THE STAFFORD HOTEL is a London treasure, for people who stay over, for locals who use it as ‘their local’ and for the staff. One management-type apologised to Girlahead because he has ‘only been here six years’ and he then spouted off names of colleagues and how many years they had been part of the team.
From the guest point of view, research results in just-right welcomes. As the photo above shows, a plate with Girlahead carefully painted on accompanied an extremely good, and generous, bottle of Ch Olivier 2015 GCC Pessac-Léognan. The book was taken, by the image stylist, from one of several shelves of marvellously polysyllabic books, English classics and more. This is a hotel that assumes guests are well educated.
These people also like tradition and fun. The American Bar’s walls are plastered in patrons’ photos and memorabilia while the ceiling is dense with hanging (cut-off) ends of neckties and (complete) caps, from every sports team imaginable. Out-of-towners join locals who seem to pop into the American Bar regularly. It was full on a balmy Summer’s night, and, too, all tables were taken outside, in a cobbled courtyard that is in fact a one-time mews.
The Stafford is C-shaped. The main building has two arms, the northerly one is a relatively new block while the other is the original block, going back to the late 19th century. It is known that in 1903 the ‘hotel’ was the London townhouse of Lord Lyttleton and his Lady, all part of the English heritage of The Stafford today. Its quintessential Englishness is also shown in the all-day restaurant, The Game Bird, which actually is a brilliant conversion of a corridor from the lobby through to the American Bar and the news courtyard. As you walk through, the restaurant is to the left, and just exposed enough. To your right is comfy seating that is used day-long for meetings and WFH, or as overflow for the restaurant.
But The Stafford is aware of the world outside England. The stylish breakfast buffet, minimal in size and maxi in quality, has Fermes des Peupliers yoghurt pots, and you can add a glass of Roederer 242 for £19 (but why on earth is the alternative, an English bubbly called Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs, £22?). But then why those English sports caps hanging in the ‘American’ Bar… idiosyncracies are part of style. That’s why.