Guest Contributor | December 14th, 2010
After checking into my suite at London’s luxuriously old school Stafford Hotel, I sit back – glass of Dom Perignon in hand – and casually flick open the writing compendium. There before my eyes are not just a few very tasteful postcards to send home and an equally well-designed brochure highlighting its charms, but a set of stationery, personalised stationery. It doesn’t just bear the hotel’s name, address and digits but my own name, quaintly accompanied by the phrase ”The Stafford – my residence whilst in London”. A set of business cards read the same. I’m in love!
It’s these beautiful touches – along with the likes of silk satin covered coat hangers and an unadorned “tradesmen’s entrance” - that keeps some of the world’s biggest names coming back for more, including the odd royal like groom-to-be Prince Wills, who was having a casual lunch in the courtyard outside my window. There’s no paparazzi camped outside a la The Mayfair nearby, and the in house bar, The American Bar, is gleefully kitsch and feels more like a gentleman’s club than a soulless temple to highly polished glass and steel. It also reportedly serves up the best Martini in town, so if you’re a fan of that most classic of cocktails then I recommend you get in there and get supping.
Tucked away in the heart of St. James’s, in St. James’s Place, The Stafford London by Kempinski really is one of London’s last remaining bastions of great British hospitality. As a hotel, it is comfortable in its own foundations, smiling discreetly in the face of ultra modern, pre-packaged ‘perfection’; and has a true sense of history that you don’t often find in large city hotels these days. The hotel comprises 105 rooms and suites, including the all-suite Stafford Mews development, which opened May 2007 and which is where I lay my head. This is definitely my pick for the best spot in the house – it’s quiet, airy and incredibly private – a rarity in dear old bustling London town.
An elegant fine dining-style English restaurant, charming drawing room and private dining rooms(including one in the historic wine cellar) complete the picture… all within strolling distance of some of the city’s most famous landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and Green Park. It’s also dangerously close to Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and Regent Street. Think major credit card damage, and then some – but that’s another story!
The Stafford radiates a unique air of Englishness and old school charm in an increasingly international locale, and I for one am proud to now call it my London “home away from home”. Even my business card says so…
The Stafford, 16 - 18 St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NJ, England. + 20 7493 0111; http://www.kempinski.com/en/london/Pages/Welcome.aspx