By Janis Turk
Sitting practically in Buckingham Palace’s backyard, The Goring Hotel has been in the same family for more than a century and has welcomed royal guests ever since it first opened its doors. The coronations of George VI and the present queen brought guests of foreign royalty to The Goring, and when Kate Middleton spent the night before her Westminster Abby nuptials, she and her mother and sister shared the hotel’s Royal Suite and booked the entire hotel for family and friends. When heads of state, presidents, celebrities and royalty come to London, many stay here, and on occasion, the Queen comes for tea. Last month, during Fashion Week madness, fashion royalty (designers and celebrities) stayed here, too.
London’s only Relais & Châteaux property, The Goring holds a Royal Warrant and also has been named the number one hotel in Europe, the top city hotel in the world, and the top hotel in the United Kingdom in Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Service Awards, as well as Best for Service in the UK on Condé Nast Traveler USA’s Gold List—among other honors. Located in Belgravia, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, there’s not a better location in all of London for a royal stay.
With 69 bedrooms and suites, The Goring has the warmth of a family home with the sophistication of a five-star hotel. Each room has been appointed with materials sourced from the finest producers and artisans from the British Isles, as well as wall coverings of silk weavers from the age-old house of Gainsborough Silks (also Royal Warrant holders) and fabrics designed by Nina Campbell, as well as handmade furniture from the finest craftsmen. With Egyptian cotton linens, Moulton Brown bath products, plush robes and slippers, iPod docking stations, blackout draperies, masterfully designed soft lighting settings, the elegant rooms and suites of The Goring are indeed fit for a king. Some of the rooms and suites overlook the green gardens of Grosvenor Square Park.
The Royal Suite, where Kate Middleton stayed before her wedding, spans the entire length of the hotel with balcony views from the uppermost floor overlooking the gardens. Just prior to the royal wedding, the suite was given a royal makeover. In the master bedroom of the suite, walls are lined with the same silk weave that graced the first class dining room of the Titanic in 1912, and the silk in the sitting room bathroom is the same that adorns the throne room in Buckingham Palace. Carpets, made by the French firm that supplied the Palace of Versailles, fill the rooms.
The Royal Suite is filled with handcrafted custom furnishings as well as graceful antiques and the best features of modern technology. Its finest touches, however, are hidden from view: throughout the suite is hidden a truly unique collection of Royal artifacts, including handwritten letters and military regalia, objects of Royal lineage which have been carefully concealed behind presentation glass and hidden within the suite for guests to discover during their stay. Even the master bathroom features an antique oil painting set behind glass inside the shower.
The shared spaces of The Goring are also impressive, especially the bar and lounge, with its gilded coffered ceilings, roaring fires in the hearth and an adjacent veranda, where afternoon tea is served at tables overlooking the garden. The Goring dining room, designed by David Linley, with its unique custom Swarowski “Blossom chandeliers,” is also stunning. The restaurant, which been named Best Traditional British Restaurant by Zagat in 2011 and Consistently Excellent Restaurant in The Tatler Restaurant Awards in 2010, is the perfect marriage of contemporary and traditional, with a menu and wine list to rival any other five-star London eatery. Before leaving London, for a royal treat, take time for afternoon tea at The Goring. It is the finest way to end a royal tour, and was voted the best afternoon tea in London by the official ‘Oscars of the Afternoon Tea World,’ The Tea Guild. •
The Goring Hotel
15 Beeston Pl
London SW1W 0JW, UK
+44 20 7396 9000