For a moment in April last year, the world’s media were camped on the doorstep of The Goring. It was, of course, the hotel of choice for the Duchess of Cambridge and her family the night before the wedding. But what is The Goring really like?
A stay at The Goring begins a couple of weeks before your arrival, when Guest Relations Manager Michael Bevan calls you to find out your likes and dislikes. Still or sparkling water? Sheets and blankets or duvet? Food allergies? It makes for an impressive start.
Four generations of the Goring family have run and cherished the hotel. The Goring first opened its doors in 1910, during the reign of King Edward VII. At that time it was the first hotel in the world to have en-suite rooms, and central heating was installed throughout in 1921. Lady Randolph Churchill lived at The Goring for a while after World War 1, with her son Winston visiting her there frequently.
Today the hotel remains a bastion of quality and absolute individuality, run by CEO Jeremy Goring and his father George Goring OBE as Chairman. A couple of minutes’ stroll from Buckingham Palace, it could not be better placed for the enjoyment of all that London has to offer. There are 69 air-conditioned bedrooms, including seven suites and a number of family rooms, each with Wi-Fi. There are also four private rooms for dining, receptions or meetings. The lovely private garden, the largest of any hotel in London, provides an ideal setting for the smartest al fresco events. Designed by David Linley, The Dining Room is one of the few restaurants in London that is a great place to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving exceptional food throughout the day. Champagne by the glass is poured from magnums at the bar, but accompanied by old-school comfort bar snacks including cheese toasties and cocktail sausages.
I stayed in one of the recently renovated Belgravia Suites. Quintessentially English in style, full of character and old school charm, these new suites champion British craftsmanship and history. Interior designer Russell Sage commissioned six historic silks from the Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company, a Royal Warrant-holding textile mill in Suffolk, especially for the project. Beautiful furniture is hand-made in birds-eye maple, mahogany and walnut. Sitting rooms have handsome marble fireplaces and are filled with antiques and wonderfully eccentric Goring touches. As Jeremy Goring says, ‘These new suites are designed to last and to get better with age. They don’t feel like hotel rooms: they feel very personal, like the private home of some nineteenth-century duke, but with brilliant mod cons and a bit of naughtiness.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I’m told that many of the Goring staff have been with the hotel for over 20 years, and indeed there’s a lovely atmosphere to the place, something that can only come from being London’s only family-run five-star hotel. The Goring is a classic British experience and a true pleasure to stay in.