Soon arriving but considerably later than would have been ideal after more than a full Friday´s work I sensed impatience in my wife´s message having checked in earlier and waiting at The Goring to share with me the hotel´s welcoming gesture, a glass of champagne! But fortunately not too late to enjoy before our much anticipated dinner in the hotel´s restaurant, The Dining Room, a place where reportedly traditional and delicious British food triumphs in the only Relais & Châteaux hotel restaurant in London under the direction of Michelin-pedigree executive chef Shay Cooper. And there was still time to appreciate our rooms, which transposes you into another world of an elegant London townhouse. As the door of our Belgravia suite opened up, a gasp of delight with what our eyes can only describe as a heavenly sight, living room and bedroom beautifully decorated, with enchanting mix of colours and textures all to be discovered, a relaxing and totally fabulous bathroom and the most comfortable bed we have ever slept in.
We were indeed prepared to be impressed with our stay at the Goring Hotel, a favourite address and hidden gem for anyone seeking out quintessentially English luxury. However all our expectations were surpassed already in the front hall with the newly decorated Fromental wallpaper that features and pays homage to The Goring’s rich heritage. Each element of the design is a subtle reference to the hotel’s proud past set in a scenic English parkland, but all is not what it seems. Exotic animals, a walrus, raj elephants, a hippo on a rock, snakes and a bear, cavort through the landscape. As designer Russell Sage says, ‘Imagine if all the animals in London Zoo had escaped into Hyde Park... take a closer look and the scene gets curiouser and curiouser... ’.
We were privileged to be staying here just after the completion of a top-to-toe renovation, for the hotel´s 105th birthday on 2 March, where contemporary design and innovation combine seamlessly with the charm and elegance of British heritage. Contributing to the refurbishment have also been designers David Linley, Nina Campbell and Tim Gosling, responsible for different parts of the hotel´s spaces, giving each guestroom and suite an individual style underlining the individuality of the hotel in character with its origin.
The Goring is now the only five star luxury hotel in London that is owned and run by the family that built it. Jeremy Goring is the fourth Goring to run The Goring since his great-grandfather, Otto Goring, opened it. Deep in the heart of Belgravia, just behind Buckingham Palace, The Goring is within strolling distance of the Royal Parks and the best shops, galleries and theatres in town, one of which we were very much looking forward to visit the following Saturday for a performance of the celebrated production of Arthur Miller´s A View From the Bridge.
The matinée would follow an early afternoon tea as we were curious how the holder of The British Tea Guild Council’s Top London Afternoon Tea Award and The Award of Excellence, delights guests with their acclaimed delicious pastries, fruity homemade jams and high quality tea blends. Needless to say the awards were well founded as indeed was The Dining Room's reputation tasted the night before where chef Cooper and his team make fabulous use of the revered Clarence Court hens' eggs – essential for their legendary breakfast, mouth-watering Eggs Drumkilbo and indulgent lobster omelette, all of which we enjoyed with a very good selection of wines handpicked by the sommelier.
Of all the accolades that has been bestowed upon The Goring, which you may easily come across when considering where to stay in London, we find this rather modest but very accurate claim to be a good guide to any traveller who would like to taste all things English in the capital: ‘It is a place of graces, comforts, old-fashioned good manners and a total lack of snoot... ’ When staying there we had the good fortune to experience those graces and comforts and not least old-fashioned manners that went far beyond the formal courtesies you would expect in an establishment like The Goring.
This is all the more remarkable when considering the long list of dignitaries who have graced this place with their presence since it opened its doors in 1910, including Lady Randolph Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill, who moved into the hotel during world war II and more recently Catherine Middleton for the days prior to her wedding to Prince William.
Above all, The Goring reflects one family’s passion for quality – whose members have prided themselves on providing comfort, good food and drink and faultless, individual service, for over a hundred years, - graciously.
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