A Royal Staycation at St James Court, London

June 30, 2015

I finally staycationed in London for the first time, because with great power comes great responsibility (or something).

As a Posh, not-always Broke, never Bored 20-something year old Malaysian transplant in London you can be sure that some of my readers are South East Asians vicariously living the dream through my Euro-exploits on the www. Fellow Malaysians have told me (whether on social media or in person when I'm back in Kuala Lumpur) that my blog is their London guide - guess they don't call me YipAdvisor for nothing, huhuhu. For all my varied take on what to do in England - Royal Ascot, Michelin-starred meals, London bus tours with afternoon tea - there is one serious lacking in the London section of Posh, Broke, & Bored - where to stay in London. I've reviewed hotel stays in Asia and Europe but not in ol' Blighty - it never crossed my mind until now! 


I was so wowed by the Around The World in 80 Tastes restaurant tour of St James' Court; as well as the history, architecture, and location of the hotel that last Sunday I returned with Henry for my first London staycation in the name of *cough* journalism and also to get myself into the 'holiday mood' by playing tourist. 

 

Location, location, location.


You'll know from my previous post about St James' Court that this luxury hotel began life as Victorian townhouses to an aristocratic philanthropist couple who bequeathed the building to various charities and causes, then evolved into what is arguably the most well-positioned hotel to enjoy all of London's most famous tourist destinations. A hop, skip, and jump away is Buckingham Palace, and no wonder, the townhouses themselves had (have?) annexes leading to the palace (oh, think of all the possible royal shenanigans lost to the pages of history!). To aid your understanding of how centrally located St James Court is, here are some numbers:

  10 minutes by taxi to Oxford Street. 12 minute walk to Victoria. 2 blocks from Buckingham Palace. 



 

Bed, bath, and beyond.

St. James’ Court offers 338 Guest Rooms and Suites in Classic Style (quintessentially English and traditional) or Executive style (chic and contemporary). St James' Court very kindly put us up in one of their Executive Junior Suites. With it's own living room, bedroom with a generous wardrobe and King bed, I could've quite happily set up camp for far longer than our short stay. It certainly felt like home away from home, that is, if my living room welcomed me home with a picnic basket full of treats and a glossy selection of my favourite fashion and home magazines in the living room. Oh, and a cookie delivered to me with my own blog name on it...Posh, Broke, & Biscuit?
Classic single rooms start at £200 per night (early bird prices), our Executive Junior Suite averages £379. Rates here.






Topshop Ghillie pointed flats • Anya Hindmarch tote (sold out)


Henry making himself right at home in our living room...


Taking the biscuit...hands off my cookie, it's got my (blog) name on it.


 

Eat. Stay. Love.

Henry and I took a shortcut through the Shakespearean Courtyard to dinner at one of St James' Court's restaurants, Michelin-starred Quilon. It was the hotels' many restaurants that drew me in, especially the South West Indian coastal cuisine of Chef Sriram Aylur whose light and healthy offerings (read my previous review of Quilon) left such an impression on me that I had to go back for another taste of Kerala. I observed at the table beside me, three generations of an Indian family nodding in quite approval at The Fisherman's Catch . No food envy from me, as my peppery butter lobster was divine and somewhere down the line I quashed all overambition by ordering two puddings for myself. Fit to burst with the pistachio cake with black sesame fondant and the chai latte creme brûlée (divine - a must have) - the ensuing food coma was worth it. 
Try: the 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea, and for dinner the a culinary tour Around The World in 80 Tastes.




The warm, inviting, and cozy decor of Quilon's main dining room; topped for intimacy only by the private dining room downstairs (I blogged about the latter here)



Left; my mango lassi to extinguish the 'very spicy' (as our waiter warned) dips that came with our amuse bouche. Right; a palate-cleanser best described as a hot, spicy tomato soup in a glass.


Henry and I shared a Quilon salad with pink grape fruit, roasted beetroots, patty pan, mixed salad leaves with goji berry and honey dressing. Light and refreshing.


My vegetarian dining companion was spoiled for choice from the menu's vegetarian section, and plumped for the potato and cauliflower with crushed cashew nuts, cooked with onion, tomato, roasted spices and crushed cashew nuts.


My subtly spiced baked black cod was decent, but paled in comparison to the luscious creaminess of my lobster butter pepper.


