As we started our family staycation in London by coach, it was a relief to forget scrambling around with a road map. Instead, during the trip to London Victoria, we got to relax and take in some of the sights together. A short walk from the station and we arrived for our safe little getaway in the heart of the city and checked into our home for the night: Conrad London St James.
With school Christmas holidays approaching and gifts to think about, like so many families we usually try to take a short break every now and then. But everyone knows that 2020 is different. There is so much confusion around local rules and restrictions and still we were determined to place safety at the top of our priorities. But making travel plans was looking like a nightmare. Could a family staycation in London provide the much-needed family break we were seeking?
Our mini adventure began on arrival to our one-bedroom suite, which to our 2-year-old’s delight, was decked out with a child-sized teepee. Little Alex was delighted by the lights and on exploring further, he discovered a very special gift pack. With a new Monty the Bulldog fluffy toy in one hand and Very Hungry Caterpillar giftset in the other, there was one happy teeny explorer on our hands.
We headed to Emmeline’s – the bar named after Emmeline Pankhurst. We were seated in the company of gorgeous sculptures in a lounge decorated with the season’s most colourful flowers. After the travelling, we had worked up a thirst and an appetite for a quintessentially British Champagne afternoon tea. The delectable selection of autumn treats didn’t disappoint; from delicate sandwiches and spongey cakes and scones with jam and clotted cream, the tea was utterly scrumptious. We were really impressed by the selection of tea and warming brews that promised to suit our moods.
Feeling incredibly contented, we took a stroll to absorb some of the local atmosphere and shops. Like any two-year-old, Alex dislikes shops – so that was short lived. We left before the tantrums started and headed back to the hotel for a glass of bubbles and some of their substantial canapés. Time came for snuggling up in the comfort of our bedroom in Egyptian cotton sheets ready for movie night – with the little one all wrapped up in his mini bathrobe and slippers. A tasty snack tray of popcorn and sweeties arrived from the pastry kitchen and were soon devoured as we were whisked away on our in-room cinema experience.
After a good night of glamping sleep in our luxury bedroom, we were wowed by a brilliant breakfast at the Blue Boar. The spread was full of regional ingredients such as farm sourced juicy meats – this was one big breakfast!
With full tummies we decided to head outside while the weather held – just – and wandered into neighbouring St James’s Park. A delightful morning was spent there in the rather exclusive SW1 postcode – spotting pelicans and feeding nuts to squirrels in the park (kindly provided by the reception team).
The hotel is close to so many of the city’s famous attractions so it’s a rather perfect base for getting out and about. We felt a bit spoilt for choice and a visit to see the magnificence of Buckingham Palace was well worth it. With more time, we would have liked to book the Thames Rib Experience and explore the city by boat. It sounds like a great partnership that the hotel offers to families wishing to admire the London landmarks from the river.
We were so impressed by the high standards of service and hospitality during our stay at Conrad London St James. We absolutely loved the experience of glamping in a luxury hotel in such a popular and central location. Our little one was thrilled, and it was such a pleasant way to get away for the night. This child-friendly package is new and highly recommended.
To make your London family staycation even more hassle free then we suggest considering an upgrade. From paying for lounge access to enjoy the early evening drinks and canapés, to booking one of the interconnecting rooms, there are several extra perks to pick from.
We also found out about the Mini-Detective Experience – a children’s crime solving experience including chromatography and finger print testing in a dedicated crime investigation room within the hotel. The kids even get to keep their own forensic suits. Next time.
Aside of staycations, Conrad London St. James is also opening as a work-from-hotel destination. ‘The Perfect Address’ promises lavish, clean and quiet, socially distanced office space for anyone seeking a distraction-free desk. With plenty of benefits such as use of the hotel’s private gym and a high-tech spec, we might well end up moving in for the winter.
To discover more, visit: conradhotels.com/london
All imagery courtesy of Conrad London St James.
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