When American actress Meghan Markle and England’s Prince Harry tied the knot on May 19, their elaborate Windsor Castle ceremony was choreographed with the precision of a West End production of Swan Lake for a global audience of billions to witness.
But when the limelight gets too bright, where do royals escape for some peace and quiet? From Mayfair to Memphis, these high-end hotels have hosted some notable names looking for a reprieve.
A short drive from Windsor Castle, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Coworth Park provides the privacy, plush accommodations and proximity to prime polo — the happy couple did share its first public kiss on the polo fields here after one of Harry’s matches, after all — the sporty groom and his best man/big brother needed to relax before the long-awaited nuptials.
Meanwhile, the blushing bride and her mother spent the night before the wedding at the lavish Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Cliveden House, a historic hub of English royalty. With spectacular grounds and gardens, a scenic view of the river Thames, and the hidden Cliveden Spa, this classic estate in the Berkshire countryside is a great spot for some pre-ceremony pampering.
Hotel Hassler Roma
Rest your head like royalty when you visit this historic Five-Star charmer perched atop Rome’s famous Spanish Steps. Exclusivity and personalized service are the order of the day here, which is why high-profile guests continue to return to this storied stay year after year.
In addition to hosting such notable names as Audrey Hepburn, John F. Kennedy, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, this iconic hotel has also catered to its share of royalty. Prince Rainer of Monaco and Grace Kelly stopped for a stay here during their honeymoon cruise through the Mediterranean.
The Peabody Memphis
A favorite stay of the King (Elvis Presley, that is), this Four-Star stunner is without a doubt Memphis’ most iconic hotel. This sumptuous stay is surprisingly laid-back, with the famed duck march through the lobby, legendary rooftop parties and a spectacular location around the corner from such storied attractions as Beale Street and the Orpheum Theatre.
In fact, it’s this seamless blend of luxury and leisure that has attracted a few majesties to this classic charmer. Princes William and Harry stayed here the night before a friend’s wedding in 2014, and Queen Noor of Jordan has also spent some time in one of the historic hotel’s spacious suites.
Le Meurice, Dorchester Collection
Housed in the oldest palace in France, this Five-Star Parisian landmark was literally built for royalty. Featuring Louis XVI-style décor right down to the gilded chandeliers and marble bathrooms, the rooms here will transport you to Versailles.
Appropriately nicknamed the “Hotel of Kings,” this spectacular spot has played host to a parade of sovereign guests over its 183-year history, including King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the king of Montenegro, the shah of Iran, the maharaja of Jaipur and even musical monarchs Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
A luxurious London landmark since 1931, this Five-Star Mayfair hotel has had close ties to the British royal family almost from its inception. Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret often attended birthday parties here as children, and the future queen would even get dressed for her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip in one of the property’s 250 decadent accommodations — this historic address also served as the site of the prince’s rambunctious bachelor party.
Other dignified visitors of the high-end hotel have included King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, King Hussein of Jordan and Princess Diana.
The evening before her 2011 wedding, Kate Middleton checked into this Five-Star boutique Belgravia beauty. She booked the entire hotel for her family and friends and took over the top-floor, two-bedroom Royal Suite, which features regal touches like a life-sized portrait of Queen Victoria in the master bathroom.
If the Duchess of Cambridge’s seal of approval weren’t enough, The Goring received a Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Queen for Hospitality Services — the only hotel to receive such an honor. The Royal Warrant recognizes those who supply goods or services to the royal households.