There are thousands of hotels in London, however, if you’re looking for a classy and luxurious base for exploring the city, the Stafford London is an excellent option. This quintessentially English hotel, set in a series of buildings dating back to the 17th century, offers guests historic charm with modern comforts, individually decorated rooms, an elegant central location and even a new restaurant focused on contemporary British dishes. I had the pleasure of discovering the Stafford and here are its delightful highlights.
Romantic Green Park lined with opulent palaces and mansions
A Posh & Central Base in London
Hidden on a narrow cul de sac in the heart of the historic and stylish St James’s district and with a secret access directly into romantic Green Park, the Stafford is within a short walk of a number of London’s most iconic landmarks all the while remaining a secret oasis of calm. In fact, just down the street is perhaps the city’s most famous residence: Buckingham Palace. The Stafford is one of the oldest hotels near the royal palace as well as Trafalgar Square and buzzing Piccadilly. It’s also nearby excellent shopping, including some of the oldest and finest shops in the city and if you need to hop on the tube, there’s a station right up the street.
380 Years of History
The hotel itself was established in 1912, but its history goes back much further. The buildings at #16-18 St. James’s Place were originally constructed in the 17th century as private residences when the area became a highly coveted area for British aristocratic residences. Number 17, was owned by Lord and Lady Lyttelton, daughter of the then Earl Spencer, the latter’s home being located next door. The house had a variety of reincarnations over the next century, and gradually became the Green’s Private Hotel and then the St. James’s Palace Hotel. The Stafford Club, originally located in number 18, was added in 1886, and in 1912 it was expanded to include the carriage house and mews and the current hotel took form.
Underneath the hotel is a hidden treasure… its 380-year-old wine cellars. During World War II when the hotel was a club for American and Canadian officers stationed in the city, the cellars were used as bomb shelters. They now contain an array of war time memorabilia in addition to an impressive collection of 8,000 bottles of prestigious wines, which guests of the hotel can ask reception to visit. This unique space can also be rented out for private wine tastings, dinners and other special occasions (more information on the cellar here).
Top: Ground floor lounges, bottom: New Carriage House suites, Main House suite, Mews suite
Stylish Luxury with Historic Touches
One of the elements that first attracted me to the Stafford were its individually decorated rooms evoking the character of the city, an important factor for my selection of unique romantic hotels. The style tends to vary depending on the section of the hotel. The Main House combines Victorian grandeur with modern comfort and its rooms feature more traditional decor, antiques and historic elements of the original building. The Carriage House, the former stables of the noble house and within the quiet courtyard, display an understated opulence and a more chic countryside allure. The Mews Suites and Penthouse, also in the courtyard, are decorated in a classic, contemporary style and the perfect home away from home in London.
Spacious, Luxurious Room & Suites
No matter which wing you are in, careful attention has been given to every last detail. All the rooms are beautifully appointed with bespoke furniture, top quality fabrics, tasteful artwork, marble bathrooms, and some have vast four poster beds and fireplaces. Those looking more charm might prefer the traditional decor of the Main House while those looking for more space and comfort may rather opt for the Mews, this is where I stayed. Its larger suites have a comfortable and bright lounge with a sitting area in front of a fireplace and flatscreen TV, a library nook and an office area. The soothing bedroom had relaxing pale green and egg shell hews, a supremely comfortable king-sized bed and a dressing room. The large bathroom was equipped with double sinks, a walk-in rain shower and a divine soaking tub.
The New Game Bird Restaurant (two top left, bottom dishes), The American Bar (top right, bottom center)
Fine Dining & Drinks
In March 2017 the hotel unveiled its new restaurant called The Game Bird. This occupies the space of the former main building’s restaurant which was completely refurbished to recreated the ambiance of a private members club, the walls decked out in artwork commissioned by contemporary British artists. This spirit is also the driving force behind chef James Durrant’s exciting new menu, focused on sophisticated, modern takes of traditional British cuisine. As one can gather from its name, the center piece of the menu is game, like the roast pigeon with onion purée and grilled hispi and turnips, nevertheless, the season menu will also include other dishes like refined fish and chips or steak and ale pie, vegetarian friendly asparagus and fried duck eggs as well as a variety of excellent smoked and cured fish.
You can either start or cap off your dinner with a drink at the hotel’s historic American Bar. One of London’s few remaining “American bars”, its walls are packed with a curious collection of knick-knacks, sports’ paraphernalia and signed celebrity photographs which have been donated by patrons and guests over the years. All of this creates a cozy environment to enjoy one of their refreshing speciality cocktails, glass of wine or choice of select beverages. They also serve a range of snacks and light meals all day long. In summer you can sip your drink outdoors at a table in the private cobbled courtyard. The perfect way to cap off a refined, relaxing and historically rich stay in the British capital.
Prices for a classic queen room start from 390£ and suites range from 710-1,350£, the latter price being for the expansive penthouse suite. The hotel often runs special offers, has a variety of half and full board options as well a “romance package” which includes full English breakfast, romantic turn-down and a bottle of champagne. See the Stafford London website here for further information or have a look at their Agoda page for special discounts during your stay. Note: the Game Bird and American Bar are open to non-guests.
I was a guest of the Stafford London, however, all of the opinions expressed above are my own.