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Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel (Hilton’s Curio Collection)

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This is our review of The Trafalgar St James hotel in Trafalgar Square, London. The hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hilton’s weekend sale is now on as you have probably seen from our article yesterday. We will be reviewing a couple of Hilton hotels in the sale which may inspire readers to book a stay themselves.

First up: The Trafalgar St James hotel in London – click for the website.

We booked for cash via but we will be reimbursed. Hilton has not seen or approved this review.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

You may or may not know that Hilton now has six Curio Collection hotels in London (a seventh one, Lincoln Plaza at Canary Wharf, remains closed post pandemic).

As one of Hilton’s ‘collection’ brands, Curio brings together independent boutique properties, letting you earn and spend Hilton Honors points and enjoy your Hilton Honors status. Curio hotels are of a high standard but do not have to meet strict Hilton ‘brand standards’, allowing the operators to exercise their creativity. We’ve generally been very impressed by the Curio Collection hotels we’ve visited.

After reviewing The Westminster in 2021, I managed to review a further four London Curio’s this year. In addition to The Trafalgar St James, I’ve also been to:

That leaves just one Curio Collection in London remaining – 100 Queen’s Gate – which I will try to look at next year.

This time, it was the turn of The Trafalgar St James.

The Trafalgar St James location

It’s difficult to be more central than The Trafalgar St James, which as its name suggests sits directly on Trafalgar Square, opposite Canada House. The hotel is in good company, with a number of properties around here including Hyatt’s Great Scotland Yard and The Corinthia a stones throw away.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Meanwhile, the new Waldorf Astoria, which is being built inside Admiralty Arch and the surrounding buildings, is literally behind The Trafalgar. It should open in 2025 if everything goes to schedule.

If you’re a tourist, the location is fantastic. The South Bank is literally a 5-10 minute walk across the river. Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery is on your doorstep whilst Leicester Square, Chinatown and Soho are all a ten minute walk away. Buckingham Palace and St James Park are just a stroll down the Mall.

When it comes to public transport, Charing Cross station offers connections onto National Rail as well as the Bakerloo Line and Northern Line; the Circle and District Line are marginally further at Embankment Station.

Inside The Trafalgar St James hotel

The hotel is currently refurbishing its lobby, although the work is exceptionally discreet. The only reason I knew it was happening was thanks to a disclaimer when I made my booking.

The lobby is fairly small, with a ground-floor restaurant taking up most of the space. This will change when the rest of the lobby reopens.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

On the left, you have a couple of concierge desks whilst the check-in area is a few steps up (there’s a ramp too).

I was checked in very speedily at 2pm and my Hilton Diamond status acknowledged.

Suites at The Trafalgar St James

I booked very last minute and the lowest room available was a Trafalgar King with View room. Normally, there are a couple categories below this including the Trafalgar Queen room. On arrival, I was upgraded to to the Landseer Suite, which I believe is the top category.

The Landseer Suite is more of a junior suite really – it is open plan – and sits on the first floor corner of the building, directly facing Nelson’s Column.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Note that the soundproofing is good but not perfect: I could still hear a very faint background hum of traffic outside, although it really is very quiet. The air conditioning in many hotels is significantly louder.

It is suitably big, with a large entry hall / wardrobe first:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

There are at least three wardrobes here, with two dressing gowns, a safe, ironing board etc.

The room itself is triangular, with the king bed set in the middle and enclosed by a lovely dark wood headboard:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

A narrow desk is behind the bed, as you can see.

The bed itself is very comfortable and I slept very well – the pillows were just right for me. There are USB-A and mains sockets on both sides.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel


Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

On the left is a round dining table as well as the mini bar:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

A Nespresso machine was available as well as what must be the most Nespresso capsules I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. Normally you get four capsules – here you get about 20!

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

There are bottles of still and sparkling water as well as Coca-Cola and Diet Coke in the fridge, which are complimentary. Tea bags and shortbread biscuits are also provided.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

In front of the bed is a sort of living space, with sofa and coffee table. The TV is wall-mounted on one side:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel


Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Meanwhile, on the right hand side, you have a chaise-longue as well as the bathroom.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

To the left is a small bar cart with two decanters with whisky and cognac, enough for 3-4 glasses each. This is complimentary, and I assume a benefit of the suite.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Compared to the rest of the room the bathroom feels small:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

There are two wash basins, although they feel a little squeezed in:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

A large bathtub sits in the window and features a TV screen which you can control with a waterproof remote control. Of course, I had to put this to the taste and am happy to report it was delightful, although (as you would expect!) the audio is a bit muddy with all the hard surfaces. There is underfloor heating here which was very pleasant on my bare feet at night!

The toilet and shower room are in separate, frosted glass cubicles:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Toiletries are from Molton Brown in fairly large mini-bottles, with plenty by the bath and in the shower.

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

As this was a cash stay, I didn’t have the opportunity to take a formal tour of the hotel or see other room categories.

The Rooftop at The Trafalgar

The Trafalgar St James has two restaurants: Rockwell, on the ground floor and The Rooftop on, well, the rooftop. At least in Winter, neither is open seven days a week and they alternate. During my visit, on a Monday, Rockwell was closed.

Regular readers may know that The Trafalgar hosts an annual London Pride after-party on their Rooftop terrace, with tickets available for Hilton Honors points. The good news is the Rooftop is open all-year round; with a semi-permanent retractable roof it remains very warm in the winter. We were even able to enjoy dinner ‘outside’ thanks to the gas fires dotted in the outdoor bit. The view is good, with the London Eye, Shard and Trafalgar Square all visible.

