You just wouldn’t think you were in central London. Tucked away right by St. James’s Palace this is truly a hidden gem. Peace and quiet are such a luxury amid the bustle of London these days and this was perfect for a chance to unwind and get a proper night’s sleep. Close to iconic Bond Street, Jermyn Street and Piccadilly and right by all the Gentlemen’s shops like Lock + Co. the hatters and Berry Bros. the vintners is this intimate and boutique Georgian-style townhouse hotel. Beneath a pair of the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack flags that adorn the smart red-brick exterior is a top-hatted doorman heralding me into this former home of 19th-century nobility which still possesses a sense of grandeur and history.
Americans love this hotel for both its position and its quintessentially English charm. Portraits of the late Queen present themselves and its where American and Canadian troops were stationed during World War II. Inside it’s a perfect demonstration of how to convert a former residence into a modern, five-star hotel. Inviting and homely, there’s a plethora of rooms for hire, for relaxation and for communing. It’s refreshingly unpredictable. Within the solid interior with its Classical design suggesting orderly and traditional refinement with its wood-paneled lobby the stylish decor gives it a contemporary twist.
The Stafford London is a fusion of four parts: there’s the Main House (where the reception and The Game Bird restaurant are), The Gatehouse (comprising elegant and opulent rooms), the Mews Suites (offering the privacy, security and independence of a private residence and accessible via an exclusive separate lobby), and the Carriage House (comprising former stables framed by a black balustrade and wrought-iron lamps on the walls and converted into elegant suites named after famous racehorses).
In contrast to the common rooms with their ‘sea-blue’ light the 106 guest rooms (with a starting price of £395 a night) are darker: the place to sleep after all with deeper, richer colors, with rosewood and plush fabrics and lovely paneling. Some rooms offer impressive four-poster beds and lush pelmets; others have their huge beds framed by vast curved headboards. Spacious and snug with everything taken care of. As for the marble bathrooms they come with deep tubs, Penhaligon amenities, warm toto loos and heated floors. Super cozy and nurturing.
Beneath the white plaster cornice and coffered ceilings of the main drawing room are two welcomingly warm fireplaces at each end creating the heart of the hotel. Divided from this room by a magnificent display of flowers is The Game Bird restaurant offering, as its name suggests, a range of game options, such as pigeon pie, quail and venison. From its confidently small menu I chose English onion soup followed by Chicken Kiev (from its ‘Hoof, Feather and Field’ section) which rather amusingly came with a leather bib resembling a breast plate. All enjoyed with a rich and fruity glass of 2018 Château de Chantegrive, Graves.
Super fresh from a recent repaint, the pale variant of duck egg blue gives it a depth that’s offset by tub chairs in blue velvet and floral backs: a feminine partner to the somewhat masculine surroundings. The attention to detail is everywhere and there are the nooks and crannies in which to dine on the grey, velvet banquettes and off the marble tables.
To compliment the stylish Art Deco Champagne bar is The American Bar opening out onto its own private cobbled courtyard. The ceiling is crammed with hanging memorabilia left by many patrons visiting over the years. Here I found club ties and teddy bears, model aircrafts and baseball caps. AS talking point and a museum of curiosities. There are also signed celebrity photographs donated by guests that include Lady Thatcher and Michael Caine. And then there’s The Stafford Wine Cellar, a 17th century section used as an air raid shelter during WWII, complete with old newspapers and authentic posters preserved by the hotel, and now home to over 8,000 bottles of the finest wines. There’s even a now-closed warren of underground corridors that would reportedly have taken you to St. James’s Palace. A world of stately home luxury without the faded grandeur.