Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to do something we have never done before – take a ‘staycation’ in central London. We stayed at the St. Ermin’s hotel (an Autograph collection hotel) in Westminster, a central London hotel with an amazing history and a stone’s throw from St. James’s Park station.
The remarkable history goes as follows: In 1940 Winston Churchill held a meeting at St. Ermin’s Hotel with a group of people and asked them to join him in ‘Setting Europe Ablaze’ – they were to become the founding members of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). This unit carried out covert operations during WW2, from their headquarters which were an entire floor of St. Ermin’s Hotel, whilst MI6 were situated two floors above. The SOE agents’ printed coded messages on pieces of silk, of which an original sample still hangs in the Lobby. In the 1950’s the spy Guy Burgess (part of the Cambridge five) handed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the Caxton Bar. Furthermore, it is rumoured that a tunnel runs from underneath the grand staircase in the Lobby all the way to the houses of Westminster.
I absolutely loved the character of this hotel and the unusual lobby with its gorgeous staircases and plaster work that were designed by the famous Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs. There is a lovely boutique charm about the hotel and I particularly enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of the Caxton Bar. I have to say that enjoying a drink by a warm fireplace (with a real fire) in the bar was a lovely treat! We also decided impromptu to indulge in the high tea served in the tea rooms above the lobby and I thoroughly enjoyed the fare. I found the high tea service friendly, without being pretentious, and one that seemed very child friendly. Of course, our decision to indulge was sudden (like I was really going to say no when my husband suggested it!) but they are happy to make special provisions for kids if you book ahead of time.
I have always championed the case of ‘fabulous flats’ and there is something very refreshing about dressing up and not wearing heels. I love the shimmery elegance of these flat ballerina shoes and I think they work exceedingly well with the frill-bottomed cropped trousers. The oversized faux fur clutch is a stylish nod to winter and is amazingly versatile in terms of styling.
I have mentioned before that I have rarely met a shirt dress I did not like and this one was no exception. I love the simple yet sophisticated design of this dress and how the waist can be drawn in from both sides. It’s full sleeved and appropriate for work and play – what’s there not to love! Plus, I think it would also look great with a nice pair of white sneakers.
I hope you enjoyed this ‘lookbook’ and thank you for reading. Have a great rest of the week!
(Clothes and Accessories: Silver Jumper – And Other Stories, Trousers – Zara (similar), Clutch – And Other Stories, Flat Shoes – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, Shirt Dress – H&M, Grey Bag – Salvatore Ferragamo)