London hotel review: 51 Buckingham Gate

The fountain in the courtyard between 51 Buckingham Gate and St. James Hotel.

I’ve been fortunate to stay at a number of luxury hotels and resorts over the years but none of them have been quite so special as 51 Buckingham Gate in the Westminster area of London. Just a short walk from Buckingham Palace, 51 Buckingham Gate is a 5-star all-suite hotel owned by Taj Hotels. The hotel features 85 suites, ranging from one to nine bedrooms, all with fully-equipped kitchens, a living room, bathroom and bedroom.

My husband and I arrived at the hotel┬átired, hungry and in desperate need of a shower. We got our first taste of 51 Buckingham Gate’s service when we were directed to relax in the library with some drinks and snacks while the staff handled the check-in process. Once the paperwork was complete, we were escorted to our room by a member of the staff. He gave us a tour of the suite’s features and then gave us some tips for exploring London. We were delighted to find a plate of fresh fruit in our room since we were starving after barely eating the crappy Delta food.

Fruit plate at 51 Buckingham Gate
Our arrival fruit plate at 51 Buckingham Gate

The room we were given was on the top floor and faced Buckingham Palace. The bedroom, while small, had one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. Adjoining the bedroom was a full-sized closet where I stashed some of my outfits for the week. The bathroom had heated floors, a shower and a huge tub with a TV. Although I never had an opportunity to experience it, a personal hand-drawn butler bath was available for an additional fee. Turndown service included two chocolates from Rococco, my favorite chocolate shop in London.

51 Buckingham Gate bedroom
The bedroom was small but it didn’t matter since we had so much space in the suite.
51 Buckingham Gate tub.
The tub in the bathroom.

The living room was huge and included a desk, TV, couch and table. My husband would spend the late evenings playing video games on the couch before coming to bed.

51 Buckingham Gate living room
The living room in our suite.

We never used the kitchen since we chose to eat all of our meals out but it could definitely come in handy for families or a long-term stay. The refrigerator was well-stocked with bottles of still water, with more added every time housekeeping came to our room.

51 Buckingham Gate kitchen
The well-stocked kitchen.

The next morning after arrival, we ate breakfast at the hotel, which was included in our rate. A bread basket was brought out prior to the breakfast entrees. The service was very personal without being overbearing. There was a very grumpy woman sitting across from us who kept barking orders at the waitstaff and I felt very sorry for them. Over the course of the 6-day stay, we had breakfast in the library 3 times and chose to eat at the St. James Court Hotel’s buffet twice, which included a mix of English and Indian dishes.

The fountain in the courtyard between 51 Buckingham Gate and St. James Hotel.
The fountain in the courtyard between 51 Buckingham Gate and St. James Hotel.

While the room at 51 Buckingham Gate was incredible, the service is what really stood out. As I mentioned above, we decided to eat breakfast one morning at the adjoining St. James Court Hotel and rather than pointing at where to go, we were escorted by a member of the staff directly to a table. When we needed bar or restaurant recommendations, the staff was spot on with our requirements. In the mornings, the staff address us by our first names and asked how we enjoyed the restaurant or bar they recommended.

Our 6-day stay at 51 Buckingham Gate was a special treat and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Author: Rebecca Pattee

Rebecca started Away From the Office to encourage office workers to temporarily step away from the 9-5 grind and see the world. Follow along for advice on amazing destinations, packing tips and more.

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