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The Goring Hotel London review

The most quintessentially British hotel, with red-coated footmen and butlers, afternoon tea on the genteel lawn and divine local cuisine in the Michelin-starred Dining Room restaurant.

The Goring Hotel is just over the back wall of Buckingham Palace and a favourite with British royals William and Kate, as well as lords and ladies up in London from the country for a spot of shopping in Mayfair.

Traveller: Matt Brace
Room: Deluxe Room
Address: The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, London, SW1W 0JW
Date: December 2022
Best for: Those wanting classic English style and elegance, and impeccable, old-school service

The Goring London
The Goring London

The Signature factor

The Goring oozes class and sophistication. Its most luxurious offerings are its Michelin-starred Dining Room restaurant (designed by celebrated furniture and interior designer David Linley, aka the Earl of Snowdon, grandson of George VI), its glorious garden (bigger than Centre Court at Wimbledon) and its welcoming and super-efficient staff.

The concept

No other UK hotel so perfectly and seamlessly blends classic, luxurious Edwardian charm and glamour with contemporary design, food and personalised service.

It was built by Otto Goring, opened in 1910 and has been owned and run by the same family ever since. Winston Churchill met allied leaders here during World War II, while global royalty and dignitaries checked in to attend the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II.

The 69 luxurious rooms and suites are individually styled by British designers Russell Sage and Nina Campbell to resemble fine, private London abodes. Expect silk wallpaper, crisp Italian linen, bespoke furniture and more.

The Goring London
Afternoon tea time at The Goring London

First impressions

Peter the doorman greeted me and ushered me into the stunning Front Hall lobby. Which was decorated with hand-painted wallpaper, a marble-tiled floor and glittering chandeliers. The tail-coated front-desk team relieved me of my bags and in minutes I was luxuriating in a velvet armchair in front of a roaring fire in the charming, cosy Cocktail Bar, negroni in hand.

Beyond the bar was the large, glass-roofed Veranda where Afternoon Tea is served daily and from where (in summer) guests stroll out to the Goring Garden, one of the largest private gardens in London. For me, this is the most welcoming, luxurious and inviting hotel in the UK.

The room

My room (71) was up on the top (fifth) floor, overlooking Beeston Place. It was one of the entry-level Double Rooms but still wonderfully appointed: silk wallpaper, burgundy armchairs and a king (twin) bed adorned with one of The Goring’s flock of miniature Baaa-bara toy sheep. A larger sheep sat between the chairs, acting as a quirky footstool. At the touch of a button I had AC/heat, digital on-demand TV and mood lighting, including a soft-light mode jokingly called “Oooh!”. My marble bathroom had luxury Asprey amenities and super-soft towels and bathrobes.

I requested a cloth to clean my R M Williams boots. A red-coated, gold-waistcoated footman arrived rapidly, whisked them away and polished them so well I could almost see my face in them. All part of The Goring’s impeccable service.

Junior Suite

Top suite

The Goring’s grandest room is the Royal Suite. The spacious one-bedroom penthouse has a sitting room, a dining room and a balcony running the entire length of the top floor with views over the garden.

It’s not called the Royal Suite for nothing: the silk wallpaper in the bathroom is the same as that which adorns The Throne Room in Buckingham Palace and you can shower in full view of Queen Victoria. A life-size portrait hangs in the huge double shower, protected by safety glass.

Royal Suite guests also get a dedicated butler, fully stocked bar, fresh fruit and flowers, handmade chocolates and free airport transfers.

Michelin-starred restaurant

I thought the food at the Veranda was pretty good until I scored a table at the Dining Room, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.

The venue inhabits an elegant, peaceful space created by celebrated furniture and interior designer David Linley, aka the Earl of Snowdon, grandson of George VI.

The restaurant has gone to great lengths to focus on British produce so I ate local. I chose the signature starter Eggs Drumkilbo with native lobster, the most delicious wild sea bass with Dorset clams and an English strawberry and vanilla parfait.

Breakfast is also taken in this same room, when tables are beautifully laid with the best china and silverware, even down to the polished tea strainers. Breakfast at The Goring is not to be rushed; it’s a refined experience.

The Goring London
The Goring London

Highlights from the mini-bar

The Goring decided many years ago not to install mini-bars. Why drink miniature bottles when guests can telephone The Bar and have something mixed to their own specifications and delivered to their room?

I wish I could take home…

Each room is inhabited by a small, fluffy toy sheep called Baaa-bara. She sits on the bed to welcome guests as they enter their room. Kids and adults alike fall in love with her instantly and wish they could take her home… and they can! Mine made the long haul back to Australia and is fitting in nicely with the local flock.

Staying in

In summer, grab a glass of Pimm’s and a deckchair in the Goring Garden and snooze away the afternoon. In winter, cosy up by the fire in the Cocktail Bar with a negroni or two. Younger guests get mocktails on arrival, dressing-up boxes for rainy days, visits to the kitchen to help decorate cakes and a cute Goring Passport that they get stamped as they visit different parts of the hotel.

Stepping out

If you can tear yourself away from the hotel – no mean feat – there’s much to do nearby. Just ask the brilliant concierge team for suggestions.

Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are both just a short walk away. Stroll up The Mall to Trafalgar Square, or down to Sloane Square and the ever-fashinonable King’s Road in Chelsea.

The accolades

The Goring has won numerous awards over the years. It was awarded a Royal Warrant by The Queen in 2013, the only hotel to receive one for hospitality services. Such a warrant is a mark of recognition to those who supply goods or services to the households of senior royals. The Dining Room restaurant received its Michelin star in 2016.

Celebrity sightings

The Goring is where ‘old money’ comes to stay: lords and ladies up in London from their country estates to shop in Mayfair. It’s also a long-standing favourite of the royals. Every reigning British Monarch since 1910 has visited. The Queen Mother used to love it – especially her favourite Eggs Drumkilbo dish – and more recently Kate Middleton stayed in the sumptuous Royal Suite on the night before her wedding to Prince William.

Insiders’ tips

The entire concierge team is incredible but when searching for the latest events in Belgravia and beyond call for Head Concierge John Andrews, aka Big John. His knowledge of London is unmatched and he’ll go to extraordinary lengths to please guests. He once organised a flash-mob wedding proposal on the London Eye.

Pet peeves

Trying to find anything wrong with The Goring is very difficult but I could do with a more comprehensive gym. The Fitness Room is better than nothing but a few more machines and maybe a sauna would make it perfect.

If only…

If I’m being extra-picky it would be good to have a few more places to sit in the Front Hall lobby. The bar is right next door but not every guest will want to buy drinks while they are waiting to check in or out. There’s a lovely, quiet spot by the lift but there are only two seats. Also, more sheep please!

Where to find The Goring Hotel, London

The Goring is located on a quiet, leafy street in Belgravia, pretty much just over the back wall of Buckingham Palace Gardens.

It’s a short walk to Hyde Park for casual strolls and morning jogs, and about 10 minutes in a taxi to Knightsbridge and Mayfair. It’s around the corner from Victoria train station (5-minute walk tops) and Victoria Tube station where you can hop on the Circle and District lines.

From Heathrow Airport, take the Tube (Piccadilly line) and change at Baron’s Court station to a District Line train to Victoria (much easier than changing at South Kensington or Earl’s Court). From Gatwick, take the high-speed rail link direct to Victoria.

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