The Rubens at the Palace, London
A hotel rich in history
There is nothing like spending a night wallowing in history, and this can easily be done in London with its many historic hotels. But The Rubens at the Palace can boast one of the longest histories and superb royal connections.
A 4-star hotel, The Rubens, has 161 unique rooms and suites of luxury accommodation. It is located just minutes from Victoria station and is directly opposite the Royal Mews and just behind Buckingham Palace.
And it is the palace connection that starts its long history. The story begins in the 1600s, when it was part of the grounds of Arlington House. In 1698, the property came into the hands of John Sheffield, the Earl of Mulgrave. Due to his loyalty to the House of Stewart, Queen Anne appointed him Lord Privy Seal and gave him the title of the Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703, after which he set about building the grand Buckingham
House. After his death in 1721, he was succeeded by his son who sold the house and its land to King George III for £21,000 in 1761. George renamed the house Buckingham Palace.
In the 17th century, houses sprang up around the palace to accommodate the staff, and by 1752 the house on the site of the hotel used to provide accommodation to middle ranking palace servants such as housekeepers and footmen. In 1890 it was acquired by the Aerated Bread Company which had 250 cafés across London.
At the beginning of the 20th century it became a hotel and was one of London’s leading hotels from the start – it was also the popular place to stay for young debutantes visiting the palace. In World War II it was taken over by the Polish resistance and there is a plaque outside the hotel commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of General Sikoroski, leader of the Free State of Poland. General de Gaulle also came to dinner here during the war. In 1997, it became part of the Red Carnation Group and underwent a number of refurbishments, the latest in 2017, designed to reflect the history and luxury of the past.
As you would therefore expect from a hotel of this calibre, the rooms are sumptuously furnished and attention to detail is second to none (not only can you choose what type of pillow you prefer, the choice includes special neck ones). And because the hotel is an amalgamation of a number of buildings, no two rooms are the same shape or decoration, which is nice.
The Palace Lounge, run with much care and attention by Melanie, serves a mouthwatering afternoon tea and overlooks the Royal Mews. There is a choice of dining with two restaurants, the Curry Room and the English Grill, and I had one of the best breakfasts I have ever had here: my Eggs Benedict were superb and the relaxed surroundings meant I lingered with my friends for over an hour enjoying the superb hospitality.
With its fantastic location and luxurious accommodation this is your chance to stay close to Buckingham Palace and be a part of history in the making.
Above, left to right: The hotel is very close to Buckingham Palace; Entrance to the hotel; General Sikoroski; The front of the hotel in the early 19th century Right: A refurbished junior suite