Below The Stafford London lies a network of wine cellars steeped in history and during our recent stay I was treated to an exclusive tour by Mark Surguy, Executive Assistant Manager. Built in the 12th century by Lord Francis Godolphin, we discovered that these 380-year-old cellars have been used for much more than the usual…
As we descended the staircase, Mark explained that the hotel is planning on renovating the entrance to the cellars to make the journey from ground floor to basement more visitor friendly. This would make the experience much more special as you currently pass the kitchens en route, but once you enter the cellars you certainly feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time.
The first room you come to as you walk through the first of many wrought iron gates, is Master Sommelier Gino Nardella’s wine tasting room, complete with sleek wall-mounted glass holders and a huge wall of bottles – a feature I’m sure makes an intriguing talking point.
Ducking through the next part of the warren (for fear of hitting your head on the low ceilings) you come to a corridor of extensive wine racks which house up to 8,000 bottles. You can tell each bottle has been placed with care and even though they are covered in dust, it really adds to the effect! There are candles positioned on each shelf, which I’m sure make this already unusual and beautiful room a truly unique space when lit.
Moving to the adjoining room, you enter a wonderful space for entertaining guests, full of character and charm. While we were there a huge, immaculately set banquet table filled the space, but we were told that they host a number of different events there, including fashion shows where a catwalk is constructed down the length of the room.
Finally, we moved into the most special part of the cellars. In World War II this space was actually used as an air raid shelter and the hotel now houses a fantastically unusual collection of war-time memorabilia and artefacts. The further through the maze of tunnels you go, the narrower and more intriguing the cellars get. At the very end you come to shelves and walls completely taken over by the extensive collection, with pictures, flags and framed newspaper cuttings adorning the bare stone walls while helmets, tools and candles sit on the table tops.
The Wine Cellars are available for private hire and would make a stunning venue for any special occasion. For more details on private dining and wine tasting events, you can visit The Stafford London’s Meetings & Events page.
Our time at The Stafford London was complimentary for the purpose of review, but all opinions are our own.