London’s Spectacular St. Ermin’s Hotel
When we were considering London’s luxury boutique hotels, the St. Ermin’s Hotel came across our radar and looked like the perfect addition to our collection of fabulous hotels to visit.
The St. Ermin’s Hotel is built upon the site of a 15th century chapel dedicated to St. Ermin. In the mid-to-late 19th century, Westminster underwent great changes and expansion which resulted in the creation of St. Ermin’s Mansions. This horse-shoe shaped “mansion block” (serviced apartments for the rich and famous) featured a fashionable red-brick Queen Anne exterior grouped around a courtyard which functioned both as a carriageway and garden for the residents.
Only a decade later, the building was purchased and converted into the St. Ermin’s Hotel, which featured a stunning new double-height lobby dominated by a wave-like balcony, accessed by a magnificent double staircase, with the walls covered in fantastic decorative plasterwork.
Click for larger view.
Fast forward to 2010, and we find the St. Ermin’s under new ownership and proudly displaying it’s original grandeur after an extensive £30 million refurbishment. It’s absolutely stunning!
To further add to the history of St. Ermin’s, in 1940, Winston Churchill held a historic meeting at St. Ermin’s Hotel. He asked a group of remarkable people to join him in ‘Setting Europe Ablaze’ – this elite set, were to become the founding members of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). The unit carried out covert operations during WW2, from their headquarters – an entire floor of St. Ermin’s Hotel, whilst MI6 were stationed two floors above.
In the 1950′s the spy Guy Burgess (part of the infamous Cambridge five) handed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the Caxton Bar.
St. Ermin’s continues to play an important part in London’s history, as it is rumoured that a tunnel runs from underneath the grand staircase in the Lobby all the way to the houses of Westminster.
If that isn’t enough, the hotel is home to 200,000 Buckfast bees, a good tempered honey bee, who reside in three custom-built hives on St. Ermin’s’ rooftop. These lucky bees have fantastic access to London’s parks, all within their three mile flight radius, to collect a wide variety of pollen and nectar, which in turn gives their honey a truly delicious taste.
Favorite Memories from London’s St. Ermin’s Hotel
- We’ll never, ever forget the jaw-dropping first impression of the St. Ermin’s lobby. It’s absolutely stunningly beautiful.
- The blend of the old with the new is rather remarkable. The public spaces are very comfortable, modern, yet with ever-present decorative cues that this is a hotel steeped in history.
- Our hotel room was very spacious, comfortable, and alive with bold, modern colors.
- Our dining experiences at the Caxton Grill were remarkable. We especially remember our waiter beaming with pride as he explained that they were one of only a handful of London restaurants who possessed a Josper Grill which would give our fillet an American-style charcoal flavor.
- It’s central London location, minutes from St. James Park, made it very easy to walk to a great deal of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
- The staff were very outgoing, and bent over backwards to make our stay memorable. Big smiles everywhere.
We greatly enjoyed our visit to the St. Ermin’s Hotel and feel very confident to highly recommend it to you.
Disclosure: our experiences at this historic hotel were sponsored by the really cool folks at the St. Ermin’s Hotel. Further, our entire overseas London experience was in great part sponsored by the exceptionally cool folks at Delta Vacations.
Links: St. Ermin’s Hotel & Delta Vacations
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