YOU can see why the St Ermin’s Hotel was used as a base for spies during the Second World War.

Discreetly tucked away on a side street, a five minute walk, from St James’s Park and a minute from the tube station, it certainly does not draw attention to itself.

That is until you first see its entrance gate and drive up the tree-lined road, even my veteran cabbie was impressed. (NB maintenance works that day at St James’s tube meant I got off at a different stop)

“This place is class,” he purred.

The impressive grade II listed exterior is matched by stunning interiors: evocative art nouveau styling and a theatrical balcony in the lobby.

My helpful porter Adrian, who like all the staff was charming and attentive, showed me round my elegant superior double room, which included a magnificent walk-in shower.

It was spotless, stylish and very relaxing – nice little touches from the chocolate bees – the hotel produces its own honey, to complimentary water and chocolate.

I relaxed in the hotel’s Caxton bar with a gin and tonic – for the more adventurous, the hotel is renowned for its extensive cocktail range, and I imagined what conversations the likes of the Cambridge spies and Ian Fleming had here with their contacts.

There is a display of SOE equipment and references to the hotel’s espionage links with even a spy code on silk cloth. Now I wonder who left that there?

Pre-dinner I took full advantage of the hotel’s location and enjoyed a walk around St James’s Park, taking in Buckingham Palace, the Mall and Trafalgar Square before an enjoyable pint in Convent Garden.

There was a lovely mix of clientele back at the hotel across the generations : couples, families with young children – the hotel is very family friendly - but I didn’t see any dogs on my overnight stay.

Now, that may not be surprising until you discover the hotel also caters for dog owners with 18 specially adapted rooms and its canine concierge service.

Yes, no need to leave your dogs at home. Pampered pooches even get their own special bowl and sleeping quarters.

Continuing the animal theme, the hotel is also home to thousands of bees with its very own wildflower bee terrace on the third floor. It was quite hypnotic to watch the bees at work and the honey they produced is delicious.

My dinner in the hotel restaurant – the award-winning Caxton Grill was a delight.

My duck starter and bream main came with fresh vegetables and herbs grown on its rooftop garden.

The food and wine were exquisite and the service excellent.

An experience repeated at breakfast, where there is a choice of sit down options or buffet, which was packed full of excited families and couples looking forward to a day’s sightseeing.

My vegetarian breakfast with added bacon, a quirk of mine, set me up for the day touring the National Gallery and lunch in Soho.

It was enjoyed after a sound night’s sleep in my comfortable room.

There were lovely touches from the staff throughout, such as a bowl of complimentary nuts and slippers laid out by my bed in the late afternoon.

I chatted to an American couple in the bar and we all agreed the staff were genuinely friendly and professional and the hotel really catered for families.

Nice touches included a spy quiz for budding James Bonds and even a bedtime story book on an espionage theme.

This time, I travelled alone but I would certainly return with company.

A highlight of the hotel is its afternoon tea, which is taken in its pretty tea lounge.

Currently, it is not operating due to the “pingdemic” but it is hoped to return soon.

As good friends of mine, who have stayed previously, have attested, it is certainly worth the experience.

The St Ermin’s hotel not only deserves its place in history but very much in the present as a stylish hotel in the heart of the capital’s government and leisure district.

My thoughts as Adrian carried my bag to the main door was, this is a four star hotel with five star service.


St Ermin’s Hotel

Autograph Collection Hotels

2 Caxton Street




Tel: 020 3027 4841.


London calling rates from only £175 per night include:

• One night in a Superior Double room

• Breakfast

• One bottle of Champagne per stay

• A jar of St Ermin's Honey (made from the bees on the bee terrace)

• £50 food and beverage credit

• Late check-out 3pm

• Free cancellation anytime up to 24 hours prior to arrival

• Dogs stay free (up to 2 dogs per room)