10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
So glad we chose The Stafford
"First-ever trip to London this past summer. Originally had other hotels on my radar screen but TA forums led me to The Stafford, for which I am grateful.
We (family of four; two college-aged sons) spent five days in a suite and a room in the main building and another five in a suite and a room in the Mews. The main building is more traditionally English; the Mews more modern and felt a bit more spacious. We enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of gentlefolk in the courtyard below sitting at the famed American Bar's outside tables.
In the states we'll generally choose a Four Seasons, or a Westin or Hyatt depending upon what's available. I was initially wary of staying in a smaller, non-chain hotel but quickly came to appreciate the benefits of The Stafford. The custom is to leave room keys (yes, actual keys!) at the desk when going out, which means there is a fair amount of contact with staff. Everyone - porters, concierge, business office personnel - was unfailingly friendly, professional and helpful.
Continental breakfast was included with our room cost. We expected a hard roll and coffee, but instead enjoyed beginning each day in the hotel's lovely dining room, where breakfast (French press coffee, generous baskets of bakery items, divine marmalade and much more) were served on tables with crisp white tablecloths by impeccably professional and unobtrusive wait staff.
Loved the St. James location. We walked everywhere from the hotel - close to Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Green and St. James parks, not too far from Covent Garden. We could walk to a number of restaurants (The Wolesley, Chor Bizarre Indian and Cecconis for Italian being among our favorites).
Took a walk one evening over to The Dorchester and saw The Inter-Continental and Four Seasons -- after a quick overview we were so glad we'd made the choice to stay at The Stafford. While the common areas of these other hotels seemed lovely, they felt more "generic" and, at least the evening we were there, felt more Middle Eastern than British. They are clustered in an area with very busy streets and lots of traffic, and we were so happy to return to the Stafford with its oh-so-English window boxes spilling over with red geraniums, and tucked well away from even from the genteel sounds of St. James Street.
The Stafford apparently has a tradition of attracting American visitors that I believe dates back to WWII when US military officers stationed in London were fond of The Stafford's (hence, "American") Bar. Scores of model airplanes hang from the ceiling of the bar (jackets required for men, there, by the way) and lots of fascinating photographs line the walls. There are also a number of portraits of the Queen Mother around the hotel; we were told that she was an admirer of The Stafford's impressive wine cellar.
The concierge staff was helpful and effective, especially Frank Laino, who is touted as "the world's best concierge". He is clearly deserving of his title.
The only negative of our stay was a misunderstanding in regard to our arrival. Since we came into Heathrow early in the morning, we arrived at the hotel around 9:30 and asked if our rooms were available for early check-in. They were, and we were grateful to be able to get settled. We thought this was a lovely courtesy and were thus surprised when we were charged for an extra night upon check-out. The issue was quickly and kindly resolved, but I do recommend that guests at this (or any) hotel clarify exactly what the terms of early check-in are.
Other than that, I have struggled to come up with a negative, but alas, the only thing I can think of is that there were no cotton balls or q-tips in the bath. Bring your own, and stay at The Stafford. You will not be disappointed."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of September 2008
the best hotel
"This is my favorite hotel in the world, (so far!). It actually feels like I'm staying at my own very posh house in London, full of my loyal and friendly staff, who are happy that I'm finally back. The only place that's more centrally located is Buckingham palace, which is basically next door. It's thoroughly English, down to the giant brass keys that they give you. Everything is perfect, but nothing is modern. i wish i could live at the Stafford."
- Travel date: Sun 31st of August 2008
A Superb Hotel
"We stayed three nights at the Stafford hotel and could not have been more pleased. The service was outstanding, the food at all times of the day was delicious, and the accommodations were top notch. The hotel is located in a great neighborhood, within walking distance of Piccadilly Circus and a variety of shops and restaurants. The staff was helpful with all of our questions and went out of their way to make us feel at home. The price is expensive, especially when you take into account the exchange rate against the U.S. Dollar, but we highly recommend it."
