London's St Ermin's Hotel - A Review

Entrance to the St. Ermin's Hotel London

Central London offers a variety of overnight accommodations, from grand Victorian hotels to contemporary steel structures towering more than 1,000 feet.  While historic hotels remain popular with travelers to London, none of them offer the unique history of the St. Ermin’s Hotel.

Front Entrance to Hotel

Near the Houses of Parliament, and surrounded by the wartime intelligence offices, the St. Ermin’s Hotel became a strategic meeting place for the British Secret Intelligence Service during WWII.   

Front Entrance

In 1940, Winston Churchill organized the first meeting of the founding members of the Special Operations Executive, an elite group of intelligence agents who took over an entire floor of the St. Ermin’s.  The Military Intelligence unit, MI6, was housed two floors above.  For more about this hotel's WWII history, read the book House of Spies, by Peter Matthews, which provides a comprehensive history of the espionage connection.

Front Porch of the St. Ermin's
A wide front patio welcomes guests and offers a comfortable spot to plan your visit to London.

Lobby of the Hotel

Originally built as private “mansions” in 1887, the residences were converted to a hotel in 1899, when the new owners enlisted Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs in 1899 to refurbish the interior.  

Lobby Stairs

The lobby of the hotel reminds visitors of a grand theatre, including an elaborate staircase and ornate plasterwork created by skilled tradesmen of the time.

Guestroom at the St. Ermin's Hotel

The rooms are modern and decorated to reinforce the classic and historic aspects of the St. Ermin's.  Bed was very comfortable and room was clean and quiet.  This corner room had two windows looking out over London.


The bath was fresh and modern with a shower and marble floors.

Bee & Bee Hotel

In addition to the hotel's long history, it offers some very new features, one of which is this "Bee & Bee Hotel", located behind glass and harvested for honey that is used in the hotel.
London Essence Summer Terrace

During warmer months, the second floor's London Essence Summer Terrace is a delightful spot for a drink and a light snack.  

St. Ermin's Hotel lobby

The comparisons to a theatre are easy to see from the second floor.  The staircase, chandelier, and marble railings are all very ornate, even for a Victorian hotel.

The Tea Lounge at the St. Ermin's Hotel

Afternoon tea is served on the second floor in the St. Ermin’s Hotel Tea Lounge, just steps from the main lobby.

ComptersBusiness travelers will also find the location for the St. Ermin's to be well suited to their needs.  It is just around the corner from the St. James Park underground station and the city's subway system.  The hotel also offers 14 contemporary spaces for meetings and stylish wedding receptions.  The Crystal Ballroom can hold up to 200 guests.

Burger and Fries at the Caxon Grill

The main dinning option, in addition to 24-hour room service, is the Caxton Grill.  They serve a delicious buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The burgers at lunch are outstanding!

St. James Park, London, England

Close to St. James Park, the St. Ermin’s Hotel offers easy access to all the sights of Westminster.  Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Churchill War Rooms, and Buckingham Palace are all within easy walking distance.

Front of the St. Ermin's Hotel

Staying the night at the St. Ermin's Hotel will extend the enchantment of London into the evening.  This property is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection of unique boutique hotels.  For more information visit their website, St. Ermin's Hotel.


Experiencing the Best of Ireland at Ballyfin

Ballyfin exterior of hotel in Ireland.
When you think of Ireland, what associations do you make? Do you think of Guinness, little green men, St. Patrick, and a distinctive way of speaking? Perhaps you should also visualize amazing mountains, incredible natural riches, and a host of historical sites. If you decide to go on vacation in Ireland, you will experience these, and such will only be made more memorable by your stay at Ballyfin.

Ballyfin is located in County Laois, and is less than two hours away from the Dublin airport. Its strategic location by the Slieve Bloom Mountains gives guests access to an amazing view and a peaceful and romantic location. The hotel has also been rightly recognized as one of the best in Ireland. It only has 15 rooms, but the property goes on for hundreds of acres. If you are looking for a great place in which you can seek refuge from the madness of city living, then this is the perfect getaway location for you.

Ballyfin guest room
Ballyfin has quite a rich history and perhaps, the best way to feel this is by staying in one of the 15 beautiful rooms. Each room possesses a distinctive character and is named accordingly. The Lady Caroline Coote Room, for example, features a rococo stucco ceiling, while The Knight’s Room, quite appropriately, comes with a small knight’s suit.

If you would like something spacious, then perhaps you should book The Viceroy’s Room, which comes with a double bathroom. You can also go for the Sir Christopher Coote Suite, which is the largest among all of the rooms.

Ballyfin Castle Indoor Pool
No matter which room you choose, you will always have something fascinating to learn about it. In fact, that’s one reason to keep returning to the Ballyfin: no two experiences will be exactly the same, although they will probably be just as pleasant.

