Tasteful large front courtyard with trees and patio seating
Mysterious history as a spy headquarters during World War II
Hotel's honey sourced from rooftop beehives
Numerous meeting and event spaces
Fee for Wi-Fi
Rooms in lower categories are small
The 331-room St. Ermins is a massive, corporate-sized hotel -- with a distinctively non-corporate feel. The interiors are an attractive blend of period styles (including white Victorian balustrades and Art Deco furniture and patterns). Sophisticated rooms also show Art Deco influences, and are decorated in grays, whites, greens, and reds. They also have up-to-date technology, including flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, and all but the lowest room category have marble bathrooms. Overall, the hotel offers decent value for a four-pearl property, and a quiet, convenient Westminster location.
St. Ermin’s is a huge property, particularly for London, with 331 rooms and suites. But it's no bland corporate hotel, and has ample character: beautifully restored Victorian sculpting in immaculate, intricate white; Art Decor patterns and fabrics; and funky contemporary touches such as bird’s leg lamps and animal caricature cushions.
The mismatch of patterns, textures, tiles, and furniture is both intriguing and pleasing: Vintage lobby furniture is paired with Art Deco carpeting, mosaic tiling, and marble floors. And the two-tiered Victorian balconies extend like layers of a wedding cake all around the central lobby.
The welcoming front courtyard has leafy trees and patio seating, and there are also a good handful of tasteful lounge spaces, such as The Library and the Caxton Bar, featuring sultry red walls, dark wood, and more of those playful animal pillows.
St. Ermin’s Hotel has a rich history in espionage. It was the birthplace and headquarters of the Special Operations Executive, formed by Winston Churchill in 1940 -- an elite undercover unit that carried out covert operations during World War II. This legacy continued into the 1950s, when the agent Guy Burgess (part of the infamous Cambridge Five) handed over secret documents to his Russian counterpart in the hotel bar.
A three-minute stroll from St. James’s Park station, in the middle of Westminster
St. James’s Park is one of the quieter areas within Westminster, with New Scotland Yard and several government buildings located nearby -- and not much else. St. James’s Park itself, possibly the only royal park with a high density of water fowl, is romantic and delightful. Buckingham Palace is also a short stroll away, and the nearby tube station can shuttle visitors to the rest of the city's attractions.
5-minute walk to St. James’s Park
8-minute walk to Buckingham Palace and Green Park
11-minute walk to Westminster station including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and scenic walks along the Thames
12-minute tube ride to Charing Cross station and Trafalgar Square, National Portrait Gallery, London ICA, Tate Modern and the Southbank
13-minute tube ride to Bond Street station and West End shopping district including Selfridge’s
15-minute tube ride to Piccadilly Circus station and theatre district
17-minute tube ride to Notting Hill Gate station and Portobello Market
18-minute tube ride to Knightsbridge station and Knightsbridge shopping district including designer shops and Harrods
19-minute tube ride to Covent Garden and more West End theatres
With lively shades and a mix of different patterns and textures, rooms are fresh and original in design. A lively lime-and-pink scheme is attractive and quirky, and dark wood furniture is sleek and stylish. But rooms are a tad on the small side; the the lowest room category is around 180 square feet (16 to 18 square meters).
Suites are significantly more spacious, and feature separate sitting areas. Guests in suites get exclusive access to the Club Lounge, which serves a buffet breakfast and evening canapés.
Marble bathrooms in all rooms, except for the lowest room category, the Superior Queen. Most have shower/tub combos.
Caxton Grill is modern and stylish, with a palette of neutrals contrasting touches of orange and black. It serves modern European cuisine with a focus on Josper grilling -- an innovative grill method developed in Spain that imparts a distinct charcoal flavor to the meat.
With warm red walls and a black lacquered bar top Caxton Bar provides a cozy setting. There’s an excellent choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including flights of wines and whiskies.