The Rubens at the Palace, Lon­don

A ho­tel rich in his­tory

Timeless Travels Magazine - - HOTEL REVIEW - by Alice Nor­man

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

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