The joy of London being such a rambling beast of a city is that there’s always something new to discover, as my latest outing in the Big Smoke proved.
On a nippy Sunday afternoon, I checked into The Stafford London, which is tucked away in the heart of Mayfair.
In much need of some rest and recuperation, my friend Mary Lou and I decided it was time for a girls’ night.
After a swift check-in at the dark wood panelled reception we were shown to our room by Ned, who told us the majority of the guests at the hotel tend to hail from America and Europe.
In total there are 107 rooms spread across the property, which opened as a hotel in 1912.
We stayed in a Mews Master Suite, complete with a separate living room, balcony, fireplaces and a giant king-sized bed.
The marble-clad bathroom fit the bill perfectly, with a roomy tub and a pot of bath salts waiting to be used. A nice selection of sweet-smelling Floris products topped things off.
After quickly unpacking, we left the hotel to explore the local area for a couple of hours before heading back for dinner at The Game Bird restaurant.
The Stafford London boasts a top location. It is down the road from Piccadilly Circus and Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy of Arts and St James’ Park are among the attractions within stumbling distance.
After sampling some of the local delicacies, we returned for a 6:30pm dinner.
Shown to a snug corner table by the bar complete with velvet seating, we tucked into the menu.
I hadn’t told the restaurant – which has a heavy meat theme – Mary Lou was vegan but they were happy to accommodate her and recommend variations on existing dishes.
While she opted for a medley of beetroot to start I went for a trio of oysters.
For mains, Mary Lou went with the recommendation of roasted butternut squash minus the blue cheese while I plumped for a large portion of celeriac cooked over coal with walnuts.
The presentation and flavours were on point – the oysters were especially plump – and we indulgently sampled snippets from each other’s plates.
To wash it all down, I swigged a pretty punchy vodka olive martini, while Mary Lou had a sweet, bubbly Spitfire cocktail infused with fresh passion fruit and champagne.
On the pudding front, I picked three cheeses from the cute cheese trolley and we also ordered a platter of fresh fruit, which was crunchy and sweet to taste.
Looking around the dining room, it had a nice buzz with low lighting and a mix of family and business interactions taking place.
We had somehow managed to spend almost three hours at dinner, feeling very comfortable in our little corner booth but the magic didn’t stop there.
If you pop by The Stafford London, be sure to ask for a tour of the wine cellar.
The basement dwelling dates back 350 years and it was even used as an air raid shelter during the war.
Today, while it remains cellar, it also serves as a quirky underground events space-cum-museum.
Feeling well fed on fine food and a spot of history we returned to our plush suite for the night.
While Mary Lou relaxed in the dreamily-soft bed I indulged in a face pack and a long soak in the large tub.
A fun perk was a little yellow rubber duck perched on the marble rim.
My alarm buzzed at 6:30am the next day and it was difficult getting out of bed.
However, the smell of croissants coming towards the front door on a breakfast tray helped rouse me from my slumberous state.
The Stafford London is an old-school spot that does things well without making a fuss about it. I left the place feeling warm and fuzzy inside, a little bit of Christmas come early.
We never got around to sampling the American Bar during our stay – the hotel’s other top attraction with hoards of U.S.A-themed relics hanging from the rafters… think ties, baseball flags and soccer garb.
So come one, come all, for a taste of traditionalism – just be sure to pack a star spangled sock or bra if you fancy making your mark on this hearty gem of a place.
The Stafford London is located at 16-18 St James’s Place
For more information visit thestaffordlondon.com or call +44 207 493 0111