The Stafford London: A quintessentially English hotel for Afternoon Tea
The Stafford London is a real hidden gem in London. Part of the Kempinski Hotel Group, this award-winning luxury retreat is located in the heart of prestigious St James’s. It is tucked away on a quiet side street between Green Park and Pall Mall, which means the surroundings are very peaceful, away from the hustle and bustle of the West End.
I visited this quintessentially English hotel for one of our country’s most traditional treats, Afternoon Tea. This summer, the Stafford has launched ‘Lady Lyttelton Afternoon Tea’, which is in honour of Lady Sarah Lyttelton. Not only was she the historic owner of the Main House at The Stafford, but she was also Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria.
As I arrived at the hotel with my guest, it was obvious that the regal connection has inspired the furnishings, particularly in The Lyttelton Lounge. This used to be the family’s dining and drawing room and has welcomed many prestigious guests over the years.
We sat on traditional sofas and armchairs, in front of a large fireplace. The situation felt prestigious, but it also exhibited rather homely touches that encouraged a relaxed atmosphere. Our waitress arrived promptly with a glass of champagne for each of us to enjoy, whilst we browsed the menu.
We were presented with an enticing choice of delicious treats. Scones are always a highlight and they were particularly excellent in this Afternoon Tea. They arrived soft and fluffy, but more importantly, they were also warm. This made them extra appealing, especially following a generous dollop of fresh jam and cream!
Although etiquette dictates that savory courses normally herald the start of Afternoon Tea, we were encouraged to make the most of the warmth of the scones and begin our indulgence here. The change of order was a slight surprise to the palate but well advised nonetheless and a selection of petite sandwiches followed. These included coronation chicken on brioche and crayfish on soda bread mix. Finally, the cake selection proved rich and filling. The signature Lady Lyttelton cake is aptly named ‘Tipsy’, with layers of jams, cream and a tipple of Madeira reminiscent of the cakes enjoyed by ladies during the Victorian era.
Others sweet treats of note were the edible dark chocolate teacups filled with white chocolate and ginger tea mousse. These were surprisingly filling for their size. The tea menu offers a variety of blends. However, in the sophisticated surroundings of the Stafford London, an additional glass of bubbly seemed the most apt way of completing this refined afternoon dining experience.
Sloaney Tip: Afternoon Tea at the Stafford London would be an ideal place to take your mother for a treat. Alternatively, it provides a discreet (and regal) location for a catch up with a close friend. My guest’s husband even popped in with their newborn at the end, to the delight of the staff.
The Lady Lyttelton Afternoon Tea is priced at £28.50 per person or with a glass of Champagne £38.50 per person and is served from 3pm – 6pm daily. Booking is essential. The Stafford London is located at 16-18 St James’s Pl London SW1A 1NJ. Reservations can be made by telephone: +44 (0) 20 7493 0111