A decade ago, it was a package-tourist misery locals nicknamed “St. Vermin’s.” But with a new owner, much investment, and a hookup to Marriott’s points system, glory has been restored to this handsome 1889 Queen Anne structure, a hotel since 1899. The lobby’s latticed riot of plasterwork and sweeping Art Nouveau stairs is enough to make a tourist drop one’s baggage to rhapsodize about the London-ness of it all, but the history is just as rich: The premises were long used as a headquarters for British spy efforts—Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, worked here. Room sizes vary wildly, from puny to palatial, so you may need the guidance of a live person to get the right one, but they’re all quiet and well-appointed—not five-star but solidly four. Children are emphatically welcomed (family rooms are available), and there’s an agreeably pubby bar on premises; the Tube is on the same block and Westminster Abbey a 5-min. stroll east. The buffet breakfast is weak, but that can always be improved—precious Old World British vibrations such as these are to be protected and patronized.