Eleven-year-old Jessica Ebner-Statt tried out a kids’ spy package at this London hotel. Here, she reveals if young sleuths will like it. (Jessica’s also guest blogged for BritMums about the things kids like best at Disney World, Florida.)
Do you know which American President has a statue on Parliament Square in London? Or how about which famous international organisation had its first meeting in the Methodist Central Hall opposed Westminster Abbey? Well, I didn’t until I became a “budding Bond” by spending a night at the historic St. Ermin’s hotel.
The hotel is full of history, as the SOE (Special Operations Executive) was founded there and had a whole floor to itself during the Second World War. M16 also worked there, and Guy Burgess, the double agent, passed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the bar. It is also rumoured that a secret passage leads from the hotel to the houses of Westminster, but we didn’t find this!
Instead we became “Budding Bonds” – staying in a family room and enjoying a secret agent package and a local London spy walk. Although I am far too old to get excited when playing “spy” I really liked the idea, as it was unique and something I’ve never experienced in any other hotel.
Our spy package contained a code booklet, a sheet about the history of the hotel and a trail around the hotel and famous London landmarks. The code booklet was thoroughly entertaining, although it was slightly easy at first. However, the second last question tied us up in knots and even my parents couldn’t work it out!
The spy trail was great fun and, even though I live in London, it taught me a lot and made our mini sightseeing trip much more enjoyable. Some of the questions were extremely hard to answer but this meant that we improved our “spying” skills trying to find the answers out. The “missions” in St. Ermin’s hotel were actually harder than the ones outside! We had lots of fun but the only downside was that the staff (although they were helpful and friendly) gave the answers away much quicker than we wanted them to.
Once we were finished, we traded our trail sheets for a St. Ermin’s Rubik’s cube and a special spy ID card, allowing us to receive one free “shaken not stirred” cocktail which was made for us in the bar. I loved sitting on plush seats and watching the bartenders making us drinks, something I didn’t expect to happen until I was at least a little bit older! Everyone was smiling and they even showed us some astounding magic tricks when we were eating our supper.
All in all, our Budding Bonds package at St. Ermin’s was a brilliant one. If you’re going sight-seeing in London with kids, it definitely is the place to stay (although I should probably point out that it isn’t cheap. We were extremely lucky to be given the trip for free).
About St. Ermin’s Secret Agent Package
Subject to availability and based on a family of four sharing, the ‘Budding Bonds’ package is priced at £550 inclusive of VAT for a two-night stay and includes accommodation in a Family room – of double Queen beds, full size day bed and two bathrooms on a bed and breakfast basis and a St Ermin’s Secret Agent Package per child including the London Spy Walk Challenge. There is a minimum two-night stay requirement with this package.
Jessica Ebner-Statt is 11 years old and in Year 7. She loves computers and chocolate and runs Family Travel Times with her mum, Sarah Ebner.