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Short stay: Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, Westminster, London, UK

Tucked away towards the rear of St. James’ Court, a Taj hotel, and only a short distance from Buckingham Palace, is the exclusive, five-star Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences. This luxurious, all-suite hotel was built at the turn of the 20th century and today consists of 86 luxury suites, ranging from one to nine bedrooms. On entering, you could be forgiven for not realising that you are in a Taj property as the Indian influences are very subtle and the feel of the establishment is more contemporary than post-colonial. The welcome I arrived very late at night but was warmly greeted by the gentleman on night duty. I had a very busy day the next day and just needed to print out some copies of a single page document ahead of a series of back-to-back meetings. He personally accompanied me to my room, quickly showed how things worked and said he would take care of printing the document for me.  The next morning I awoke to find they had been pushed under my door which meant I could enjoy breakfast at a more leisurely pace. The room On entering the suite I was greeted with a beautiful furnished living space adorned with a palette of bronze, brown and green, offset with the occasional splash of fuschia. The day’s newspaper, still and sparkling water, and a selection of magazines were all provided. There was also a desk and a series of power points so that I could easily work and charge my various gadgets. At the end of a short corridor was my bedroom, designed to a similar contemporary style. The bathroom Just off from the corridor was the bathroom, complete with a bath with a TV set within the tiles, twin basins and a separate shower. Supplied amenities included the Taj’s own-brand toiletries as well other useful items such as a shaving kit, toothbrush, etc. should you have forgotten to bring your own. Dressing gowns were provided, too. The facilities The accommodation also had its own kitchen with oven, microwave, hob, fridge, kettle and Nespresso machine. Despite having these facilities to hand, whilst staying at the hotel, I dined at Bistro which offers international cuisine along with some Indian favourites. I had a mouth-watering seafood bouillabaisse served with garlic toast bruschetta of marinated tomatoes… …followed by Kadhai Jingha – stir fried prawns and bell peppers in onion and tomato sauce, flavoured with ‘mild’ spices (although it had a fair ‘kick’ to it!) and served with paratha, which came with a side of mini poppadoms. Additional dining options on site include Bank, Kona and the Michelin-starred Quilon Restaurant. Breakfast was served at Kona – a small, intimate dining area on the ground floor of the hotel – with both continental and English breakfast options, as well as an eggs menu (with everything from the classic Eggs Benedict to interesting options such as a fluffy egg white omelette with Dorset crab and avocado, served on grilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes), and a number of ‘sweet indulgences’. Other nice touches Chocolates were left on the pillow each evening and a plate of treats was left in my room when I was out one day. There was also a bowl of fresh fruit on arrival. Cost One bedroom suites at the hotel typically start from around £300 per night when opting for an extended stay of 7 nights or more. The Presidential three-bedroom suite starts from around £2,200 whilst for the Jaguar or Cinema suites you are looking at closer to £3,200 per night. Location I was in London for business and the location was convenient for me for a series of all-day meetings held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, opposite Westminster Abbey and less than half a mile away. Guests visiting as tourists will find the hotel is well situated for St. James’s Park Underground station (4 min walk) on the Circle and District lines. Victoria station is also less than a mile away. Nearby tourist attractions include St. James’ Park, Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, to name just some. The best bit It is hard to choose a best bit when everything about my stay was so perfect, from the quality of the fixtures and fittings to the décor and attention to detail. But if I was to choose just one thing, it would probably be the quality of service – be it the attentiveness on my arrival, the staff at breakfast, the doorman recommending that I took one of the Taj umbrellas with me, or the waiting-on staff at Bistro, everyone was consistently charming and thoughtful – a detail that really sets a true luxury hotel apart. The final verdict Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences is at the forefront of luxury hotel accommodation in London, yet offers discreet, informal apartment living in a home-from-home environment. It’s particularly well suited for anyone on a business trip or extended stay in the capital.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Delighted to see the one bedroom suite, which I happened to occupy, colourfully covered in this blog in highly complimentary terms! No surprise really for it brought back memories of my 51 night stay in 51 Buckingham Gate suite way back in 2002 when I was relocating to London as Chairman &Managing Director of HCL Technologies Have more than pleasant memories of my stay there when Mr.Farhat Jamal happened to run the hotel (if my memory serves me right!?) Great to see the very high standard still being maintained. As they say, if reaching the top is tough, staying there is even tougher! My compliments to those currently in charge and best wishes for the future too.

    1. Thank you for dropping by to comment. And I’m glad the review brought back fond memories of your own stay. As you say, it’s one thing to achieve excellent, but to maintain it over a period of years – and in this case, decades – is quite a challenge, but one that the current team seem more than capable of. All the best, Paul

  2. Really??? i used to work for Taj Hotels, London and the food was much more inviting then any of the photos you posted here. Maybe you should just take them down.

    1. Thank you for dropping by, sky. I’m not quite sure what your issue is with the photographs. Please note that these were dishes from the informal Bistro restaurant, and not the Michelin-starred Quilon if that’s more the thing you had in mind…

    2. Take no notice, Paul… the food looks very appealing to me. Certainly no reason to take any photographs down?! And even if they didn’t look lovely, it would be rather disingenuous not to show what you were served.

  3. The decor is a very subtle blend of East meets West and Past meets Present all wrapped up in the elegance of an early 20th Century building. There are just enough hints of the Days of the Raj to remind you of the Taj group’s fine heritage. Of course the cuisine has moved on and the presentation of Indian classics is appealingly contemporary. Personally, I like this type of hotel that bring a cosmopolitan touch to our capital, I prefer to stay in a place like this than some soulless box dressed in numerous shades of grey.

  4. Whenever I am in London on business I stay at the Taj. It is a name I know and trust from my travels in India. After a long-flight from India I do not have the time or energy to take chances with something new.

  5. Last Christmas I had a week in India which was perhaps the greatest travel experience of my life so far. Sadly family commitments will prevent me getting away this year. However, we are going to have a few nights in London. Staying at the Taj with its echoes of India would be a reminder of happy days.

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