I loved my lobster butter pepper, and wiped up every last drop of butter pepper and garlic sauce with the egg paratha bread. Unlike the Malaysian roti prata I know, which is papery thin and almost tissue like, the paratha bread at Quilon is quite the hearty affair; more like an omelette wrapped in dough.



Henry's pudding was the Coco Coco Nut, while I went mad with two; the pistachio cake with pistachio ice-cream and black sesame fondant, and the chai latte creme brûlée which was absolutely scrumptious.



Left; the amuse bouche with the two spicy sauces I warned you about (in the pots). Right; my chai latte creme brûlée.


 

Tourist see, tourist do.

With St James' Court perfectly placed in a quiet little pocket of central-West London but just minutes away from all the hustle and bustle of the city you could ever want, the capital is at your fingertips. Or more literally, at your footsteps. Buckingham Palace is mere footsteps away and Westminster Abbey minutes away via a little shortcut that leads to Victoria Street (take a right when you exit the hotel, and down the unassuming Seaforth Place). Finally, a not-daunting way to visit Buckingham Palace, knowing that sanctuary from the crowds is a quick escape away.
Of course I went to see the Changing Of The Guards at Buckingham Palace... 





Above; Queen Victoria memorial at 10:30am. Below; the statue thronged with crowds a mere half hour later, all jostling for the best seat to witness the pomp and ceremony of Britain's most famous regiment.






These photos are only possible because one; Henry hoisted me on his shoulders to get a better view (in the scorching sun, and he offered - that's marriage material, guys) and two; had St James' Court not offered to put us up for the night there was no way in London heatwave-hell I would ever venture to anywhere within tourist toe-stomping distance of Buckingham Palace on a summer's day. And ventured we did - strolling along the Mall, through St James' Park, round and round the royal residences until my feet could take no more, begging to be propped up on the sofas at our suite. 

As far as staycations go; mine at St James' Court was perfect - a hotel with all the historical charm to match its splendid surroundings, the loftiest neighbour one could ask for (wonder if I could see HM from my window?), a grand spectacle every morning (within walking distance but just about out of earshot), and the city and all her pleasures within my reach. Consider my duties as London blog-ambassador to Malaysia (or is the other way round?) - Malaysians, you know where to find St James' Court - it's to the right of Buckingham Palace, and bang slap in the middle of all the attractions I just know you're going to want to see. x


Photo sources: 3 & 4. Henry and I are were guests of St James' Court.

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11 comments:

  1. Jasiminne this looks heavenly! There's never a shortage of good hotels in London - it's wonderful! I'd love to have another staycation soon.


    Lauren xx
    The Lifestyle Diaries

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  2. You were in my 'hood...I should have popped over to order room service and jump on the bed ;)

    Lots of love,
    Angie



    SilverSpoon London

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  3. Catherine LuxJune 30, 2015

    Fantastic review Jasiminne! The hotel looks beautiful! Lauren's right, there are so many brilliant hotels in London, tourists (and us) are so spoilt for choice. I loved my stay at the Langham, which was a very handy 5 minutes from my office ;)

    C x | Lux Life

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  4. Thank you Luxy! Isn't London just great? And here I am just swanning around my apartment thinking I'm the centre of the universe haha. Let's have a girl's night staycation soon! x

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  5. Angie I DID walk past a few swish buildings and wonder "Maybe Angie lives here...would it be crazy stalkers to send her a pic of the building and go 'I see you...or not.'" Obviously I didn't because I didn't want to be a weirdo haha, but maybe I should've! x

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  6. Darn right Lauren - isn't London just wonderful? Why would we EVER have apartments when we can just stay in hotels all the time...oh wait...Posh BROKE Bored. Bah. x

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  7. What a beautiful suite, and nice that they made you a personalised cookie. I had a wonderful meal at the hotel's Bistro 51 and would love to return to experience the rest

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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  8. This is such a beautiful review! I wish I could afford a London staycation, there are so many fantastic hotels and restaurants here that I'll probably never see! So I'll just continue living vicariously through you ;) x

    Martha Jane | http://www.marthajanemusic.com

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  9. Stefanie MeierJuly 04, 2015

    your blog is absolutely phenomenal x

    Stefanie | Casualllyawkward | Bloglovin'

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  10. That's so sweet of you, thank you Stefanie! x

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  11. I'm sure you can Martha, lots of hotels (especially boutique hotels) are more reasonable than you think - try online deals like LastMinute.com and Voyage Prive! x

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