Review: Diwali at St James’ Court
Review: Diwali at St James’ Court
The Taj hotel group has two outposts in London and is a top spot to celebrate Diwali. There’s a pretty courtyard filled with lights and a special menu featuring a range of thalis.
We checked in to a family room at St James’ Court in the newly renovated part of the hotel. A courtyard separates ‘St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel’ (four star) with its five-star sibling next door (Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences). They share several restaurants between them, including Michelin-starred Quilon, TH@51, Kona for afternoon tea, The Hamptons Bar and a spa.
We dropped our bags and headed for an aperitif, enjoying two well-made cocktails, a Margarita and an Old Fashioned. The place was buzzing with a mix of guests and had a nice atmosphere, thanks in part to the pianist. Our Diwali dinner was booked at TH@51. It’s a nice bright space that overlooks the courtyard – particularly stunning for Diwali with its cascade of lights and illuminated flower installations. We chose a Southern Indian and a Northern Indian thali (£45 each) – both were delicious, showcasing a great range of dishes. Highlights of my Southern Indian selection included a prawn coconut curry and a spicy sambhar. The paratha bread was so good I had to order another. There are a range of Indian desserts on offer, and come as a trio so you can try a mix. We particularly enjoyed a gulab jamun.
The premier family room is large and nicely decorated with an East meets West aesthetic such as pretty patterned silver curtains and a modern grey houndstooth carpet. There is a spacious main bathroom decked out in marble, plus a smaller bathroom off the lounge area. The sofa is converted into a bed for sleeping – it was perhaps a bit ambitious in size for my boys and in hindsight, we should have requested an extra guest bed. The room is certainly big enough to accommodate one. But we slept well and rooms are quiet.
Breakfast on the Sunday morning was busy and we had a short wait for a table but that was helped along by having croissants, coffee, juice and even prosecco on the bar for you to help yourself. Once seated, you can then order from a cooked breakfast menu, which includes all the favourites such as waffles and egg dishes as well as a selection of Indian breakfasts. We didn’t hesitate to order our favourite – masala dosa – and it didn’t disappoint, being light, crisp, filled with spiced potato, and served with coconut chutney. There’s a generous buffet, too.
This year, Taj was the official hospitality partner for the annual Diwali on the Square festivities, which took place in Trafalgar Square on 29th October. The team prepared a Diwali edition Indian Jasmine Afternoon Tea for over 200 VIP guests. It was fab to feel a part of this celebration.
The Diwali celebrations at the hotel runs until 19th November with events and offers. For families visiting on the 11th and 12th, the hotel will be hosting a lantern decorating workshop for children and on the evening of Diwali itself, Taj will be lighting up the courtyard with a glittering firework display to mark the official day of the Festival of Lights on 12th November.
Overall, this is a very welcoming and comfortable hotel, well located and close to some top tourist spots such as Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park.