Leicester Square hardly epitomises chic living, but the newly-opened St. John Hotel manages to bring more than a touch of style to the hustle and bustle of London’s China Town district.
The boutique hotel, which opened this spring, is owned by Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson, the duo behind the famed London restaurants St. John in Clerkenwell and St. John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields. The hotel, on the site of the (once) “famous seafood restaurant” Manzis that closed in 2007, has around 15 rooms and a restaurant where the St. John motto of “nose to tail eating” is upheld.
The minimalist white décor of the hotel brings to mind an old-time seaside resort, although the open-plan design of the rooms – with the bathtubs in the bedrooms – is decidedly modern. Each of the rooms exudes a sense of simple luxury; after all, the minibars are replete with half-bottles of Billecart-Salmon and Krug champagne, as well as the requisite Toblerone bars. But guests who really want to spoil themselves should request the Long Room, which can be extended to take in the whole floor with three bedrooms and a large living room.
The hotel’s restaurant is open for dinner until 2 a.m., welcomed news to West End actors with a craving for suckling pig after treading the boards. Tom Harris who heads the kitchen is the former sous chef of the original St. John, which is consistently ranked among the best restaurants of the world.
The menu changes daily and diners can watch the cooks at work in the open kitchen preparing fare such as Grilled Rabbit, Turnips & Anchovy or Veal Tongue, Beetroot & Horseradish. Those with less adventurous appetites might skip the offal but will definitely enjoy the innovative desserts, such as Buttermilk Pudding & Raspberries or Apple Sorbet & Polish Vodka.