilliant Quilon to find our ice bucket filled and a weather forecast card on the pillow. No turn down service, but then I find this a little intrusive as a rule anyway, so no complaints from me about this.
We love this hotel, and it is easily our first choice hotel in London. Hopefully the WiFi and the check-in issues will be resolved in the near future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In a country that values understatement, St. James' Court is an English classic typifying the concealed charm of one of Britain's finest hotels. The custom of St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel is the distinctive choice for more than service with a smile. With a distinguished pedigree shaped over more than a century, this discreet Victorian masterpiece with its famous Shakespearean Courtyard is perfectly placed between Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament in a historic enclave marking the centre of power. Crisp and elegant, with an easy charm that’s reserved, yet attentive, we strive to make each visit more pleasurable and memorable. Exceeding the expectations of today’s discerning traveller, St. James' Court is a slice of the past served up on a contemporary platter. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crowne Plaza London - St. James Hotel London
- London Crowne Plaza
- St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel London, England