More about The Stafford Hotel
A walk around St James’s
The St James’s area of London is bounded by Piccadilly to the north, St James’s Park to the south, Regent Street to the east and Green Park to the west. It was first developed in the late 17th century and from then until the Second World War was one of the most exclusive addresses in the city. Nowadays you are more likely to find prestigious offices here than private homes, though there are still some of the latter for those who can afford the sky-high prices.
The area was at its most fashionable during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when many Gentlemen’s Clubs were established here. These were the exclusive haunt of men from the higher echelons of society who would meet to gamble, drink and talk in freedom, uninhibited by female company (women were, and in some cases still are, barred). There’s a comprehensive list of London’s Gentlemen’s Clubs in Wikipedia if you’re interested in that unique aspect of the city’s history.
The most important person in fashionable London at that time was “Beau” (real name George) Brummel, whose statue stands on Jermyn Street in the heart of St James’s (photo 2). He was born into a wealthy family in 1778 and developed an elegant understated manner of dress that was very influential among the fashionable men of his day. He set a trend for fastidious personal care and grooming, and is credited with introducing and establishing as fashion the modern man's suit, worn with a tie, although in his day the tie was an elaborately knotted cravat.
Today you can still see many of the buildings that Beau Brummel would have known and the clubs he and his cronies frequented. It helps to have a guidebook though, as those that no longer operate aren’t always marked. We used Andrew Duncan’s Secret London, a gift from Trekki. And while walking around, be sure to explore the various small alleyways, as these often lead to a pretty courtyard. Perhaps the prettiest of all is Blue Ball Yard (main photo), an 18th century stable yard that now acts as an extension of the Stafford Hotel and has an attractive (but probably pricey) restaurant. Look for this about halfway along St James’s Street on its western side. Pickering Place, off the east side of St James’s Street, is also very quaint, though much smaller.
This is also a great area if you like to take photos of small architectural details – you should spot old (but still functioning) gas lamps (photo 3), door knockers (photo 4) and more. And for anyone interested in Britain’s Royal Family, Spencer House at the end of St James’s Place (off St James’s Street) is a must see – this is the former town house of the late Princess Diana’s family (photo 5 shows the view of the house from Green Park).
Finally, you might like to take some money with you. The shops round here are mostly very stylish and very expensive. If you want an affordable, if temporary, memento of your visit I recommend the wonderful cheese shop on the south side of Jermyn Street – not cheap, but the products are of excellent quality. A pot of Stilton would make a lovely souvenir of your visit to England.
Just got back from London and loved the Stafford Hotel. Rate was reasonable (for London) and included dinner 1 night at their restaurant (excellent) and breakfast everyday. They had a room for us
first ting in the morning eventhough check-in was not until the afternoon. Service was incredible. They were very helpful and knew who we were after the first day. Every dinner suggestion was wonderful.
I loved the location (St. James) I had stayed near Holborn my previous trips, and this was far more convenient for tourist spots, fine dining and the theater.
While there was construction going on in the Mews, we could not notice it from our room. The only problem (and a minor one at that) was a small shower. However, this minor inconvenience was overwhelmed
by the other hotel amenities. My favorites were the free bottles of water (two, replaced every day at no cost, free internet access downstairs, and two 110 volt outlets). I would definitely stay there again.
Traditional luxury in a stellar location
The Stafford Hotel occupies a prime London location. Only a short walk to St. James's Palace and Green Park, this hotel is situated in arguably the top neighborhood in the city. But the Stafford doesn't sacrifice peace and quiet for its central location. The hotel is tucked into the warren of historic side streets and courtyards of St. James's, making it almost unbelievable that busy Piccadilly is just a block or so north. The front of the hotel is on a short dead-end street; the rear of the hotel is essentially a courtyard (Blue Ball Court).
In the midst of genteel clubs and upper-crust establishments of St. James's, the Stafford is a traditional and historic older hotel, furnished and maintained to a high standard. With only 81 rooms, the Stafford focuses on an individualized service for its guests.
Standard rooms are moderately-sized--a bit small by U.S. standards, but generous for London hotels. Ours included a small entryway with a countertop/cabinet housing a safe and a mini refrigerator. The fridge was ours to use with (thankfully) no minibar in sight. A bottle of house wine, fruit, and bottled water was included at the start of our visit.
