You wouldn’t think this place was a hang-out for a spy, would you? Apparently 1950s British spy and double agent Guy Burgess used one of Whitehall’s network of tunnels to smuggle important documents from the Foreign Office to St. Ermin’s Hotel.
London’s premier boutique hotel, built on the site of a 15th Century chapel, has re-opened following a £30 million transformation and restoration. Formerly known as Jolly St. Ermin’s Hotel, the hotel (within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament) has had a ‘jolly good” upgrade, with the hotel’s former Victorian grandeur restored.
When guests arrive at the tree-line courtyard, they are not just entering a luxury hotel they are revisiting history. St Ermin’s is built upon the site of a chapel dedicated to St. Ermin (a derivation of St. Armel.) In the mid to late 19th century, Westminster underwent great changes and expansion, resulting in the creation of St. Ermin’s Mansions in 1889, the building that now forms the basis of the hotel.
In 1899, the mansions were converted into a hotel, involving the redesign of the interiors. This work was undertaken by the famous Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs, who created a dramatic collection of reception rooms, including a majestic lobby featuring a white stone staircase, carved balustrade and crystal chandeliers. Even then, the owners of St. Ermin’s understood that modern technology enhanced the guest experience, with the installation of telephones in all bedrooms, rather than an antiquated bell system.
The hotel debuts Accor Hotels’ MGallery label in the UK. MGallery is a collection of upscale hotels notable for their personalities, which will appeal to individual travellers seekingdistinctive services or looking for a place with more soul. In the city centre as well as in tourist hotspots, each hotel in the collection offers a distinctive environment.
St Ermin’s has 331 spacious rooms and suites.
- Distinctly London package:
- Enjoy the best of the capital for £220.00 per person over a two-day weekend break.
- Two nights bed and breakfast in a Superior room
- Tickets for two people to a top West End Show
- The St. Ermin’s classic Afternoon Tea for two people
- Your own City Walking Guide, to help you discover those hidden away gems
- Bookings: via travel agents or via www.sterminshotel.co.uk