To prepare for a bike trip in Italy, you need to take several long bike rides. You should also spend a couple of days in Europe, acclimating to the time change and relaxing. Stopping in London on the way from the U.S., you can break up the trip, rejuvenate and spend a few days touring the city. The Westminster luxury hotel Conrad London St. James is the perfect spot.
Westminster Luxury Hotel Stay: Conrad London St. James
On a recent trip to London, before a bike trip in Italy, our main requirements for a hotel were comfort and convenience. We found both at the Conrad London St. James, just around the corner from St. James’s Park, about 10 minutes from Buckingham Palace and across the street from the tube.
We strolled by Big Ben, across the Thames via Westminster Bridge, past the London Eye to the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and to the foodie paradise, Borough Market. We ran through St. James’s Park to Hyde Park and happened to see royal guards practicing formations. And when we went further afield, we hopped on the underground.
And the hotel lived up to its 5 star rating with friendly, accommodating staff, a helpful concierge, cosseting, quiet rooms and an elegant lobby. When our universal adaptor didn’t work. the front desk immediately sent up another.
Best of all, we were able to use points from our Visa Signature card; we got a 100,000 point sign up bonus, and the room was 20,000 points. So, essentially, our luxury hotel stay was free, and it didn’t even use up all of our points.
Travel like a king
If you are driving, the Conrad has valet parking. We got a look at how the royal 1% lives, touring the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. You can see the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, created to commemorate Queens Elizabeth’s 80th birthday, the Windsor Grey horses that pull the carriages, and a bespoke Rolls-Royce.
The Room: we felt like royalty
We had a super comfortable king size bed, with black out shades and a master switch by the bed to turn off all the lights. Since sleep was of the utmost importance to us, the room was ideal. There was a large flatscreen TV, luggage rack and plenty of closet space.
Our bathroom had a large tub (this is England) and a glass enclosed shower with a rain head. There were plush towels and robes, slippers placed by our bed each night and extras like cotton balls, mouthwash and Q-tips.
The minibar had room to stash a couple of water bottles or refrigerated snacks. And the Nespresso machine had coffee, decaf and tea (again, England).
Westminster Luxury Hotel Dining
Emmeline’s Lounge serves Traditional Afternoon Tea, Saturday Jazz Afternoon Tea and Summer Afternoon Tea starting June 1. Blue Boar Restaurant, open for breakfast lunch and dinner, has a vegetarian friendly Summer Kitchen Garden lunch and a children’s menu; the less formal Blue Boar bar serves pub food. The bar has a separate entrance to the street and attracts a lively crowd.
But we were in London to explore the vegetarian delights at Nopi and Ottolenghi, both owned by Yotam Ottolenghi (meat is also served). This chef uses Mediterranean influences on his small plates menus, and no matter which location you choose, you will eat very well here. Nopi is the highest end restaurant; the others have equally delicious food, but are more casual.
Amenities fit for a king or queen
- The basement gym was small, but it had fruit and water, mats for stretching and a foam roller for ironing out airplane induced kinks. There were hand weights and a stability ball, along with cardio and strength machines.
- In the lobby, there was cold infused water and a variety of hard candies. The free Wi-Fi was fast.
- There is an executive lounge, which I didn’t see, that has free breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day, and evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
What works for families
- Large rooms; connecting rooms are available
- Cribs are available
- Around the corner from the large St. James’s park
- Across the street from the St. James’s Park tube station
What doesn’t work for families
- No pool