Tell me where else in London you can find a five-star hotel complete with private mews and former royal stables converted into charming, countryside inspired suites with split-stable doors and stone fireplace. Nowhere, that’s correct. The Stafford London is totally unique in it’s surroundings, set within a quaint, cobbled courtyard yet only a moments walk from Piccadilly and Green Park. The American bar is a hit with the locals of St James with head mixologist Erik Rychnavsky serving up the fruitiest cocktails in town. Similarly, The Lyttelton restaurant has been casting culinary spells on British cuisine and firmly assuring it’s place back on the foodie map.
Is it totally inappropriate to be in love with a hotel? Because we are, and ever so much. The Stafford London is a delightful mix of styles, from it’s glamorous, art-deco inspired entrance thats a feast with bountiful holly leaves and lights at Christmas to the countryside inspired bedrooms that wouldn’t be out of place in that of a Cotswold country house. The main house is the epitome of victorian grandeur with it’s red brick exterior and British flag hanging proudly over the doorway as a nod to Lord and Lady Lyttelton who once called the magnificent building their home.
The American Bar at The Stafford is an old world, old money boy’s club that feels more like an exclusive clubhouse than a cocktail bar. It’s that super cool hangout you found, before everybody else found it too. The walls and ceilings are festooned with an eclectic mix of American baseball caps, knick-knacks, autographs and signed photographs from famed departing guests. The green vintage leather sofa’s are meticulously placed so there’s no chance of rubbing shoulders or eaves dropping on another’s conversation. Cocktails are fruity and divine, served with a fancy selection of olives, crisps and bombay mix – in fact the spitfire is our favourite cocktail in London, made with marmalade Chase vodka, champagne and passion fruit juice. Wow wee…..
We stay in a junior suite in the Mews, where access is with a key-card only and a concierge is seated in the foyer available for any requests you may have. The room is contemporary, yet familiar and homely. The enormous bathroom is complete with walk-in shower, bath and his and hers basins. The neutral colour palette of the hotel is unmistakable, however there is an impressive variety among the rooms – from the smooth contemporary edges of the Mews Suites to the classic chintz of the Carriage House. Our stomachs are rumbling on arrival so we reach for the room service menu, which ideally is the same menu as the American Bar.
The menu in the American Bar was recently updated and now features a whole section of American dishes to please their ever-growing American clientele, however we go for something more classic. Crab and chilli penne and a fish pie; both are delivered under silver lids and unveiled in front of us as we sit comfortable at the dining table in our room. Both are absolutely delicious and go down a treat; theres no stinging on the crab meat and the chilli gives it a welcome kick to an otherwise basic dish.
That evening we dine off the set menu at The Lyttelton restaurant. The set menu; a thought that made my heart sink. Set menu’s are notorious for being bland and boring – a way for five-star and Michelin starred chef’s to serve you the cheapest dishes on the menu and charge you a fortune. One look at the menu and a smile beamed from our faces. We start with beef carpaccio and leek & potato soup (with black pudding and truffle) and both are equally lovely. Onto the pork belly (served with celeriac fondant and apple puree) and catch of the day: plaice with a prawn and tomato sauce, potatoes and a spinach foam. The plaice is a highlight – 3 beautifully presented rolls of succulent fish, accompanied by a light, refreshing sauce. Finally we move onto pudding and the rhubarb panna cotta takes our fanciful eye – creamy and light in texture with pieces of rhubarb and a rhubarb ice cream to give that sharp kick to the dish. Accompanying wines are provided with each dish by master sommelier Gino Nardella who looks after the nearly 400 year old wine cellars in this wonderful building.
After a dreamy evening’s sleep we awake ready for a good old-fashioned English breakfast. Breakfast is served in The Lyttelton restaurant however we opted for an al fresco breakfast as the sun was shining. The breakfast menu possesses everything and anything you could want but we go for the English breakfast. Breakfast arrives in a very well-presented bento box – A+ for effort and aesthetics, C for practicality and ease of use. Unfortunately with all your ingredients of your breakfast in a separate compartment it makes it rather difficult if, like us, you like to eat your breakfast ingredients together not individually. As always, a five-star breakfast and one of the best in London if we could just rid those bento boxes. They belong at Nobu not for my breakfast.
The Stafford London will eternally be on our list of top London hotel’s and by far rivals some of the biggest hotel names in the business. Service is fantastic, food is delicious and the cocktails are even better! We’re looking forward to our next stay already.
The Stafford London
16-18 St James Place
London, SW1A 1NJ
Please call (+44) 207 493 0111 or email email@example.com