When it comes to food, the Rooftop is more of a snack bar whilst Rockwell has more traditional mains. We decided to share a handful of the small plates, which aren’t quite as small as you might think! Here are the crispy prawns, truffle croquettes, glazed chicken and caeser salad:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

The food is relatively pricey; three small plates can be had for £38 or a double cheeseburger for £25. You are paying for the location here and I imagine it is lovely in summer with the awnings retracted.

Breakfast at The Trafalgar St James

Breakfast is also served on The Rooftop, albeit in the dining section:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

(Again, in the summer, the roof is fully retractable here and opens right up. But it was perfectly toasty for breakfast and I could easily have gone up in my t-shirt!)

There is an a la carte menu which complements the small buffet that is also available. Of course, I went for the eggs royale:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

Unfortunately, the eggs were a little overcooked and closer to hard boiled eggs, which was a shame. However, not wanting to waste food I soldiered on!

When it comes to hot food, the buffet only features items for a Full English – scrambled / fried eggs, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, baked beans etc.

There’s a small pastry selection and salad bar:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel

As well as cereals, yoghurts and some sweet treats:

Review: The Trafalgar St James Hotel


If you’ve come to London to see the sights then you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere better located than The Trafalgar St James, with so many iconic destinations within a quick walk.

When I saw that the lobby was undergoing renovation I thought the hotel might be a bit tired, but that wasn’t the case at all. The lobby is lovely (if small, for now) and the rooms feel modern and British.

I particularly enjoyed having breakfast on The Rooftop – it’s a lovely, light-filled space. You can’t escape the fact that you’re in London with that view.

Room rates start from £280 per night or 80,000 Hilton Honors points. The suite I was given as an upgrade is a rather more punchy £1,100. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.

Remember that the Hilton sale is currently running with discounts on weekend stays until 8th April. Full details are in this HfP article. Click here to see our other sale-related review of Hilton Berlin.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (January 2024)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Kowalski says:

    24 Nespresso capsules! Very impressive. I wonder if they replace them all each day if they’re all gone. I have a naughty habit of collecting them for my girlfriend!

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    I stayed here a lot in 2019-21 for work on the public sector rate which used to be something like £135. I was not a fan. The bathroom is not intuitively designed so it always felt like nothing was where it should be. The lack of any desks in standard rooms made working in the room difficult. It’s also a mobile signal blackspot and if you have a work security policy that forbids public wifi then you’re screwed (I recall having to do my work then stand on the street at midnight to send it to the cloud). I agree with a previous commenter that the hotel’s focus is on its F&B and not its rooms – as a guest checking in, more attention was paid to those heading to the rooftop bar. During my stays, breakfast was served in the ground floor Rockwell. I got breakfast included as a Gold but had never experienced the segregation that this hotel enforced at any other Hilton. I would be firmly told my breakfast did not include hot food, but I could otherwise use the buffet. Just not the hot buffet items. Then they’d seat me (and presumably a trickle of other HH elites) in a section up a step by the window, which required walking past the breakfast host on your way to/from the buffet – wherein my plate would be eyeballed (presumably for any hot food).

    It was with great pleasure that I arranged a public sector rate with Marriott County Hall (£129) and switched my stays there.

    • Duncan says:

      I had a night in May 2021 with a Trafalgar King. An odd room, but at the time, very cheap for the property, but not as cheap as yours.
      Was gold then, and didn’t have the breakfast issues you had. Quite the spread, full English, a tiered plate with cold cuts, pastries, and muffins.

      • Michael C says:

        Last summer with Gold, it was a hot dish off the à la carte plus the buffet, but they did mention you could order a second hot dish if you wished.

  • Smudgerman says:

    Stayed here many times on a mix of miles, cash and airline rates, with little by way of status at the time. Tried once looking for an alternative to the (then) tired looking Hilton on Park Lane.

    Always well looked after, staff are great, Rockwell for breakfast is superb and the rooftop bar excellent too.

    Rooms always too drawer too, my favorite London Hotel.

  • kitten says:

    What’s the rack rate for breakfast?

    • Tracey says:

      Can’t remember the exact amount, but sufficiently high that we went elsewhere. Given the location there are many good places to eat breakfast rather than be tied to the hotel.

  • His Holyness says:

    An exceptional upgrade, rarely granted, most likely due to looking you up.
    The typical experience is likely to be no suite, or pushing to upsell which fits the reviews on Google, TA and FlyerTalk.
    The good thing is, if anyone is pushed back on a suite, refer to this review that it’s perfectly possible!

    • Rob says:

      Potentially, but I can honestly say that I have never seen any sign of being unnecessarily over-upgraded at a hotel on a cash booked stay, including the one I’m currently in, beyond what my status might get me. I doubt The Trafalgar has the staff to look up potential guests given the volume.

      My wife is doing a similar stay in Berlin next week so let’s see. If she gets a suite as a HH Gold then Watford is probably having a quiet word!

  • His Holyness says:

    Could be the email domain? Do you put an IATA to get the commission, like Emyr. It’s also possible it’s in the HH profile.

  • AL says:

    One of my favourite hotels in London, this review does it justice. The rooftop bar is great in summer, and service is always positive throughout the property.

    100QG post-Doubletree is a good property. When it was a DT, dire. Will wait for that with interest!

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