breakfast, complimentary room upgrade (if available on arrival), free Wifi, local phone calls and entry to the Mayfair Gym and Spa. All rates exclude VAT. ¶ See also Club feature. The Stafford London St James’s Place, SW1 If only the historic walls of the elegant Stafford Hotel in St James’s could talk: what a tale they would tell, of Royal indis- cretion and heroic espionage in World War Two. The Stafford is a smart and discreet 17th-centu- ry hotel and former club at Nos 16-18 St James’s Place. A hid- den passageway from its wine cellars led directly to St James’s Palace, used by King Charles II to carouse undetected with his gambling friends and mistresses. Later, in the Second World War, Allied secret agents used it to get in and out of the Palace. And because at that time the Stafford was serving as a club for American and Canadian offi- cers stationed overseas, they sought refuge in the cellars dur- ing the Blitz—a good cover sto- ry for spies. All of which led to the formation of the Better ’Ole Club—named in honour of the First World War cartoon, ‘Well if You Knows of a Better Ole Go to It!’—among whose mem- bers is HRH the Prince of Wales. For all its connections in high places, and importance to the war-time national interest, the Stafford had a genuinely grace- ful, country-house feel, which it retains to this day throughout multi-million-pound refurbish- ments which have secured the original buildings and added plenty of techno-wizardry to its five-star status. The main guest bedrooms are still Edwardian- style, period pieces with marble baths. The 12 Carriage House lodgings within the converted 350-year-old stable building fea- ture original timber beams. And in the Stafford Mews across the cobbled courtyard, 26 junior and master suites combine antique and modern furniture with mar- ble baths and walk-in showers. With its views of Green Park, the Stafford is the historic home we would all enjoy. There is an excellent restaurant, the Game Bird—where our Members are welcomed with a complimenta- ry glass of Champagne. Further- more, with more than a nod to its own special heritage, The Stafford is home to one of Lon- don’s last remaining authentic American Bars, regularly voted one of the best in London, where the barmen shake some of the best Manhattans and Martinis in the capital (their American guests vouch for that). Club rates start at £297 for a Classic Queen room (RR £517), Langham London, five-star in Portland Place: Rates start at £245 for two: Or a Deluxe at £287 for a club lounge with complimentary food and drink. Grange Langham Court (top left and above), Fitzrovia (top right): Rates from £105 for two with English breakfast and free upgrade. 104