Style & character:
The Stafford, open since 1912, has masterfully avoided that sense of faded grandeur that can befall grande dame hotels – partly by employing Rosendale Design, who is responsible for the interiors of a slew of London’s hippest restaurants, to update its common spaces.
Walkthrough the classic wood-paneled lobby and you’ll reach the Game Bird restaurant, which is the heart of the hotel. Grey velvet banquettes, floral upholstered chairs, and marble tables are set around a stylish Art Deco bar and space feels plush but relaxed. Carry on and you’ll see the American Bar on your right with its low-lighting and memorabilia hanging from the ceiling (think striped ties and toy airplanes), left by United States visitors since the 1930s. Outside is the cobbled mews, where there is a scattering of tables and parasols (this would be a good spot for a drink on a summer’s evening) and stairs which lead up to rooms in the old stables, framed by a black balustrade and wrought-iron lamps mounted on the walls.
Service & facilities:
Food & drink:
The Game Bird is the heart of The Stafford in more ways than one and is a must-visit if staying at the hotel. The enticing menu and expert cooking champion British food, putting an indulgent spin on classic dishes. Start with a round of Porthilly oysters (£4 each) and enjoy the theatre of smoked salmon carved from the trolley with carefully spooned accouterments including capers and horseradish crème Fraiche (£19). For mains, try the refined take on a chicken Kyiv, which comes with pomme purée and a bib in case of spurting truffle butter (£29). As the name suggests, there are also regularly changing game options, such as roast pigeon, venison loin or mallard. On Sundays, don’t miss the excellent roast rib of beef, with all the trimmings. Afternoon tea is available daily from 12 pm to a leisurely at 7 pm.
Breakfast also served in The Game Bird, which is a familiar luxury hotel fare, though it is executed very well. Help yourself to a selection of high-quality meats and cheeses, fresh fruit and pastries before tucking into à la carte options such as a full English (and it is full – complete with hash brown, black pudding, and baked beans) or smoked haddock and poached eggs.
The American Bar is one of the West End’s best spots for an elegant cocktail. Choose from a menu inspired by St James’s area – highlights include The Birdcage, with rum, pistachio syrup and lime (£20). Bring a crowd and try the espresso martini siphon (£100) which serves eight perfect cocktails, complete with foam, from a specially modified bottle.