of the capital’s most stately grand dames, The Goring
manages to pull off the delicate balancing act of being
simultaneously both extravagant and intimate. Housing 69 rooms and
suites – including London‘s
most decadent address, the Royal Suite, which comes equipped with a
fleet of Downton Abbey-esque butlers – it still comes across as
gloriously personal, a trait that is only enhanced by the discreet,
ultra-professional service. From the doormen to the concierge and
front-of-house team, everyone extends to guests the warmest of
Built in 1910 by current owner Jeremy Goring’s great-grandfather
Otto, the hotel has always been family-run. Winston Churchill’s
mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, lived here, Kate Middleton stayed
here on the night before her marriage to Prince William and Jean
Shrimpton shocked by wearing one of the world’s first miniskirts to
the hotel’s 50th birthday party. Oh, and if its guestbook of lords
and ladies, dukes and duchesses wasn’t impressive enough, it’s also
the only London crash pad to hold a prestigious royal warrant.
How’s that for a dinner-party titbit?
Aside from entertaining the well-heeled, The Goring’s Belgravia
location and quintessentially English traditions make it a top pick
for a multigenerational staycation. On our visit, my mother was
enthralled by the starry tales shared by staff, found humour in the
playfulness of the interiors – the lobby features hidden
caricatures of Jeremy Goring and his staff and a flock of life-size
sheep is scattered around the property – and appreciated the level
of care shown at every turn (our waiter remembering how we take our
coffee, bath salts being supplied in a jiffy and being wished a big
“happy birthday” at every opportunity).
The devil is undoubtedly in the detail here: think bicycle
valets on hand to park and watch over two-wheeled chariots,
complimentary in-room cocktails on arrival and staff primping and
pressing dinner outfits the moment suitcases are unzipped. Each
guest receives a miniature stuffed toy sheep to mirror those found
snuggling up to the fireplace, guarding the lifts and greeting you
on the way to your room. Staff will tell you that the idea behind
them was so that those who travelled frequently for business would
remember where they were on waking: “Oh, a miniature sheep, I must
be at The Goring in London!” Nowadays, kids and adults compete to
gather their own flock.
From the Michelin-starred food in The Dining Room to the
aperitifs in the tranquil secret garden and graciousness of the
always-on-hand staff, The Goring tops our lists for a celebratory
city staycation. It might be a little too avant garde for a
spontaneous Tuesday-night stay, but if you’re planning a treat for
your significant other/parents/grandparents – or jostling for bonus
points with your in-laws – The Goring will leave you feeling like
you’ve snagged a starring role in
All 69 rooms and suites are individually decorated, with most
featuring hand-painted silver-leaf wallpaper, all-marble bathrooms
and beds dressed in sumptuous Italian linens. Antique dressing
tables, velvet armchairs and hidden TVs disguised as art add to the
stately feel. Plastic ducks and cuddly sheep are a fun touch, and
some rooms, including the Superior we stayed in, overlook the
The usual in-room champagne is replaced here by complimentary
cocktails. Expect elevated takes on the classics – an expertly
crafted Manhattan, Gin Martini or Cosmopolitan.
What’s for breakfast?
Sumptuous dishes such as lobster omelette and eggs Drumkilbo
(fresh white crab meat and chopped prawns mixed with hard-boiled
egg yolk, tomato and crème fraiche)grace the menu – the Queen
Mother was said to be particularly fond of the latter. We opted for
the full English – the Clarence Court eggs giving it a bougie
upgrade – and happily worked our way through basketfuls of
just-baked breads and croissants.
How about lunch and dinner?
Meals are taken in the duck-egg-blue dining room, whose
Swarovski crystal chandeliers were rumoured to have once inspired
the Queen Mother’s Christmas lights.
The Dining Room received its first Michelin star in 2015 and has
retained it ever since. Today, with Richard Galli at the helm, the
menu celebrates prime British produce such as blush-pink Romney
Salt Marsh lamb and caught-that-morning Cornish fish, with truffles
and wild herbs handpicked by The Goring’s own forager.
Is there a bar?
“Bar” doesn’t quite cut it. We’re talking a Great Gatsby-worthy
parlour where the fabolous and well-heeled come when they’re a bit
parched to enjoy live piano music in a convivial atmosphere.
The Goring Bar’s guests are politely requested to leave mobiles,
laptops et al behind – staff will ensure devices are locked away
safely. We’re here for it. There’s nothing worse than being out
with people more interested in filming their next TikTok post than
There’s no spa, and the fitness room is small but perfectly
usable, with a fine selection of weights, plus treadmill and cross
trainer. The real showstopper is the grounds. One of the largest
private gardens in the capital, this meticulously manicured nirvana
feels like your own secret green space amid the city’s concrete.
Sit on the garden veranda for your morning coffee, midday spritz
and evening aperitif, while, on Saturdays, lobster and fizz are
served around the firepit.
Things you should know
Prepare to be forever disappointed in the service you receive at
any other establishment after your stay here. Standout service is
The Goring’s calling card. Staff greet guests by name, bar orders
are committed to memory and champagne appears as if by magic if
you’re here for a special occasion. Bath salts will be brought up
before you’ve even turned on the taps, travel-weary clothes hung
and pressed on arrival and cabs called whenever required. Big John,
who’s been The Goring’s concierge for over a decade, is on hand to
book theatres, restaurants and bespoke London experiences, while
Peter, the doorman and longest-serving member of staff (56 years
and counting), dazzles guests with star-studded stories of days
Within a short walk, you can find…
The IRL cast of
The Crown. Sure, we’re being flippant, but Queen Liz is just
around the corner, as are the rest of London’s top draws. Whether
you’re a city-break traveller or playing tourist in your own back
yard, The Goring’s central location is unbeatable, with all of the
Big Smoke’s best sights being found within a royal wave.