- Travel date: Tue 15th of July 2008
Nice old-world hotel
"The Stafford is a good, traditional hotel but it fails to really impress in the way it could if the property were polished up just a little bit. The hotel is in a beautiful old building with a great location in the middle of St James. It is very tranditional and very English. There was nothing wrong with my room but it was absolutely miniscule and I'm used to smallish European hotel rooms. There is no way two people could have shared this room comfortable. My only real gripe about it, however, has to do with cleanliness. First of all, nothing seemd terrible clean to me to start with. Then, I found crumbs from a previous guest all over the desk chair (orange ones, so no one had even checked it or they would have seen them). Then there were the pretzel pieces under the chair/table that weren't cleaned up even after pointing them out to housekeeping. Clearly, no one is paying attention to cleaning here - and these are 'deep cleaning' things but very basic ones. The room service menu also leaves a lot to be desired but that is the case with many hotels."
- Travel date: Thu 24th of April 2008
I'd like to keep the Stafford my secret it's that good
"My family of 4 stayed at The Stafford 2 separate times on our trip and my son and I returned on the last leg of our Europe jaunt because we enjoyed it so much.
Because we were staying in London for only 4 days, I found that an apartment wasn't an option. Most require a week stay at least. Booking two separate hotel rooms for my husband, me and our 2 adult sons was an expensive option, until I found The Stafford. They have family suites which are basically two suites connected via a common hallway. The outer door to the hallway can be closed and the two suite doors left open. The Stafford's family suite rate was less expensive than if I booked two separate suites at another comparable hotel, even though that was exactly what we were getting. Plus, let me just say that the suites were amazing! The rooms were spotless, quiet, sunny and fresh. Each had supreme appointments, right down to the heated marble floors in the bathrooms, full shower, separate tub, 2 sinks. The tub even came with its own 2 rubber duckies. Every detail was considered in making these suites homelike. They have thought of everything. Besides the fabulous ensuite baths, each suite also had a sitting area with a large plasma TV which my sons enjoyed, as well as a desk area and a separate ladies vanity area. It truly was spectacular for the price. In addition, the hotel had a quaint parlor room where you could take tea, dessert or drinks, as well as a bar and gourmet restaurant. We were welcomed at the hotel like old friends each time we returned.
The location of the hotel was also good. Close to Picadilly Circus, the Picadilly and Green Park tube stops, Green Park, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, along with plenty of shops and restaurants in the area.
I've stayed at other luxury level hotels and this one beat them all hands down. I would recommend this hotel highly and look forward to hopefully returning sometime soon."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of March 2008
"The last few trips to London, we've stayed in larger hotels, but our travel agent suggested the Stafford. The hotel is very well situated, right near Piccadilly Circus and St James Park , yet located on a quiet side street so that there was no noise once inside.
The rooms had a feel of a well decorated London flat more than a hotel and the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Service here is some of the best I've experienced.
We will definitely stay here on our next visit, and would recommend the Stafford for couples or families w/ kids."
- Travel date: Mon 25th of February 2008
Excellent in every way
"We spent one glorious week in London at the Stafford with our 3 yr old daughter in July. Not only did we have great weather, the wonderful staff at the Stafford really made us feel at home.
The concierge at the Stafford is the definition of proactive.
Before we arrived, I received an email with info about road closures because of the Tour de France-- very helpful since we were driving into London. I'd also bought tickets to a show that we didn't want. In addition to getting us prime tickets for the Sound of Music, the concierge also offered to sell our original tickets (no takers). And they hustled to get a last minute babysitter for us during an especially busy weekend in London.
So it goes without saying that they can get any restaurant reservation in town-- including the Ivy!
Our 1 bdrm suite in the Mews was done in shades of blue and chocolate, and felt like a chicly decorated apartment rather than a hotel room. We had a foyer with ample room to park the stroller and a powder room. The living room had a mini fridge, an Ipod docking station, and a desk with Wifi access. I even had personalized namecards! Our bed was very comfortable, and we had plenty of closet space and hangers.
