Travel writer and There We Go blogger, Katie Gregory, stayed at the Conrad London St James in Westminster to find out what their new Family Adventure package is all about…
If you’re looking for a family hotel in central London, the Conrad London St James is officially our New Favourite Place. We stayed at this luxury hotel in May to try out their new Family Adventure package, which runs on weekends, half terms, and school holidays for families with kids under 12.
We checked in on Saturday afternoon with our 7 and 9-year-old, who had the time of their lives during their stay. The VIP treatment starts with children receiving a bespoke Build-A-Bear on arrival. Parents fill out a few questions to tell the Conrad team about their kids’ favourite characters or hobbies, and hey presto – there’s a personalised furry friend waiting in the room when you check in.
Besides our bears – who joined us for everything from breakfast to a tour of Westminster – there were plenty more features that made our lives easier as parents. From interconnecting family rooms to a special kids’ menu, here are our top 5 highlights from our stay at the Conrad London St James.
5 Things we love about the Family Adventure package at Conrad London St James
1. The VIP kids’ treats include everything from Build-A-Bears to ice cream
Ask our kids, and the Build-A-Bears were undoubtedly the highlight of their stay. One was tailored to our little Harry Potter fan, and the other to our mini-gymnast. Finding them perched on the bed when we opened the door to our room was met with squeals of delight.
There were some other lovely kid-friendly features, too, including a VIP sticker for each child for complimentary ice cream. Our eldest had his for pudding after dinner that night, and both kids had an ice-cream before we checked out at midday on Sunday, this time in the hotel’s sophisticated Hedgerow cocktail bar, which doubles as a pretty hotel lounge in the daytime.
2. The hotel is just gorgeous (kids or no kids)
The Conrad London St James is a grand 19th-century building that was once Queen Anne’s Chambers, and it’s luxury with a capital L. But it doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious, and we didn’t feel on edge arriving with children, who were handed sweeties at check-in while us adults welcomed an ice-cold glass of bubbly.
Our family room was made up of two interconnecting rooms, which worked brilliantly for us as it meant everyone got a good night’s sleep in proper beds and separate spaces, with peace of mind knowing the kids were close by. Their room was kitted out with cute London-themed bedding by The White Company, beanbags, mini robes and slippers, and even some London-themed toys. Both rooms had a very cool 42-inch TV behind a ginormous screen, and we were grateful for practical features like blackout curtains – which meant no 5AM wake-up calls.
3. There’s a pub joined to the hotel, and you get £100 off your bill
The Family Adventure package includes a £100 credit to put towards a meal in Blue Boar Pub, so we booked a table for 6:30PM and headed down. The pub is joined to the hotel, so you don’t even need to step outside. Although it took a while for someone to seat us, the pub has a relaxed, child-friendly feel and the waiter chatted away to the kids.
The kids’ menu designed by Sally Abe is fairly limited, with just four options, all at £12.50: ham and cheese toastie with chips, fish goujons with chips, cottage pie with broccoli, and mini roast beef. Our youngest enjoyed the fish goujons and chips, while our 9-year-old ordered a burger from the main menu, which was £19. I went for the battered cod and chips (£21), my husband chose the sea trout with a side of chips (£21 + £5) and we had a bottle of wine at £32. All in all it came to £110.50 – just a little over the £100 credit, plus a 12.5% service charge. We couldn’t fault the food, and the same applied to breakfast the next morning – a huge, fresh, and varied buffet spread with cooked and continental options that set us up for a day of exploring.
4. The location puts you right in the heart of Westminster City
The Conrad London St James is next to St James’ Park underground station, which is handy if you’re getting the Tube. On the Saturday we took the Uber Boat from London Bridge to Westminster Pier, which was something a bit different for all of us as we usually take the bus in London. When you step off at Westminster Pier you’re right underneath Big Ben, next to Westminster Abbey, and a 10-minute walk from the hotel. It took us far longer as we kept stopping to take photos.
Once we’d checked out on the Sunday, we went for a wander up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace – which is minutes away from the Conrad London St James – and saw the Changing of the Guard. We then walked up in the other direction through St James’ Park to Trafalgar Square at the other end before hopping on the Tube to our train station from Embankment underground station. I’ve written a guide to free things to do with kids in Westminster over on There We Go if you’re looking for things to do in the area.
5. You get a Kids’ Pass, which gets you discounts on lots of attractions
Speaking of things to do, the Family Adventure package also includes a free Kids’ Pass, which gets you discounts on UK-wide family attractions. You get a code to activate the pass, which covers things like cinema tickets and theme park entry, including some London attractions. We didn’t use ours during our stay, but it’s valid for three months so we’re busy searching for fun things to do in the summer holidays.
As well as the Kids’ Pass, the hotel’s concierge team can help you book theatre tickets and find you the best seats available. The hotel is just outside London’s West End, so it’s about a 30-minute walk to all the big theatres if you fancy taking the kids to see a West End show while you’re in town. Plus, the route is packed with money-can’t-buy sightseeing opportunities along the way.
Disclaimer: this one-night review stay was provided for free in return for an honest review of Conrad London’s new family package.
The Family Adventure package at Conrad London St James is available during weekends, half terms and school holidays. Overnight stays start from £605 in a family room and include breakfast, a Build-A-Bear gift, a £100 credit towards a meal in the Blue Boar Pub. Package price is based on two adults and one child, but upgrades are available for additional children. To book, visit www.conradhotels.com/london or call 020 3301 8080.