facade of Victorian townhouse with red brick and white windows
facade of Victorian townhouse with red brick and white windows

St. James’s Hotel and Club is tucked into a quiet corner of Mayfair

London might seem spoilt for hotels, but if you’re looking for small-scale, intimate luxury it’s not so easy to find – especially in Central. This is where St. James’s Hotel and Club comes in with a Michelin-starred restaurant and hands-on masterclasses

Tucked in a quiet residential street on the edge of Green Park, almost directly behind The Ritz, St. James’s Hotel and Club benefits from proximity to Piccadilly and Regent’s Street, whilst also offering a sense of relative seclusion. The building itself was originally a members’ club for travelling diplomats, founded in 1857 by English aristocrat and the Sardinian minister. It played host to the likes of Winston Churchill, Henry James and Ian Fleming, among others, until it closed in the 1970s. In 1980, the doors were reopened by Peter de Savary (owner of The Cary Arms in Devon) as a hotel and a club. Now owned by German hotel group Althoff, the hotel has been refurbished with contemporary touches, whilst still preserving a sense old-world charm.

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Our room is the Westminster Suite on the seventh floor. The ambience leans slightly towards the corporate side, but it’s elegantly furnished and features a private terrace, large enough to host a cocktail party. On a less drizzly evening than ours, it would be a very pleasant place for a warming glass of mulled wine whilst admiring the rooftop views. As it is, we have a chocolate masterclass to get attend.

Luxury hotel bedroom with contemporary furnishings

Rooms are decorated with elegant, contemporary furnishings

Luxurious private rooftop terrace

The Westminster Suite’s private terrace

The masterclass is just one of the hotel’s offerings for guests, alongside cheese and wine pairing, and cocktail mixing. Our class is held in a smart basement meeting room and is led by the convivial pastry chef, who shows us how to make and roll truffles whist we sip on glasses of champagne. The class, unlike those at many five-star hotels, is very hands-on, and whilst our truffles come out oddly shaped (some collapsing completely) it’s a lot more fun making than watching. Better yet, our truffles are whisked away to solidify and then returned to our room in ribbon tied bags with a kit containing ingredients and recipes so that we can make more at home. White chocolate passion fruit truffles are a revelation.

Read more: Oceania Cruises’ Managing Director on luxury hospitality at sea

Bowls of chocolate truffles and recipes

The hotel offers a series of masterclasses including chocolate truffle making with the restaurant’s pastry chef

Pre-dinner drinks are served in William’s Bar and Bistro – a cosy and eccentric cocktail bar with a particularly impressive collection of paintings. These are part of the Rosenstein Collection, which includes more than 450 artworks in total, many of which are portraits and can be found dotted around the hotel. We thoroughly enjoy discussing the work whilst sipping cocktails and nibbling on British tapas plates. Guests can also dine here if they choose.

Read more: Panerai x Bucherer launch their latest BLUE collection timepiece

Tonight, though, we have a table booked at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Seven Park Place restaurant. The dining room is comprised of only a handful of tables tucked into a curved room with elaborately patterned walls and soft velvet seats. The menu – here and in the bar – is overseen by Head Chef William Drabble with a focus on the best of British produce which means seasonal plates and locally sourced ingredients. During our stay, the emphasis is on fresh fish and seafood, which, as pescetarian diners, suits us perfectly. Our favourites include the poached lobster tail with a buttery truffle sauce, and the seabass with braised Jerusalem artichokes, wild mushrooms and a red wine and tarragon sauce. Since the wine menu is nearly fifty pages long, we’re more than grateful for the sommelier’s assistance who pairs our courses perfectly to suit our individual tastes.

The service, in general, is friendly and relaxed, which makes for a very welcoming atmosphere. It’s perhaps not the most family-orientated hotel as noise levels are kept to a low hum, and the property itself is small, but for a luxurious city-break or staycation, it ticks all the boxes.

Book your stay: stjameshotelandclub.com

Note: Seven Park Place restaurant closed for refurbishment after our stay, but has recently reopened with a new look. For more information visit: stjameshotelandclub.com/en/restaurant-seven-park-place




Reading time: 3 min
Book launch at Hatchard's London with Christmas decorations and guests chatting
Book cover of Equine Journeys by Hossein Amirsadeghi

“Equine Journeys: The British Horse World” by Hossein Amirsadeghi, published by TransGlobe Publishing

Last week saw the launch of author and photographer Hossein Amirsadeghi’s latest book Equine Journeys: The British Horse World at Hatchard’s bookshop in London. LUX recalls the evening’s celebrations

On the top floor of historic Piccadilly bookshop Hatchard’s, artists, photographers and friends gathered to celebrate the launch of Equine Journeys: The British Horse World, the latest photography book by Hossein Amirsadeghi, best known for his international bestseller The Arabian Horse.

