If resting your head in Belgravia, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, will make you feel a little bit special, then how’s this for fostering an even more intense urge to polish a pretend crown and start wondering what happened to your golden carriage:
The Goring Hotel is where Kate Middleton stayed in the night before her wedding.
Yes, that’s right. Staff won’t tell me which room she had before she trooped down the aisle at the Abbey, but stay there she did. And so did we. My wife and I, in a suite.
So call me Sir from now on please. That or Your Highness. I thank you.
Indeed, there is something quite satisfying about sharing an experience with royalty, even if it is the fact that we both had TVs in our bathrooms (more of that later).
One reason it was probably chosen was its size. The royal party could use the whole thing, I am guessing, making it intimate and (as far as Special Branch were concerned) secure.
Family-owned and built in 1910, it speaks of Edwardian glory and boast 69 individually designed bedrooms and suites.
Its founding father was O.R Goring (great grandfather of the current owner Jeremy Goring) and he apparently had a thing for sheep (let’s maybe not ask). In fact, sheep appear everywhere – as a ubiquitous icon of everything Goring-related (letterheads the works) but also in the form of large toy sheep, which you may or may not trip over should you want to go to the loo in the middle of the night.
It feels like a bigger version of someone’s (admittedly fairly grand) house. A very posh house in the sticks. The vibe they are going for (and succeed at) is of the country come to town.
And like the best kind of rural put-me-up, it is high class with some excellent touches. There are lights in all the cupboards and the products in the bathroom are generous and classy, as were the beautifully soft cashmere blankets on the beds.
I particularly liked the complimentary cocktails brought to your room by hotel staff and the complimentary newspaper (the Telegraph, naturally). As for the telly in the bath – I can’t say I ever enjoyed the Sunday morning match of the day repeat more than when I was lying there in a warm lake of frothy bubbles.
And the location? Goodness me. Another bonus of this place is the chance to walk around tourist London – the Mall, St James’ Park, Whitehall – and be back in the gorgeous lobby within five minutes.
It’s hard to fault this experience, really, except perhaps the cost. It can be a little steep for the grander rooms (if Kate paid, I am guessing she didn’t get much change from five grand for the night).
Food and Drink: The Goring’s Garden Bar and Terrace has long been a go-to destination for afternoon tea aficionados. We did not indulge, but they looked fabulous. The lunch menu is varied but defiantly British, with highlights including roast fillet of John Dory with a crayfish soufflé, pea purée and a shellfish sauce and braised shoulder of Leyburn venison with bacon, button onions and mushrooms.
The dinner menu is similarly sumptuous and John Bull British. Treats include braised blade of Ross County beef with a thyme and bone marrow crust and puréed root vegetables and roast fillet of red mullet with foraged nettles, mussels and a white wine broth.
Particularly enjoyable is the breakfast; a full English with kidneys and black pudding (again, how English can you get) as well as attentive but not overly fussy service.
The Veranda offers a decent setting for guests who wish to dine al fresco, although the fact that it was sheltered by walls would (I am guessing) limit the amount of sunshine, even in summer.