The Travellers Club, Pall Mall - Member Review

Christopher Hall, a distant member so not much seen in Bristol or known except to the Petrolheads, has stayed at the Travellers numerous times over the years. A superb location, at 6 Pall Mall, but do not expect a name plate to let you know it’s there. Sandwiched between the Athenaeum on the corner and the Reform further to the west it is housed in a splendid, classical building.

The porters may seem a little aloof if they don’t recognise you but, once introduced, they are very helpful. It is still a proper “gentlemen’s club” where ladies are excluded from some areas such as the basement bar and the first-floor members lounge. However, ladies are welcome as guests, (or as reciprocal members), to dine or stay. Mobile phones are banned except in the lobby by the coat racks! There are rooms from modest (economical) single rooms at the top with shared bathrooms, to well-appointed en-suite doubles.

Apart from the members lounge there are large lounges on the ground floor with huge armchairs, newspapers and magazines and help yourself coffee on the ground floor. A bell push summons a steward to order drinks or tea. The Coffee Room on the first-floor overlooks Pall Mall. Confusingly, this is where meals are taken. High ceilings, chandeliers, huge pictures of prominent members past and present, it is like stepping back in time, much like the other major London clubs. Coffee and a newspaper may be delivered to your room at no charge by a gentleman in black jacket and pinstripe trousers from 07.00. Continental or full breakfast is served and the kippers are the best I’ve ever had.

There is a reasonably priced two or three course lunch and dinner, as well as à la carte. You can book tables or sit in the next seat at the central club table for perhaps 30, where you can be next to anyone. At dinner I was between a retired high court judge and a special envoy to Iran and opposite a well-travelled American oil man. The wine list is large and can be amazing value. I remember one excellent Australian Shiraz which was priced at much less than retail.

It is a truly delightful place if you value old fashioned peace and quiet, good manners, well-cooked if traditional food and don’t mind wearing a tie. I can’t wait to go back; they allow reciprocals up to 30 nights a year.