Subdued yet elegant, The Stafford London is like many quiet people and places: full of surprises and hidden delights. Located in the historic St. James’s area, this is an excellent hotel for families who want to enjoy classic British charm with American flair as well as the feeling of a luxurious country estate in the heart of the city. Best of all, there are secrets to discover around every corner of its storied walls, as the building dates to the 17th century and has operated as a hotel since 1912.
One of the first surprises is the convenient yet hidden access to The Stafford. You can make a dash from St. James’s Street via a pretty arched entry, and you can cross the street and take an inconspicuous narrow passage to enter Green Park quickly and get to the tube. The park offers lots of space for little ones to roam free and explore.
Another surprise: the beautiful, cobbled mews courtyard just behind the main building, where the staff hosts American-style barbecues and cocktails during the warmer months. The courtyard is a great place for kids to stretch, though they need to be supervised as small delivery trucks sometimes enter the property at this point.
Rooms at The Stafford embody classic English elegance done with a light and graceful touch. The hotel’s unique configuration, with three distinct sections, gives families a lot of options when it comes to choosing the best setting for their individual needs. The Main House exudes grand Victorian elegance, while the Carriage House (once onsite stables for nobility) has been newly refurbished with modern English opulence and a countryside air. The Mews, with its contemporary yet classic décor in a secluded building, offers luxurious all-suite living with the peace and quiet that families will appreciate.
The Game Bird Restaurant offers up excellent British cuisine. Its free-range chicken Kiev, which comes with a leather bib to protect the diner’s clothes from the juices, is incredibly popular with kids, teens and adults alike. The Game Bird’s classic English breakfast is perfectly executed, and the staff does an excellent job accommodating food allergies or intolerances. The restaurant team is always at the ready with a newspaper and more tea or coffee.
When it comes time to unwind, enjoy a legendary cocktail in The American Bar just like the Queen Mum did for many, many years. Yes, the Stafford was her “local,” and she was known to enjoy a little tipple. You can order a QM and feel, or at least drink, like royalty. In keeping with the theme of small surprises, The Stafford’s specialty cocktails are all named after hidden gems and secrets of the St. James’s area.
TIP: Be sure to arrange for a tour of the wine cellar, which has been in use since the 17th century and functioned as an air raid shelter during WWII.
The Stafford takes guests’ comfort very seriously — it’s one of the areas where the staff shine. The legendary Frank Laino heads up a concierge team that is second to none in the City. There’s also a selection of board games for families to enjoy, and young guests will receive an adorable Stafford teddy bear on arrival. Little slippers and bathrobes are provided in the rooms; tubs include a sweet yellow rubber ducky to make bathtime fun. The staff can also arrange milkshakes, cookies and freshly cut fruit.
The concierge team really shines with their children’s activities: They’ve prepared an exhaustive document of family-friendly pursuits based on type, age, interest and more. And, of course, they are happy to assist with coordinating any of these wonderful experiences.
Editor’s Note: Jen was hosted by The Stafford London in order to review the property for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by The Stafford London.
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