The room was well furnished and included a firm king-size bed. Typical for British hotels, the "king" consisted of joined smaller mattresses, but with almost no discernable gap or bump...very comfortable. Heavy curtains and double windows insulated us against any street noise--and there was almost none due to the hotel's location.
The individually controlled central airconditioning/heating system was excellent and blessedly quiet. A marble bathroom included a large tub, vanity, and separate phone booth-sized shower stall. Water pressure was adequate--perhaps a bit too adequate in the shower. Towels were large and plentiful, and washcloths were provided. The hotel furnished soap and shampoo, but surprisingly, no other amenities other than shower caps (and who uses them anymore?).
The room's television featured a limited selection of channels, with no movies or other entertainment options. This is a relatively minor issue for those visiting one of the most interesting cities in the world, but even the most ambitious tourist needs time to "zone out" watching TV at times. They won't find much to watch on the Stafford's limited video system.
These comments apply to the standard double room; the hotel's carriage house rooms and suites offer a different experience for a price premium. London hotel accommodations are not known for many bargains and the Stafford's location and quality do come with a sizeable pricetag.
The Stafford is a historic building, actually a series of converted buildings, including three former townhouses and a stable/mews. As an older building, even one furnished and maintained to a luxury standard, noise from creaky floors was a minor annoyance in our main building room. Surprisingly, plumbing noise was less noticeable.
No doubt there are exceptions, but the clientele of the hotel seems to be a quiet, sophisticated group of travelers. This lends to the ambiance of the hotel and means few worries about one of our hotel pet peeves--the obnoxious and noisy fellow guest.
The atmosphere at the Stafford is further enhanced by a dedication to providing excellent, efficient service. We experienced a high level of service from the front desk, office/cashier, and bar staff. The concierge staff were the most helpful we've seen anywhere.
As a smaller hotel, the Stafford does not offer all the onsite facilities that a large, 5-star property might. But they do very well. Need business services, like a computer or a mobile phone? No problem, the hotel will loan guests a laptop computer and arrange for use of a phone. The hotel features a naturally upscale dining room, lounge, and a famous bar. The diminutive American Bar is like a private pub...a very nice private pub, filled with an amazing collection of memorabilia. The small bar can be smoky, like most bars and pubs in London, although odds are as good that no smokers will be present, given the small size of the bar.
Guests should ask to tour the Stafford's vaulted brick wine cellars. Private diners are held here (which must be fantastic), but even a quick tour is fascinating. The cellars include a collection of memorabilia from the Second World War, when the hotel was used as a billet for Allied Officers, and the cellars doubled as bomb shelters.
Stafford, excellent in every way!
One of the nicest hotels I have stayed at, anywhere. Rented 2 adjoining rooms for my wife/I and our 2 college-aged daughters. Great location, helpful staff, and absolutely quiet rooms. We travel quite a lot, and found this hotel to be 'top rate' in every aspect.
Not what I expected
After reading various internet reviews and an Andrew Harper's review, I decided on the Stafford in London. Unfortunately, it was not at all what I had expected. Instead of cozy English charm, I found tired, dreary rooms with tiny bathrooms. The service (which had been spoken of highly in several reviews) was mediocre at best. They were not in the least bit friendly or accomadating other than one concierge that we had some contact with, Peter.
I feel that I saw a fairly good sampling of the rooms since we had 2 junior suites and a double room. None of these rooms fell even close to the quality of what is described in the literature as a five-star hotel. The prices for the accomadations ($950 per night for the suites and about $650 per night for the room) was absurd given their suboptimal quality. After two nights, we moved to a much, much nicer property ( The Athaneum Hotel and Apartments). I strongly recommend the Athaneum.
I would not stay at the Stafford again in those particular rooms although they may have rooms that are larger, better kept and more attractively decorated. I did not see any of those.
The only positive aspect that our family saw about the Stafford was its excellent location in St. James close to many sites and the upscale shopping that we had specifically come for on Bond Street, Jermyn Street etc. Otherwise, what a dissapointment the Stafford was!
