the gor­ing

The Gor­ing of­fers an ex­cep­tion­ally rare ex­pe­ri­ence spiced with an inim­itable Bri­tish sense of hu­mour, as sue Wallace dis­cov­ers.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Contents -

An im­pec­ca­bly Bri­tish ho­tel with an ec­cen­tric sense of hu­mour.

there’s a baroness adorned in pearls, an el­derly earl, a portly politi­cian and his mini-skirted girl­friend, a Bri­tish soapie star and an In­dian princess sport­ing a large di­a­mond din­ing at the Gor­ing tonight.

how do I know? I’ve been in the loo just up the el­e­gant hall­way eaves­drop­ping on two reg­u­lars gos­sip­ing about “who’s who” in the Din­ing room re­vamped by Vis­count David Linley in 2005. the three pale pink swarovski crys­tal chan­de­liers, branch­ing down from the ceil­ing, at first had some Gor­ing devo­tees up in arms. ru­mour has it the late Baroness thatcher asked when the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions were com­ing down.

But tonight Bri­tish food tri­umphs un­der ex­ec­u­tive chef shay Cooper. For starters, it’s eggs drumk­ilbo, the late Queen Mother’s favourite, fol­lowed by fil­let of beef Welling­ton and Eton mess.

the royal seal of ap­proval No won­der shay has just earned the Din­ing room its first Miche­lin star along with a string of other awards. the place is hum­ming tonight, some­thing that pleases Jeremy Gor­ing, the af­fa­ble fourth gen­er­a­tion owner of the 69-room ho­tel. Lo­cated in up­mar­ket Bel­gravia, nine min­utes from Buck­ing­ham Palace, it was opened in 1910 by Jeremy’s great grand­fa­ther, Otto Gor­ing, with world firsts such as pri­vate bath­rooms and cen­tral heat­ing.

Back in the day, many royal guests pre­ferred the ho­tel to chilly Buck­ing­ham Palace and it re­mains a favourite; the Duchess of Cam­bridge spent the night be­fore her wed­ding in the royal suite.

the four-room suite that Jeremy Gor­ing de­scribes as “the icing on the cake” is fit for a princess. Dec­o­rated in sump­tu­ous Gains­bor­ough silks in­clud­ing one orig­i­nally wo­ven in 1910 for the ti­tanic’s first class din­ing room, it boasts price­less Bri­tish an­tiques, ob­jets d’art and a few quirky touches; a shower big enough for six fea­tures a large photo of Queen Vic­to­ria watch­ing as you soap up.

Cro­quet and cock­tails My room, a De­light­ful suite, lives up to its name and over­looks a pri­vate gar­den, where cro­quet is played in the sum­mer.

In win­ter the alpine ter­race re­sem­bles a scene from st Moritz, with cock­tails, fon­due, an­tique skis, cash­mere rugs and waiters clad in vin­tage ski jumpers.

Af­ter­noon tea is an in­sti­tu­tion at the Gor­ing with tra­di­tional brews, dainty sand­wiches, but­tery scones and pas­tries you can’t say no to. But it is the decadent cock­tails in the bar with its deep crim­son and gold decor, hand­sprayed red lac­quer walls and tiger-print hand­stitched car­pet that en­tice you to set­tle in. Over­seen by Dubliner, Brian Kin­sella, who joined the ho­tel in 1994, it is per­fect for peo­ple watch­ing.

Part of the magic of the ho­tel is the im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice from door­man Peter sweeney, who has clocked up 50 years, the concierge team led by Big John and the fleet of foot­men re­splen­dent in red tail­coats, im­mac­u­late gold-trimmed waist­coats and broad smiles.

Fancy your news­pa­per ironed or a gourmet pic­nic in the park with a quar­tet? Al­most any­thing is pos­si­ble.

A knock on the door re­veals a foot­man bear­ing a sil­ver tray with in­gre­di­ents for a Cos­mopoli­tan cock­tail.

“Would you like me to make it?” he asks. It sure beats turn­down choco­lates and book­marks.

hu­mour in the wall­pa­per Yes, the Gor­ing is glo­ri­ously Bri­tish, but stuffy? No, it has a sense of hu­mour. Just check out the new hand­painted wall­pa­per in the lobby de­pict­ing an English parkland with wild an­i­mals and you can see Gor­ing fam­ily car­i­ca­tures.

Back at home, a part­ing gift, a small toy sheep that Ge­orge Gor­ing, Jeremy’s fa­ther, in­tro­duced as a guest keep­sake, evokes a smile ev­ery time I look at it.

And as for that di­a­mond-clad In­dian princess, I won’t for­get her com­ment as she swept out the door with her toy.

“this ho­tel is sim­ply divine,” she de­clared. No doubt Otto Gor­ing would be a happy man. travel file Ac­com­mo­da­tion www.the­gor­ing.com Get­ting there Qan­tas in part­ner­ship with Emi­rates flies to Lon­don via Dubai. www.qan­tas.com.au www.emi­rates.com In­for­ma­tion www.visitlon­don.com

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