Ever wondered where the Royal Family stays (and puts up its guests) in London? There's an easy answer - the luxurious, and discreet, Goring Hotel, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Buckingham Palace. The best part? You can stop by - for tea, or a week! You never know who you might run into.
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*Post update June, 2019
When we were married a few years ago, we made what some would consider an "unique" choice - we spent our honeymoon in our favorite city in the world: London. For two very pale lawyers prone to sun poisoning and itching for the pub, London was the perfect destination.
I didn't exactly shine in Criminal Procedure that last semester of law school, as I spent the entire time researching the ideal place to stay in London. And it's overwhelming - with hundreds of luxury hotels and tens of hotels with long, storied histories, I was overwhelmed. But, in the end, I found it - The Goring, 'favourite' hotel of my favorite family - The Windsors.
History of The Goring Hotel, London
Built by Otto Goring in 1910, and still owned by his great-grandson, The Goring's connection to the Royal Family extends nearly as far. It was the go-to tea and drinks spot for my person Royal Family hero, the Queen Mum, who actually made her last appearance there before her death, in 2002.
And, of course, The Goring is a holder of the extremely prestigious Royal Warrant - courtesy of Her Majesty, The Queen, for provision of hospitality services to The Royal Family.
The Goring's Guest Rooms
What is there to be said about the rooms at The Goring, aside from that they are perfect? We were fortunate enough to be in a Delightful King Room - which was more than enough space for the two of us for 10 days. Not pictured here was a large, oak dresser in addition to a separate closet. There was also a desk, which included some storage.
All of the rooms have stunning marble bathrooms which, in their original, likely un-marbled form, were one of the hotel's original "firsts" - it is believed to be the first hotel to have entirely en suite bathrooms.
The details in the rooms and public spaces are stunning to the last detail - the Gainsborough silk walls are literally breath taking.
The hotel prides itself on its personal touches - including a sweet little sheep ("Otto" after its founder), who lives in your room (we called and confirmed before we checked out that he was able to come home to the States with us!)
Afternoon Tea at The Goring
Whether you're staying at the hotel or not, afternoon tea at The Goring is a must! The saucers feature the profile of hotel founder Otto Goring, complimented by the stunning hotel silver.
Though I certainly won't say that the tea is affordable, I will say that it is perfectly on-par with many of the other luxury tea establishments in London, and I can guarantee that you will have a much more relaxed and personalized experience. The Goring is very much off the beaten tourist path and many of tea-takers on a given afternoon are Londoners. Very importantly, you won't be unceremoniously rushed through your experience.
The Royal Family's Involvement with The Goring
In 2011, then-Kate Middleton spend her last night before her wedding at The Goring - and if you have a few more 'quid' than me, you can stay in the same room. Her parents even hosted a reception for their friends at the hotel. Most recently, The Goring has played host to The Duchess of Cambridge and The Queen for several lunch engagements. On the most recent of which, Kate helped finish the stunning painting of a lion and unicorn in the lobby - after a few drinks, the Husband convinced me to give it a go!
The dining room was re-done, as part of a massive overhaul of the entire property, in 2015. Now-Lord Snowdon, known professionally as David Linley, was responsible for the designs, which feature incredible, modern chandeliers. (Lord Snowdon is The Queen's niece - the son of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Lord Snowdon, her husband whom she divorced in 1978). The restaurant has earned a Michelin star - another well-deserved accolade. My Husband still mentions, with a dreamy look, the beef Wellington we had there.
The Goring's Belgravia Location
Moving away from the historical and Royal connections, the hotel's location is excellent. Located in a quiet part of Belgravia, it's an easy walk to Buckingham Palace (ok, so I didn't move away from the Royal connections). It's right around the corner from a pub and a few less pricer eateries, in addition to Victoria Station (both the Tube and rail versions), which can get you almost anywhere in England. If you love novels about England - Belgravia, by Lord Fellows, best known for Gosford Park and Downtown Abbey, is a really enjoyable read to get you prepared for your trip!
A stay at The Goring is an absolute treat - from the moment Peter, the penultimate professional, greets you at the door, to the dining and tea experiences, to bumping into a Royal here and there, you won't regret it! (To check out Expedia's rates: view their website).
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