Our monthly visit to London this time saw us unearthing the epitome of traditional British Luxury at The Stafford, London. Tucked away in the heart of historic St James’s and despite being one of the finest luxury hotels in London, the surroundings are so quiet it is reminiscence of being in the middle of the countryside it is so marvellously quiet and with its private cobbled courtyard you almost expect to see groomsmen harnessing the horses in the stables but no even the stables have been transformed into luxury, charming guest rooms.
It is evident as soon as you walk through the doors that this hotel is different, there are no stuffy doormen (they smile) or a receptionist who feels her make up may crack if she smiles, no this is a hotel where you are greeted by warm welcoming faces and you genuinely feel the staff are pleased to see you.
Our room was a Junior Mews Suite and as the name suggests was housed in the Mews building (opposite the Carriage Rooms) which was previously office blocks – There was nothing reminiscent of an office block as we made our way through the sleek modern lobby into the lift to be whisked to our suite.
The Suite was elegant, spacious and luxurious, overlooking the cobbled courtyard where if you chose to you could just sit and people watch all day – with stylish toiletries from Floris in the bathrooms a Nespresso coffee machine in the lounge area and for us that do have to do a little work when we’re away complimentary WiFi! Every attention to detail has-been carefully thought out and the mix of history and new blend together effortlessly.
And history is exactly what lies beneath The Stafford, London in its 380-year-old Wine Cellars. Built in the 12th Century by Lord Francis Godolphin, the cellars are a must-visit – Home to over 8,000 bottles of the finest wines including a 1982 Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild priced at £3450 (think we’ll stick to a glass of Pinot!) Master Sommelier, Gino Nardella, oversees the running of the wine cellars that have an amazing atmosphere, shut your eyes and you can imagine London in Victorian times happening above your head! The cellars can be used to host private events as well as wine tasting and special dining organised by the hotel.
But that isn’t it for the cellars, carry on to the far corner until you can go no further and the history just keeps coming, the cellars were used as an air raid shelter in World War II – discarded newspapers, gas masks, propaganda posters, sandbags, and helmets lay here having been virtually untouched since the 1940’s.
Following our history lesson, a cocktail in The American Bar seemed like a perfect idea – although there’s even more history here – An institution in its own right one of only two bars in the capital to retain a name that became famous during the 1930s as a means of attracting North American visitors, The American bar continues to do so long after World War Two has ended.Every bit of wall and ceiling space in this bar is taken up with an endless collection of signed photographs and memorabilia from friends, patrons and even a few famous faces. One of the most striking pieces of memorabilia is the ceiling full of hanging baseball caps.
Whether on your own or with friends boredom is not a word that would enter your vocabulary in this bar, there is just so much to see, after every sip of drink or gap in conversation you realise you notice something you hadn’t before – So a “Spitfire” and “White Mouse” cocktail accompanied with complimentary bar snacks of green olives, hand cooked crisps and Japanese crackers were the ideal accompaniment to just sitting back and drinking in the ambience of the bar.
An evening of culinary delights was awaiting us as we left the bar and made our way to the Lyttelton Restaurant, named after former residents of the Main House of The Stafford London, Lord and Lady Lyttelton, the restaurant provides an elegant dining experience and has been awarded Two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence. And we can see why.
Beef Carpaccio and Leek & Potato Soup were our starters the beef Carpaccio just melted in the mouth and the soup was a real treat on the taste buds.
I had already decided I was going to have the catch of the day before I even knew what it was and so it was an added bonus when I was told it was salmon (my favourite) and Pork Belly (Hubble’s choice) – both dishes were presented perfectly, and completely delicious.
Dessert was rhubarb and Madagascar vanilla panna cotta and white chocolate crème brulee with dark chocolate ice cream and milk chocolate espuma, both were light and divine leaving us just enough room to finish with tea and coffee and the indulgent sweet treats we were treated to.
Our plan was to return to the American Bar for another cocktail after we’d had coffee but we had spent so long savouring the atmosphere and food we decided to just retire for the night and enjoy the luxury of our suite.
After an uninterrupted blissful night’s sleep it was time to pay another visit to The Lyttelton, this time for breakfast, offering a selection of perfectly prepared breakfast options including cereals, pastries, yoghurts as well as made to order dishes off the breakfast menu, where I indulged in the scrambled egg, avocado and tomato on sourdough – all I can say is “will the chef come and prepare my breakfast every day?”
The Stafford, London is a 5 star hotel that most definitely has it all – superb service, fine food, creative cocktails, stylish suites and heaps of history, which will have us singing it’s praises time and time again – it truly is a ‘hhidden gem in the heart of London.’
Prices start from £287 per room in a Classic Queen Room in the Main House, from £589 per room in a Junior Mews Suite, and from £375 per room in a Carriage House Room
*Prices may vary to those quoted