Overlooking London’s sadly pidgeon-less Trafalgar Square, The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton is the first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel in the UK. The hotel, opened late last summer, homes 131 bedrooms and 15 suites, all decorated in art deco style complete plenty of artsy reading material in the shape of fashion books by Alexander McQueen.
Located in the centre of London, just a matter of steps from Trafalgar Square, the aptly named Trafalgar St James Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is well-placed for those looking to explore the big smoke. Covent Garden, Theatreland and Buckingham Palace all sit within a 20-minute walk and across the way Charing Cross tube station gives those less keen to walk quick access to London’s handy underground system.
The feels 8/10
The hotel’s interior is not unlike a set from Boardwalk Empire but with a modern feel. Downstairs, in the airy, open-plan reception, bar and restaurant area, furniture is placed mindfully. Standing at the head of the restaurant is a bar that makes you want to do nothing more than order a Negroni and listen to Miles Davis.
The most interesting interior features are portraits of edgy celebrities shot by renowned snapper Dave Hogan, which were not meant to be permanent. The imposing black and white photographs of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Twiggy, Kate Moss and Oliver Reed and the likes are scattered throughout the hotel. They were supposed to be taken down after Hogie’s Heroes exhibition finished on 28th February this year but, according to one member of the concierge team, the hotel owners liked them so much they decided to buy them, and a good decision that was. The snaps add an element of rockstar-cool authenticity to the otherwise relatively simplistically decorated hotel.
The digs 7/10
Above beds, Twiggy or a youthful Mick Jagger grin guests to sleep. The Queen suite, though elegantly decorated, was relatively small and not flood with natural light. Though the ambient lighting, a large TV and king-sized bed – and some complimentary truffles, strawberries and chocolate brownies – make the room hard to leave at night. There are 131 rooms at the Trafalgar St James Hotel but only four have rooms overlooking Trafalgar Square.
The brekkie 8/10
The breakfast is a continental/ classic full English breakfast medley. All guests are permitted to the usual, cereals, fresh juice, fruit but have the option to try something cooked from the A La Carte menu, which isn’t made immediately clear. When asked whether the cooked breakfast was included in the room rate, the waiter looked at me like a dish he hadn’t ordered.
The service 6/10
The staff at the hotel are a mixed bag. On the desk Elena, a genuinely warm, friendly Spaniard can’t smile enough. Although the same can’t be said for a waiter in the rooftop bar who was as pleasant as a nettle sting. And downstairs at breakfast dirty dishes piled on my cluttered table and were left to be cleared for longer than it’d take to see a GP.
The roof terrace 8/10
In the bar, albeit on a busy Bank Holiday weekend, the service is slow and the waiters as attentive as prison guards. The rooftop itself, popular amongst guests and non-guests, offers arguably the best views of Trafalgar Square and surrounding areas available. Cocktails there are priced from £15-£20 and a bottle of Toast beer will set you back £6.
On a nice day it’s worth a visit but for non-guests make sure you reserve as the wait can be up to a few hours. Residents of the hotel still have to wait, if full, but are rightfully bumped to the top of the list.
Prices: Prices start from £257 per night for a Trafalgar Queen Room when booking directly at www.curiocollection.com