The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - SHAR­RON LIV­INGSTON

THE CAR was taken off my hands by Alas­tair the door­man, the door was opened with a the­atri­cal flour­ish by the concierge, and my bag was lib­er­ated al­most im­me­di­ately by yet an­other at­ten­dant. By the time I got to the small but bright re­cep­tion area, I was smil­ing.

I may not be Kate Mid­dle­ton (who stayed here while still a com­moner the night be­fore her wed­ding), but I felt roy­ally pleased with my wel­come at this quintessen­tially English 71-room ho­tel.

A fourth gen­er­a­tion fam­ily ho­tel, The Gor­ing has a long-stand­ing af­fil­i­a­tion with roy­alty. It was opened just over 100 years ago by Otto Gor­ing just steps away from Buck­ing­ham Palace.

They say it was the first to have cen­tral heat­ing and en-suites that cost seven shillings and six pence a night but things have changed some­what since then. Queen Mary, the Queen Mother and Win­ston Churchill have en­joyed their airs graces and yet within this ele­gance, there is more than a sprin­kling of hu­mour.

My room, a sump­tu­ous suite of sen­su­ous, calm­ing colours, had dim­mer switches that reg­is­tered “bright”, “calm”, “cosy” and “ooh”, the lat­ter be­ing a ro­man­tic set­ting. In the mar­bled bath­room com­plete with wet area, a mar­bled bath and TV there are two colour­ful rub­ber ducks.

But pride of place was taken by the sheep. Each room has a cou­ple, one life size the other a cuddly hug­gable size. I did ask why, but the an­swer, was a bit too woolly to un­der­stand. The sit­ting room and bar with its wood pan­elling and dark colours is warm in a Lon­don club sort of way.

And the white with gold trim din­ing room has at­trac­tive yet ec­cen­tric light­ing — de­signed by Lord Lin­ley — made of pink­ish Swarovski crys­tal yet look some­what like strik­ing light­ning spears.

Just as strik­ing is the food. The Dover sole was sen­sa­tional and paired well with wine by the som­me­lier (whose tie fea­tured the sheep) and break­fast in the same room is all sil­ver ser­vice. The por­ridge was a lit­tle wa­tery but the scram­bled eggs served on a bed of smoked sal­mon more than made up for that.

There is no in-house spa, but there is com­pli­men­tary use of a lo­cal health club . I pre­ferred to re­lax by tak­ing tea in the gar­den fol­lowed by a game of cro­quet. RATES: Stan­dard room from £420 per night. www.the­gor­ing.com 1 5 9 10 12 13 14 16


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Rooms with dim­mer switches with the Oooh fac­tor. In­set: the gar­den

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