Not usually one to use such clichés but The Stafford London really is a hidden gem.
Originally built in 1912 and located in one of the quieter streets in St James, this 5-star hotel (a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts) close to Buckingham Palace has something very magical about it. It could well be the 380-year-old working wine cellars and underground corridors to St. James’s Palace, the beautiful period interiors and stunning artwork but it is something much more than that.
We arrive at The Stafford London in a Ferrari Portofino, not out of place at all in Mayfair but still quite a head turner. This drop-top car, named one of Italy’s most beautiful towns arrived in deep rich mirrored red colour with sharp lines that really excited passers by of all ages. A twin-turbo 3.9-litre V-8 engine roars and purrs, taking just 3.4 seconds to reach 60mph.
This coupé also has four seats, decent boot space and is super comfortable. The highlight was when I flicked a button and the top came down in a mere 14 seconds. I mainly stuck to the automatic gears but it can also be driven in manual for a more hands on experience and also the gears changed down automatically. This is a racing care first and foremost but also belongs on the road to drive every day with clever little features like having the flexibility to keep the engine on or turn it off when in traffic.
There isn’t much that is entry level about this machine and every detail has been thought of from the leather finish, heated seats with lumbar support, feather light steering, intuitive infotainment, powerful aircon/heating and more. We are excited about the Ferrari Portofino M, which will have new technical and design features, most notably an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a five-position Manettino dial, a first for a Ferrari GT convertible.
The first thing I notice when I step through the beautifully decorated lobby at The Stafford London is just how welcoming and authentic the team are. The attention to detail is above and beyond and after being whisked through the eccentric American Bar where many are sat looking very serene sipping on Negroni and perusing the incredible selection of signed celebrity photographs, we come to a bustling private courtyard. Guests are clearly enjoying themselves. Large heaters are keeping them snug, twinkling fairy lights eliminating their tables, champagne is being knocked back and the sound of laughter brings a sense of joy to everyone walking through.
Rooms are spread out over three buildings at The Stafford London: the Main House, the Carriage House and the Mews. The main building options are slightly smaller than the others and the most traditional, decorated in rich tone. In the Carriage House (the old stables), rooms feel like they belong in a country house hotel, with soft muted colours and large beds framed by supersized curved headboards.
Our stay was booked in the Master Mews Suite, stylishly designed with contemporary finishes and subtle nods to the history of the building. I instantly felt like I had stepped into Charlotte’s apartment in Sex and the City. My partner instantly becoming a wealthy, upper-east side sophisticated gentleman and my tote bag and scuffed Converse transforming into a Hermes and Louboutins.
The suite offered unrivalled luxury, with a generously sized bedroom with an all-marble en-suite bathroom, enormous and perfectly plush bed, separate living areas, fireplaces and views of the private courtyard.
Robes on, champagne popped, we decided having this much square footage to ourselves in London for the night without noisy neighbours, car horns and naughty hounds meant we weren’t leaving this suite and that is exactly what happened for the next 24 hours. Room service was called and gigantic baths were run. This suite felt like paradise for the night.
The American Bar
We did pop back another day to experience The American Bar and the renowned Game Bird restaurant. Now one of my favourite bars in London, the cocktail list at The American Bar is lengthy and full of original creations. We tried a Beluga vodka martini flight with three kinds of vodka. The martinis were brilliantly prepared in three mini chilled martini glasses, each with a different garnish.
The glassware is especially impressive and a must order is a Lady Liberty served in a glass in the shape of (you guessed it) the Statue of Liberty and adorned with a precisely cut ice cube. The ingredients of Hendrick’s gin, Cointreau, St. Germain, green Chartreuse and lime reveal a clear liquid that is extremely balanced despite the sweeter ingredients.
The Game Bird
The food at The Game Bird was exceptional. The dishes really champion British food while still keeping in line with the indulgent feel of the hotel. We eagerly tucked into steak and ale suet pudding, dover sole and parmesan fries. Game features throughout but there are plenty of other options also available with a delicate soufflé to finish. Any restaurant that serves a soufflé are extremely dedicated to what they do.
Time to say farewell
After a morning coffee in the courtyard, we made our way to breakfast in The Game Bird restaurant where fluffy waffles, eggs, fresh avocados and strong coffee were on offer. A brilliant send off.
With Thanksgiving now ticked off the list and Christmas 2020 around the corner, a stunningly constructed 10-foot tree will be erected along with extravagant decorations, mulled wine and other festive edibles.
Full of surprises (a World War II museum hidden away in the wine cellar!), an unrivalled history and exceptional attention to detail, The Stafford is very, very high on my ‘take me back immediately’ in a Ferrari wish list.
To discover more about The Stafford London, visit: thestaffordlondon.com
To discover more the Ferrari Portofino, visit: ferrari.com
All imagery courtesy of The Stafford and Ferrari.
View this post on Instagram