SW1A 1NJ Travel Guide
It's not huge news in the US, but over in England, the News of the World phone hacking scandal and paper closure is all anyone can talk about. Thus, it's no surprise that paparazzi have been trailing both News Corp head Rupert Murdoch and News International chief Rebekah Brooks over the last few days, watching their every move during this stressful period. One stop on the Murdoch-Brooks itinerary was the five-star Stafford Hotel, just near Murdoch's London residence.
The Stafford is a properly British hotel, discreet and exclusive, so it's no wonder Murdoch, Brooks and James Murdoch retired here to dine and discuss the fact that they've just put over 200 people out of work and shut Britain's oldest paper amid controversy and police inquiries. We're assuming they reserved a private dining room, otherwise they'd risk having entrees pitched at them. Oh wait; we forgot. This is Britain and therefore the most intense a confrontation would get is maybe dirty looks and snotty tsk-tsking from across the room.
Now that the royal couple is married and in our neck of the woods, we can focus on some other London hotel news, like the new renovations at the Stafford Hotel .
The hotel just finished a £6 million makeover, leaving it with a spiffed-up new lounge, reception area, restaurant and more.
With so many new London hotels set to open for the Olympics, the old ones need to make sure they can compete. The Savoy went all out with a 100 million pound renovation and now other hotels are following in its footsteps. Although maybe not on the same scale - £100 million is a lot of money.
The latest hotel to announce its refurbishment is The Stafford by Kempinski. The hotel only joined the Kempinski brand back in February. But it seems the group thought it could do with a make over, a six million pound make over. The work is being completed by RPW Design who also helped redesign the Waldorf Hilton and the infinity suite at The Langham.
Like a pub talk, but posh
It’s the end! The folks at the Stafford have been busy intellectualizing all summer with their series of “Pub Talk” discussions, and they’re going out with a bang next Tuesday at 6.30pm with a talk on “catwalk-worthy style” as a post Fashion Week extravaganza.
Having said that, it’s less fashiony, more posh. The people speaking will be Angus Cundy, from Henry Poole & Co (a Savile Row joint) discussing custom fashion, and people from Lock & Co Hatters (a family-owned business which invented the bowler hat) and Beretta sporting types to discuss the evolution of style and the classic stuff you need in your closet.
The speakers will be bringing along items from their collection, but what’s more exciting is that the talk will be accompanied by cocktails and canapés.
The talk is free but reservations are recommended – email firstname.lastname@example.org to bag a space.
Well well well, the folks at the Stafford are getting serious now that it’s been taken over by Kempinski. Maybe it’s a reaction to Big Brother, maybe they’re offering us a cunning excuse to drink away the evenings, but they’re launching a new series of lectures called Pub Talk in their American Bar.
When we say “lectures”, we mean it in the loosest sense. The official description is “evenings filled with fine pursuits” – by which they mean drinking, eating, and having a little conversation. They call it an “interactive lecture” – by which they probably mean they’re expecting boozy heckling. And at the helm will be “in-house experts and luxury brand ambassadors discussing some of the finer things in life” (think booze).
Now that pretty much nobody in London cares about the World Cup anymore, it’s time to put those big screen TVs to another use (than hurling abuse at). At the Stafford Hotel, that use would be screening Wimbledon. How very genteel!
But far better than the big screen is the Lawn Tennis Afternoon Tea that they’re serving up with it.
Is this a sad day for independent hotels, or a good one for the future of London accommodation? The Stafford Hotel on the Strand has just joined the Kempinksi brand, becoming The Stafford London by Kempinkski.
Kempinski haven’t had a base in London since 2008, so it’s good news for them. And it should be good news for the Stafford, too – although we’ve never stayed in a Kempinski, we’ve rarely heard anything but good stuff about them.
It’s a little-admitted fact that most non-Yanks secretly want to be Yanks. But guys, it’s time to come out of the closet. Especially if you’re in London: the Obamas have been assiduous in their visits to us, the rising pound is bringing back our love for America, and the 4th of July is nearly here.
But if you have neither time, money, nor inclination to head Stateside for the celebrations, you could head for Mayfair instead, where the usually-genteel Stafford is shedding its stiff upper lip and going American for the day.
Mainly foodwise, though: they’ll be laying on an all day Independence Day menu with burgers, hot dogs, cheesecake and BBQ chicken. And it’s not only nosh; the appropriately named American Bar will be shaking up such concoctions as Patriotinis and Fourth of July Fizzes. Who cares about the lack of fireworks? Just make sure you’re wearing your jackets, guys – it’s still England, after all.
It’s all very well London being trendy, but sometimes we just want to ditch our day-glo in favour of a little taste of Olde Englande. So we like the idea of The Stafford hotel’s new “Ladies Who London” two night package.
The hotel itself is already pretty cutesy – set around a cobbled mews, with the rare impression of being a country hotel, with frilly wallpaper and exposed beams, even though it’s just five minutes from Piccadilly Circus.
Those crazy Brits are at it again—hosting hotel parties for expats again, that is.
Following the success of its election night party, The Stafford Hotel in London is having an Inauguration Day party at its American Bar. And much like the last go round, the bar will revamp its menu with hamburgers, hot dogs and apple pie, craft specialty cocktails (like the Renegade, made with Bourbon, sloe gin, lemon juice and cocktail cherries, and the 44 Fizz, made with champagne, Belle de Brillet and blue curacao), as well as showcase the event on its TVs (even remaining open until the event's over).
And considering that over 200 people attended the election night party, you might want to get there early to secure a seat. We're not the only ones happy to see G-Dub go, you know.
You know how everyone in America goes to Irish pubs on St. Patty's day and to Mexican Restaurants on Cinco de Mayo, but sometimes it's a wee bit more difficult to find hotspots where distinctly American festivities go down abroad (unless you want to hit up, like, McDonald's)?
At least Americans in London are covered for a place to celebrate or commiserate this election day (which, let's be honest, is probably going to be the biggest drinking night of the year -- no matter who wins).
The Stafford London's American Bar is throwing an election-night soiree for all the classy American transplants in London (seriously guys: jackets required) interested in drinking to calm their nerves as they watch which way the swing states go.
Calling itself "the last historic American bar in the city," the bar's menu will feature the most stereotypically-American comfort foods imaginable -- hot dogs, burgers and apple pie -- and candidate-inspired cocktails like the Maverick Man O’War and Barack Bellini.
And yes, the bar will be staying open until all results are in. And London is four hours ahead of EST, so make sure you order up an Irish coffee or three while you're there.
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Senior Editor Juliana details a "Women's Fiction"-inspired escape. Enjoy.
I don't really buy into hotel romance packages. As HotelChatter's own Tim Leffel has consistently pointed out, romance packages are just another way for hotels to overcharge you for silly stuff like chocolate-covered strawberries and erotic bath soaks.
Although once upon a time, a hotel did decorate my bed with rose petals and it kinda melted my hard hotel-critiquing exterior.
But I am intrigued by a recent Valentine's Day hotel package that I came across and my interest really has nothing to do with love and everything to do with a new obsession with Tudor monarchs.
You see, I was bored in the airport one day and I bought a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl a historical novel about Anne Boleyn's sister (who was real.) Well, two months later and I am pretty much done with the entire backlist of Philippa Gregory's novels about the Tudors.
Yes. My name is Juliana and I am addicted to Women's Fiction novels about Tudor Monarchs. (But at least I'm learning some history, ok?) Which is why this package from the Stafford Hotel in London has me anxiously wishing I could flee my "cubicle" and spend a night or two in London.