A Gem in the Heart of LondonWords by Carolyn Steere
Photos courtesy of The Stafford London
When choosing a location for a romantic getaway or destination wedding in an iconic city like London, most couples want to immerse themselves in its culture, history and local vibe.
On our most recent visit to London we uncovered a very special place located in the heart of St. James, Mayfair that does just that.
The Stafford Hotel boasts a prestigious address that goes back to the 1700s. It has taken many forms from the private residence of the daughter of the Earl of Spenser to a WWII air raid shelter. It was also the home of a famous WWII secret agent Nancy Wake aka, The White Mouse who was considered the Gestapo’s most wanted person. In recognition for her contribution to the war effort the Stafford welcomed her into residence, and it is said that most mornings she could be found at the bar sipping gin and tonic. The Stafford has a most interesting past, but it is now a 5-star luxury hotel that oozes character and charm and delivers every creature comfort one could ask for.
The Stafford is comprised of three separate buildings, each with a unique flavor and style. The Main House can be described as Victorian grandeur, The Mews Suites have a more modern feel and The Carriage House still retains the charm of its roots as a stable for a British nobleman. All are set around a beautiful and tranquil courtyard, an oasis for the bustling city that surrounds it.
My favorite location for a small, chic intimate destination wedding would be a cocktail hour in the courtyard followed by a dinner in the fully operational wine cellar. This chic underground venue was used as a club for American and Canadian officers during WWII and houses a fascinating collection of memorabilia. There are also a number of other elegantly appointed rooms for small gatherings including rehearsal dinners and brunches. The Stafford is licensed for civil ceremonies and partnerships.
Modern British cuisine, including afternoon tea is served in the Game Bird, the restaurant in the Main House and the American Bar, also decorated with artifacts from the states is a congregating point for guests to share a drink or Mediterranean inspired dishes.
The location of the Stafford is hard to beat with its proximity to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and West End theaters. Check with the concierge for directions to is a little-known passageway that leads to Green Park with quick access to the underground stations.
The Stafford typifies unobtrusive elegance in the heart of this bustling, vibrant city and is truly a find on our search for places to unlock the door of romance.
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