All eyes were across the pond this spring as Kate Middleton gave birth to her second child, Charlotte. We at Forbes Travel Guide had our sights set on England, too, only we were naturally concerned with other things, like the top-to-bottom renovation of London’s The Goring, the posh Four-Star hotel where then-future Mrs. Prince William spent the night before her royal wedding. Here are five things you need to know about this royal escape, just in time for its 105th birthday:
The Whimsical Décor
We love the grand English-country-house vibe of the revamped property. Everything from the hand-painted wallpaper by Fromental — a whimsical parkland scene in the new Front Hall features exotic animals cavorting through the countryside, as well as subtle references to George Goring’s love of horseback riding and other fun nods to the hotel’s family of owners — to grand reception desks and elegant black and white marble touches gives the place a sense of comfort and elegance.
Each of the hotel’s 69 rooms boasts individual design and décor, so every experience is a different one. We lean toward the larger rooms, dubbed the “Most Splendid,” which have king-sized beds, separate walk-in showers and gorgeous views over the Goring Gardens, the largest private gardens in the city. Don’t miss the complimentary daily cocktail hour brought directly to your quarters — a service reserved for upper-level room and suite guests. But no matter which unit you select, the design dream team of David Linley, Tim Gosling, Nina Campbell, Russell Sage and hotel owner Jeremy Goring gave the entire property a new vision, assuring a pleasant stay.
The Downton Vibe
The hotel, which opened in 1910, pays homage to its century of history with footmen in full uniform to ensure your time at The Goring is unforgettable. These handsome attendants call to mind Downton Abbey in looks, but they offer full butler service worthy of the hotel’s aristocratic standing.
Beyond impeccable style, there’s a reason the Duchess of Cambridge chose this hotel for her pre-wedding festivities. Perfectly positioned in central London’s Belgravia district, The Goring is just minutes from Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and it’s walkable to Elizabeth, Sloane and Motcomb streets, where you’ll find some of the city’s finest luxury boutiques.
The High Tea
While there are many locations around the capital to enjoy high tea, there are perhaps none better than this hotel’s Bar & Lounge, which won the coveted Top London Afternoon Tea honor from the U.K. Tea Council’s Tea Guild. The seasonal menu offers first-flush teas from around the world (Sri Lanka’s Ceylon and India’s Assam, to name a few), the option to add Bollinger Champagne and a variety of scenic locations — from the terrace overlooking the gardens to the cozy fireplace lounge. Even better, later this year, the hotel will debut a trolley cart piled high with housemade éclairs — a true indulgence.