We didn't eat in the formal restaurant, but had drinks and dessert in the American bar (cozy but my husband had to wear a jacket). Food from room service, esp the fish and chips, was excellent. We did encounter some minor snafus with room service and a surly waiter, but management was very responsive and cleared things up quickly.
The location is ideal-- the Stafford may be secreted down a small alley, but it's just steps away from the commercial hustle and bustle. It's an easy walk to Old Bond Street, Piccadilly, Green Park, the Tube, etc. Great restaurants are also nearby (we loved the steak tartare and people-watching at the Wolseley)
We loved The Stafford and definitely plan to return."
- Travel date: Thu 20th of September 2007
"I stayed just one night on a whirlwind work trip, but have to agree with the positive reviews. The staff were very helpful, the room service for breakfast both days was super-fast, the location is amazing - you can run right out the front door into Green Park and then Hyde Park. I also had dinner (the fish and chips!) in the American Bar, and it was yum. I had the basic room and it was quite tiny (as I said, a work trip!), but still very nice with a Bose stereo, small plasma tv etc. I also took a pass down to the gym at Piccadilly to do a spin class, and that worked well.
While we all know that phone calls from a hotel room are expensive, I was blown away at the cost of my call to home - 15 minutes was 68 pounds, being over $150 Australian dollars! So be warned on that one."
- Travel date: Mon 17th of September 2007
Lovely Hotel, Amazing Location
"We stayed at The Stafford from 6/30-7/7/07 with our two children, ages 5 and 9, in a double deluxe room (for the grownups) interconnecting with a double room (for the children) in the Mews. Overall, we were extremely pleased. Our (interconnected) rooms felt more like a small, luxurious apartment than a "hotel" room -- we loved the amenities, such as a half bathroom in our foyer, large closets, "warm" marble bathroom floors, flat screen tvs, DVD players, IPOD docking stations, etc. The deluxe double has a lovely sitting area with its own flat screen tv. And while there weren't any special "children's amenities," the staff thrilled our kids by bringing them an IPOD for their docking station and provided us with bread to feed the ducks in St. James Park. My husband regularly used the new fitness center in the Mews and was quite pleased with it (he did not feel the need to use the deluxe health club located near Piccadilly that the hotel offers to guests). The location is outstanding. The Green Park Tube is steps away. It's an easy walk to Piccadilly, St. James Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, etc. Our kids were excited to see the guards outside St. James Palace, and witnessed a "small" Changing the Guard there in addition to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. There are excellent restaurants and shopping within walking distance. The concierges are pleasant, responsive and professional, as is the front dest staff. My only "nit" was that housekeeping was inconsistent -- i.e, the rooms were spotless, but some days they would neglect to replace the soaps, shampoos, etc. or empty the wastebaskets. We loved The Stafford. We have recommended it to our friends, and we would definately stay there again."
- Travel date: Wed 25th of July 2007
Luxury is Back
"This was the first time I have stayed at The Stafford since its recent renovation. What a difference. We had one of the new Mews apartments and the standard of luxury was very impressive - his and hers basins, huge bath and equally vast separate shower, underfloor heating, full-size Floris toiletries, two plasma TVs and an iPod . The breakfast was very good and I liked the fact that if you just wanted a continental breakfast - not a cooked one - it was available at a cheaper cost because the hotel is a la carte. The location is wonderful - a short walk to all of London's great sights. Most of the staff were very welcoming and pleasant - especially in the breakfast room - but the front desk staff are all Cockneys and their manner is somewhat brusque and, as is their way, offhand. That's fine if you think that's picturesque but I preferred the French, Spanish, South African and New Zealand staff members who were unfailingly polite and smiling. The concierge, Frank Laino, however deserves all his accolades - very polite and helpful. Would definitely come back to this rejuvenated gem."
- Travel date: Mon 23rd of July 2007