Open Mon–Wed midday–11.30pm; Thu–Sat midday–midnight; Sun midday–10.30pm
One shadowy corridor of an entrance leads to one big room with a multicoloured dancefloor popping colours off every available shiny surface (notably the ceiling) with a podium standing dead centre. Music is chilled and loungey while the place is filling up but the DJs are perceptive enough to adjust the tempo to the number of bodies and the vibe. Non-dancers can be seated comfortably in the plush red velvet booths around the edges of the floor and are exceedingly well looked after by a plethora of model good-looking staff. Conversation is even possible in the smartly partitioned off bar. The icing on the cake is Emilio, the 65-year-old maître d’ who oversees the service while exuding an old school, gentlemanly hospitality. There was only one bum note: it’s incredibly demeaning to have a man working in a toilet. I, for one, know how to wash my hands. Maybe it keeps the sniffers away, who knows?
The odd Sloane, obviously, but the most noticeable thing was that everyone was smiling and having a good time – always a good sign. As is a full and happy dancefloor by midnight. A thankfully non-posing, youngish crowd was in that night, but Nigel, the manager, told me it’s usually early 30-somethings and they have a couple of members in their late 60s and early 70s. Yep, Raffles is a members’ club that is currently open to new applications. If you’re not a member, it’s quiet and you’re dressed right, you might still get in. The crowd is certainly a sexy-looking bunch and the heels and dresses looked high-end.
Unless you count the strawberries on ice that turned up with the champagne, I didn’t actually get to taste any but the canapes look amazing on the menu. But it’s a nightclub – you’re not here to eat really are you? You’re here to have a drink and a dance and maybe pull someone.
There’s no getting away from it – pricey. But unlike another Chelsea nightspot I’ve been to, you don’t really mind as the service is impeccable. It seemed pretty obvious from the moment I entered that everyone concerned was trying their best to help me have a great evening, starting with Abi, the beautiful woman with the list on the door who kissed me on both cheeks and told me she’d been looking forward to meeting me (bet she says that to all the boys). A new cocktail list is imminent; ordering a bottle of Champagne or spirits with mixers seems to be the way to go here. All in all, a top night out.