Charming hotel, great service
At least, I guest that's what they will call it. Decor is a bit dated, no flatscreen televisions, the grouting in the bathroom just three days past the point where it should have been re-done etc. Not the most comfortable beds I've ever stayed in, just make this hotel a little dated. Nothing that can't be fixed with a little investment.
The basics are certainly there though.
The location (although that always depends on your needs and as long as you're in the centre of london...)
The staff is wonderfull in it's service. friendly and attentative. They do remember you and have the prescence of mind to pickup the conversation where you left it the last time yo've spoken to them. And the (I believe belgian?) girl beind the reception just makes your day.
Food is great, and it is certainly nice to see this hotel is being noticed by some people you might not walk into on the street.
Despite the little imperfections, I will definetely stay there again. I believe this is called charming.
Great hotel in a fabulous location. Can see why is it rated as one of the best in London. We arrived very early in the morning and our room was not ready. We were given another room in the mean time to rest in whilst we waited for our room to be prepared. The staff were excellent. Very quiet area and close to Green Park Underground Station, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Trafalga Square. The room was average size and the facilities were nice.
Country house elegance
My first stay at this wonderful hotel, an all too brief stay of 2 nights (if only it could have been longer !). An excellent central location in a lovely secluded street near St James Palace, and near to my library, and to excellent shopping.
This hotel is so quaint with staff who go the extra mile to provide that rare commodity known as "service". A great restaurant, nice lounge, and a wonderful bar at the back of the hotel. I didn't quite meet the evening dress code for the bar but the barman told me in the most delightful manner possible; he did not make feel awkward (as some hotel bars might have done) and I was pleased to correct the situation in just a few moments.
Good "front-of-house" staff who are welcoming without exception, and knowledgeable about London.
My room was a tad small but nicely decorated. Bed was a little soft for my liking.
I will definitely return when I need to stay in Central London.
The Best Hotel in London
My family has been staying here for over 15 years. To me, it is the best hotel in London. The location is great (with its own private access to Green Park), the staff all that you could ask for (they take time to know everyone's name and what their preferences are), the rooms are wonderful (I prefer the Carriage House annex to the main buliding).
Some may decry the lack of amenities (there is no gym, pool, etc), but that's fine with me. This is a hotel with charm and class.
Is it expensive? Absolutely!!! Is it worth it? Yes (especially if you do not have to pay)
The Stafford is Not a Luxury Hotel
The Stafford is undergoing major reconstruction at the moment. I stayed in the carriage house section of the property, which is supposed to be the finest room that the hotel has to offer. It was not that nice (small, smell of mildew, lumpy carpets, not enough hot water for two people to shower consecutively). Even without the construction problem, I would not consider this a true luxury hotel. The best thing that can be said about the hotel is that the staff are friendly, but the property itself is below-par. I would not stay at this hotel again.
The Royal George bar tenders
My photo of the horse guards in 1976
London Sept 11, 2009
World Nomads Travel Insurance
I posted this yesterday on the Europe forum but quickly was surpassed by many other postings.
Does anybody have any comments, reviews, experiences, etc. regardinb World Nomads travel insurance?
I found their policy quite attractive and would like some experienced and unbiased comments.
Re: World Nomads Travel Insurance
I don't know about the particular travel insurance you posted. To be able to evaluate, they should send you the booklet (usually a pdf downloadable file) - with all the small print. If you have any questions, then you can ask specifically via email (in most cases) - however, an email response unless properly authenticared usually does not hold up in court.
Personally, I have used Travelex, but I only get their health insurance. For instance, I have family issues which require that I stay at home if a hurricane is coming: they only insure you if your house has been destroyed by a hurricane, but you can't cancel because one is on the way, even if a day away.
As far as travel protection with missed connections - a flight has to be *at least* five hours late to count. So if you miss a connection because your first segment was 4-1/2 hours late, out of luck. This is all in the small print.
Yes, they insure for natural disasters (hurricanes) - and trip interruptions, but only under their very detailed terms.
Re: World Nomads Travel Insurance
Try www.insuremytrip.com. It will display options from many, many companies and is interative so you can see the fine print for each policy. You can compare the policy you mentioned against other policies offering similar coverage.