A Royal welcome

Demelza Rayner follows in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge and discovers a surprisingly homely retreat at The Goring

As London's oldest family-run five-star hotel, The Goring is something of an institution. When it opened in 1910 under the watchful eye of Otto Richard Goring, it was the first hotel to offer guests en suite bathrooms – a facility not even available at the Royal Palaces at that time. Over the past 100 years, it's built a reputation for service, quality and discretion. Indeed, the top floor suite was created in 2011 to host the Duchess of Cambridge and her bridal party the night before her highly anticipated marriage to Prince William. But what does it have to offer newlyweds?

For starters, The Goring is located in one of the most beautiful parts of London, ideally situated for romantic strolls through Green Park and St James's Park. Buckingham Palace is virtually on its doorstep, while many of the city's other major sights are within easy reach.

A Royal welcome: Image 1
A warm welcome

Whizzing across London in a taxi, my husband and I pulled up outside the hotel at 7pm, just one hour before our dining reservation. Feeling slightly frazzled after a hectic working week, our stresses fell right away at check-in: within minutes we'd been welcomed into the hotel, whisked up to our opulently decorated suite – complete with garden views and fresh fruit platter – and were given much-needed time to relax.

A knock at the door woke us from our reverie and we took delivery of a silver tray furnished with ingredients to make our own champagne cocktails – a treat extended to guests staying in a suite.

Food of love

The fruit and cocktails only served to build our hunger so, tummies rumbling, we headed for the Dining Room.

Transformed by David Linley in 2005, it's the epitome of elegance, with high ceilings and wonderful Swarovski crystal blossom chandeliers that add a contemporary edge to the otherwise classic décor.

The menu at The Goring is firmly British, featuring dishes from Scottish beef fillet to Romney Marsh lamb. Service is excellent – unintrusive yet attentive. Waiters patiently explained the more unusual dishes, while the resident sommelier helped us navigate the impressive wine list.

We began with Eggs Drumkilbo, reportedly a favourite of the late Queen Mother. This delicious seafood cocktail, topped with a tomato jelly, provided the perfect introduction of things to come. Then came a mouth-watering lobster risotto – rich, warming and full of flavour. For mains, my husband plumped for fillet of beef wellington, while I chose roast Cornish cod in the hope that a lighter dish would leave me more room for dessert! It was a strategic success as, despite looking too good to eat, I managed to devour every last mouthful of my baked Alaska. For my husband, no meal is complete without a cheese course and the trolley didn't disappoint, packed with sensational British-made fare.

It was pure greed that spurred us on to finish the petit fours, but the hand made marshmallows were too good to resist.

Heading back up to the room, we noticed four light settings – bright, calm, cosy and ooh. The latter cast a romantic, flattering glow across the bed – probably a good thing after such excess!


A Royal welcome: Image 2
Top of the morning

Waking up at The Goring is an occasion in itself. Still snug under the goose-down duvet, my sleep-sated eyes rested on the generous draping of the curtains, the rich gold of the silk wall covering and the stately lines of the bespoke furniture. Hopping out of bed just long enough to collect the complimentary Telegraph, I briefly considered ordering room service before deciding that poached eggs and croissants weren't the most sanitary of bedfellows.

A British institution

Despite its traditional façade and illustrious history, The Goring's subtle quirks impart an enduring personality that will keep its guests returning time and time again. In the reception, a statue of the founder is decorated with a new fresh flower buttonhole every day – just as couples will find something new to admire in the hotel every time they visit. With complimentary shoe shining, the promise of croquet on the lawn and not forgetting The Goring's flock of sheep (you'll find out when you stay there!), long may this pleasing combination of English eccentricity and old world opulence continue.

Extend your honeymoon

Just five minutes walk away from The Goring is Victoria station where you can catch the Gatwick Express to the airport – creating a twin-centre break has never been so easy!

The Goring
020 7396 9000


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