Deep in the heart of Belgravia, just behind Buckingham Palace, The Goring is within strolling distance of the Royal Parks and London’s best shops, theatres and galleries.It takes just nine minutes to get to Buckingham Palace.
The Back Story
Otto Goring opened the hotel in 1910 with several world firsts such as private bathrooms and central heating.Seems even back in the early days, many Royal guests preferred the hotel to chilly Buckingham Palace.Now great grandson Jeremy is the fourth generation at the helm of the 69-room luxury hotel, still much favoured by the royals. The Duchess of Cambridge spent the night there before her wedding. It is now the only five-star luxury hotel in London that is owned and run by the family that built it. In January 2013, The Goring received a Royal Warrant of appointment to The Queen for Hospitality Services.
This is a hotel that is gloriously British and proud of it. The family also have a great sense of humour and can chuckle at themselves. Check out the lobby’s hand-painted wallpaper depicting English parkland where wild animals have escaped. Look closely and you will see that caricatures of the owners, the Gorings, feature.Whether you are sipping Pimms on the manicured lawns in summer where croquet is on offer or in winter at the glamorous terrace that resembles a scene from St Moritz, with heart-warming cocktails, fondue, antique skis, thick cashmere rugs and waiters clad in vintage ski jumpers- you can’t help but be impressed with this hotel.
Rooms and Interiors
The epitome of English style, the rooms range from traditional country house and classic British to contemporary. Every bedroom and suite at The Goring is unique, yet all are spacious, sumptuously decorated and furnished and feature extra touches.The best suites are the work of Nina Campbell, Tim Gosling and Russell Sage who used rewoven historic silks from the Gainsborough Silks archives for wall coverings and curtains. Designer Tim Gosling also worked his magic on the Lounge, Bar and Terrace and Russell Sage created The Royal Suite along the top floor of the hotel.
The Royal Suite
A peep inside the chic Royal suite reveals glamour plus.The four-room suite that Jeremy Goring describes as “the icing on the cake” is indeed fit for a princess and those with a healthy bank account. Decorated in sumptuous Gainsborough silks including a dusky green design originally woven in 1910 for the Titanic’s first class dining room, it boasts priceless British antiques, amazing objets d’art and a few quirky touches – the shower that’s big enough for six features a large photo of Queen Victoria who watches over you as you soap up.
Known as a Delightful Suite it has all the trimmings and lives up to its name. It overlooks the manicured private garden and it would be easy to bunker down and just enjoy the room and facilities.Some rooms have balconies overlooking the garden.
As London’s only family owned five-star hotel, children are welcome here – so much so they may find a gift bag on their pillow. There’s also a private garden to run in and a visit to the kitchens and a story from The Goring Bedtime Story Library is possible.There are newly decorated inter- connecting family rooms.
The glorious dining room revamped by Viscount David Linley in 2005, complete with three pale pink Swarovski crystal chandeliers, raised eyebrows in the early days.Rumour has it the late Baroness Thatcher asked when the Christmas decorations were coming down.The chandeliers that hang across the ceiling are works of art commissioned by the hotel as exact replicas of the only other one in England found at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Linley was inspired by a famous Cecil Beaton photograph of a group of debutantes and the palate of pale colours of the debutantes’ silk ball gowns is reflected in the stripes on each chair and in the sumptuous thick padded silk curtains.Perspex and bevelled glass panels bring in daylight, alongside walnut wood and a new bespoke marble fireplace to create perspective and a new space. Glass obelisks, Linley hurricane lamps and crystal salt cellars complete the table settings.
It is a great place to dine – and people watch.You never know who will be sitting near you – the night we dined there was a baroness adorned in pearls, an elderly earl, a portly politician and his mini-skirted girlfriend, a popular UK soapie star and a pretty Indian Princess sporting a very large diamond.British food triumphs here under the baton of executive chef Shay Cooper – for starters it’s Eggs Drumkilbo, the late Queen Mother’s favourite, followed by Fillet of Beef Wellington and for a grand finale – Eton Mess – decadent and delicious.No wonder Shay earned the dining room its first Michelin star along with a string of other awards.
Starters – Eggs Drumkilbo, Day Boat Plaice Fillet, Cured Sea Bream and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.
Main Course – Beef Wellington, Roast Cornish Cod with Broad Beans and Iberico Ham,
Romney Marsh Lamb with Roast Cauliflower and Curry Spices, Glazed Lobster Omelette.
Puddings – Vanilla Cheesecake, Lemon Surprise, Sea Buckthorn Baked Alaska, Bitter Chocolate Ganache.
The Wine List
The Goring has a cellar worth over £1/2 million pounds.Laid down over decades, it provides a fabulous array of French classics as well as jewels from the New World.
Afternoon tea is an institution at The Goring with traditional brews, dainty finger sandwiches, home-made buttery scones and pastries you can’t say no to.It won the UK Tea Guild’s 2013 Top London Afternoon Tea Award.They have been serving afternoon tea since 1910 and the menu features everything from deliciously traditional British brews to tea leaves sourced from the foot of the Himalayas.As well as a bountiful selection of the best tea in London, mouth-watering treats are served and an exclusive Bollinger Champagne menu is also available. To ensure afternoon tea maintains its impeccable standards, the teas are tasted weekly by The Goring’s very own Tea Master, Jeremy Goring.
In summer months take tea al-fresco on the veranda, one of the few outdoor dining spots in London or on the sunny Terrace designed by Tim Gosling, overlooking the large private garden. On chilly days, afternoon tea is taken in the warm and inviting Lounge, in front of the crackling open fire.
Don’t leave without a decadent cocktail in the chic bar with its deep crimson and gold decor, hand-sprayed red lacquer walls and tiger print handstitched carpet. The bar, overseen by Dubliner, Brian Kinsella who joined the hotel in 1994, is perfect for people watching and a little indulgence.
The Goring Garden – it is larger than Centre Court at Wimbledon and the largest hotel garden in central London, with a full-time gardener. It is big enough for a garden party in a marquee, but small enough to be deeply peaceful retreat. Enjoy afternoon tea and a drink at the bar.
What I Loved
Forget turn down chocolates and bookmarks and think – a footman bearing a silver tray with ingredients for a Cosmopolitan cocktail is a great way to end the day.
“Would you like me to make it,” he asks and whips up a great concoction in no time.
Fancy your newspaper ironed before reading it or a gourmet picnic in the park with a quartet, practically everything is possible at this beautiful hotel.Red-coated footmen and a concierge team led by Big John are at the ready to help.A parting gift, a small fluffy toy sheep – the hotel’s mascot that George Goring, Jeremy’s father, introduced as a guest keepsake, still evokes a smile every time I look at it.
The Goring Hotel
Beeston Place, London.
Phone +44 (0) 20 7396 9000