HOTEL OF THE WEEK
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
21 22 24
26 27 28 29
Rooms with dimmer switches with the Oooh factor. Inset: the garden