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Equine Journeys is the result of a year long road-trip around Great Britain and features photographs of renowned equine figures such as Sir Mark Prescott, Mary King MBE and John Whitaker MBE as well as a collection of essays and interviews. “It’s as much a celebration of Britishness as it is of horses,” the photographer told LUX. The book also includes five photographs by LUX contributing editor and artist Maryam Eisler

For more information and to order the book online visit: tgpublishingltd.com/products/equine-journeys

Book launch at Hatchard's London with Christmas decorations and guests chatting

Guests gather to celebrate the launch of “Equine Journeys”

a horse racing on grass gallops

A race horse on the gallops at historic yard Seven Barrows

Horse trainer Nicky Henderson picture with a horse kissing his nose

Horse trainer Nicky Henderson. Image by Hossein Amirsadeghi

Dartmoor mare and foal pictured grazing in the wild

Dartmoor ponies. Image by Image by Hossein Amirsadeghi

Reading time: 1 min
Open restaurant kitchen with window showing chefs preparing food
sleek exterior of HIDE restaurant with glass windows reflecting the trees of the Green Park opposite

Hide sits in prime position on Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park

Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous’ latest restaurant Hide is one of the hottest openings in London this year. A joint venture between the chef and Hedonism wines, Hide offers a dining experience for all the senses, says Digital Editor Millie Walton

Hide may seem like an ironic name for Ollie Dabbous’ new restaurant that sits on the north side of Piccadilly with almost entirely glass walls, but think of the name more in relation to a hunter’s hide, i.e. a camouflaged shelter used to observe wildlife and then, it doesn’t seem quite so ironic. The restaurant’s theme is nature; Hide Above is accessed by a spectacular wooden spiral staircase that takes the appearance of an ancient tree trunk, leading up to a floor of sparsely positioned tables that overlook Green Park.

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Open restaurant kitchen with window showing chefs preparing food

The partially open kitchen at Hide Above

We are led to a table in the far corner, right up against the glass. This could easily have been a moment for panic for both myself and my guest as we’re both wary of the exhibitionism of dining out, but surprisingly, we both find it a very relaxing place to be. It’s far enough from the neighbouring table so that we don’t feel that we’re being spied on and the elevation makes it feel removed and private.

Read more: Painter John Virtue’s monochromatic world at Fortnum & Mason

This has a lot to do with the restaurant’s atmosphere, which unlike a lot of restaurants in this part of London, is friendly, informal and welcoming. Our waiter – French, dressed in a beautiful cream linen apron to match the natural colour scheme (apparently designed by Dabbous’ mother) – is natural, funny and puts us instantly at ease. After gently placing my handbag on its own special stool – a touch which always makes me giggle – he hands us both a cream embossed box, which as, he has to explain, contains the menu. The Hedonism wine list comes on an iPad – it would take several people to carry a printed version to the table.

Waiter crouching to lift bottle from the wine cellar at hide restaurant

Inside the Hedonism wine cellar at Hide

Hide is a partnership by Ollie Dabbous and Yevgeny Chichvarkin (the owner of Hedonism) and together they have managed to create a multi-layered (quite literally) experimental fine dining experience. Each level of the restaurant has its own unique mood. Hide Ground is the sultry, cool hang-out, where you can order à la carte breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner – at night, when we arrive at the restaurant, its packed full of trendy fashionista types. Whilst Hide Below, the bar, is cosy and intimate with several private dining rooms tucked into cave like alcoves, and the Hedonism cellar. Our sommelier kindly gives us the grand tour, explaining that if there’s anything a guest wants and the restaurant doesn’t have it, they’ll order it in straight away from Hedonism round the corner. You have to admit, its a slick operation.

Hide Above is tasting menu only with the option of eight courses, or ten if you choose the Cornish fish courses. And it really is an incredibly beautifully space, with light wood tables, soft cream furnishings, textured walls and hanging lights which look like a broken egg shell with a gold leaf interior.

Read more: Dara Huang, Founder of Design Haus Liberty on the importance of balanced design 

plate of artistically arranged baby vegetables on a white plate with bread basket in background

To begin: a bowl of broth, raw vegetables accompanied by a tangy dip and bread basket. The dining experience is designed to be sensory and interactive in a use-your-fingers, mix-it-all-together kind of way, and aside from being completely delicious, it’s a lot of fun. This is followed by the most flavoursome avocado we’ve ever tasted, served with a light basil sauce and gooseberries, and the first of our wines: Samuel Billaud “Les Grands Terroirs” Chablis 2016. Dabbous is a master at pairing delicate flavours, and in a tasting menu – where it’s so easy to overdo it – you appreciate that skill even more. Then – one of our favourites – delightfully cold, cured wild salmon with crème cru (we have to restrain ourselves from lapping up the remains of the sauce) & Exmoor caviar, paired perfectly with LUNAE Colli di Luni Vermentino.

Dabbous’ famous dish: the nest egg ( an open-topped egg containing a scrambled, mushroom sauce, nestled into a bed of smokey hay) comes served in a black clay pot. The waiter lifts off the lid dramatically, to release the scent of wood-fires, setting us both reminiscing about winter, family evenings and all things cosy. Both Cornish fish courses are delicious (especially the sashimi) and the steamed turbot with nasturtium broth is one of all time favourite dishes for the surprising and delicate flavours.

detail image of fish fillet in bowl of green broth decorated with nasturtium

Tasting menu highlight: steamed turbot with nasturtium broth

Full, but not unpleasantly so, we welcome the (bright green) Garden Ripple ice cream which arrives on a large ice block containing frozen flowers. My dining partner asks, with wonder, whether they have a whole fridge full of these beautiful ice blocks and we’re shown to the kitchen to meet Dabbous himself, who opens a drawer containing said blocks whilst we both gush about the meal, and the wine, and the interiors until we’ve suitably embarrassed ourselves and everyone around us. We finish the meal with an elegant stick of liquorice decorated with golden marshmallow and a gold chocolate leaf.

Hide is well on its way to starry success (ehem, Michelin). Make sure to get in while you can, the waiting list is growing by the minute.

To book a table and view the menus visit: hide.co.uk

Photography by James Houston

Reading time: 4 min