In any case, each room has all of the basic comforts and amenities, including a mini bar which is stocked with a selection of complimentary refreshments. While you may wish to spend most of your time exploring outdoors, you can be assured that you will always be connected as you wish whenever you are in your room. After all, each has its own entertainment system and provides wireless Internet access.

Ballyfin house dinning room
To add to these pleasures, Ballyfin also takes care of satisfying your cravings. You can choose to enjoy your food indoors or outdoors, for a complete sensory experience. In fact, if you wish, you can go on a picnic anywhere within the grounds. The staff can certainly whip up a gourmet selection for you to full enjoy outdoors.

Public Room
If you are looking for an ideal venue for your business meetings or seminars, Ballyfin is definitely a good choice. The location ensures that you will get the necessary peace and quiet while also being stimulating and enjoyable enough for all participants. The staff can help you make your function successful, as they take care of all the logistical details so that you can focus on meeting your objectives.

Of course, such a stunning place as this makes for a great venue for romance. The Ballyfin staff can take care of all of your wedding requirements. In fact, it is also possible to have the entire house reserved for the benefit of your guests. This will make your wedding celebration truly special and personal – just as it should be. You can choose from either the dining rooms or the Gold Room, depending on the number of guests as well as your specific preferences.

Spa services are offered.
Choosing to stay at Ballyfin can mean making the most out of your Irish vacation with minimal stress and effort. After all, there are already a host of activities you can engage in within the estate property. You may choose to catch your own dinner, for example, by going fishing.  You can even hone your archery skills or improve your aim by shooting at clay pigeons. For those who prefer more physically demanding activities, tennis, mountain biking and hiking are great options. There is, after all, an amazing variety of wildlife within the grounds.

Cap off an active day with a whiskey tasting experience or by enjoying a book by the fireplace. If you have specific requests and preferences, you can simply get in touch with the staff. They will do their best to address your requests.

Gates of Ballyfin
Vacationing somewhere new is always an exciting experience. Make sure that your Irish getaway ends up being so much more by booking at the Ballyfin.

The Capital Hotel – Making Your London Visit Enjoyable

The Capital Hotel in London, England has been rated by guests and travel sites as one of the best hotels in the city and among the world’s top 500. It is more than just a hotel, too, with its luxury apartments, hotel suites, fine French cuisine, master classes, and personal services offered to its guests.

Doorman welcomes guests to The Capital Hotel.
Located in fashionable Knightsbridge and within walking distance to great shopping establishments and other attractions in London’s West End, this family-run hotel has served heads of state, celebrities, and even members of the royalty. From its liveried doorman to its personal shoppers, The Capital exudes warmth, charm, and intimacy.

Deluxe double room at The Capital Hotel of London.
There are 50 guest rooms in the hotel, including a two-bedroom suite and several suites and deluxe doubles. Each room has been designed individually, with Egyptian cotton and hand sewn bedding and mattresses, antique furniture, and privately-owned art work. It has been praised for its attention to detail that makes guests’ stay both luxurious and comfortable. Visit Hotel Website

All bedrooms in the Capital Hotel have a satellite TV and movies on demand, as well as a mini bar, a laptop safe, marble bathrooms, and luxurious bath toiletries, among others. Guests have access to WIFI, 24-hour room service, the health club and gym, and even babysitting services for those with children.

Restaurant at London's Capital Hotel.
In addition to their fine French restaurant and charming atmosphere, the Capital also offers concierge and personal shopper services, master classes, serviced apartments, and gift vouchers. For guests on business, there are three high-class meetings rooms to choose from—the Eaton Suite is perfect for board meetings, luncheons, cocktail parties, and press launches while the Cadogen Suite can be for dinner parties and theater-style presentations. The Sitting Room, a smaller one, is best for dinner parties of up to 10 people.

The Capital Bar
The Capital’s Cocktail Master Class handled by the bar manager teaches guests how to create the perfect mixed drink. The Jewelry Master Class demonstrates how to create exquisite jewels including antique and modern jewelry, as well as selecting the perfect gem for those accessories.

Voted as the best restaurant in Knightsbridge by Zagat 2011, the Capital’s Restaurant is very well known. It is said to be “haute couture dining,” and it’s no wonder, since the world’s gourmets have been coming here for more than 30 years.

The restaurant serves fine gourmet French cuisine in a beautiful atmosphere, and there is an extensive wine list served from the hotel’s privately-owned vineyards and winery. Its bar serves London’s finest cocktails in addition to light meals.

Sitting Room
Among the other things that the Capital is known for, is the warmth of its staff. Guests remember being warmly welcomed, and with its relatively small size, given more personalized services as well.

Indeed, the Capital has all the niceties of a large hotel, but with the ambiance and friendliness of a small establishment, making it the perfect choice—and the favorite—of those who want to enjoy their stay in London. Photos provided by hotel.