SW1W 0JW Travel Guide
Part of the new lobby area
One can only assume one’s invite got lost in the post. Fresh off its recent closure, refurbishment and total transformation of the lobby area, The Goring threw a party this week, partly to celebrate its new look, but officially to mark its birthday – 105 years young! Guest of honor was Kate Middleton, who, of course, stayed there during her wedding celebrations and even had the reception there. (Obviously, Kate had seen our photos of the new-look lobby and hurried to see for herself. For unflattering pictures of Kate, see here.)
The party took the form of a lunch, and Kate attended in a personal capacity, while Prince William is on an official visit to China. Eight months pregnant and still dressing up and wearing heels? Guess she didn’t want to fall foul of the Goring’s no-sneakers dress code.
Hotel Refurbishments / Hotel Renovations / London Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Belgravia Hotels / → All Tags
We popped into the bar on Saturday for an opening day drink. The bar itself isn’t so new – they’ve done up one side of it to look like the other, including layering the ceiling in gold leaf – gold leaf!
The rooms have been redone, but we didn’t get a chance to see them – expect pictures next week.
But it’s the lobby that’s seen probably the biggest change – from a traditional, even staid, plain white affair, to this hand-painted number.
Hotel Service Charges / Hotel Service / Snapshot / London Hotels / Belgravia Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Service charges – a topic that’s been in our minds on HC recently. The ethics of room service charges got us all wound up the other week, but what about normal service charges – the type that get added automatically to your bill, before you can say whether or not you wanted to leave a tip?
Automatic gratuities are becoming the norm in London now, with 12.5% the normal whack (apart from our funny little friends at Belgraves who automatically add 15%, thank you very much). For reference, 10% is what one would normally tip in London.
But here is the genteel way to present your service charge:
Hotel Renovations / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Refurbishments / London Hotels / Westminster Hotels / Royal Hotels / → All Tags
Things we never expect to change in London:
The royal family.
The never-ending roadworks.
The inability to make any kind of eye contact on public transport.
That bastion of poshness, the Goring Hotel.
Edit: those were things we never expected to change until this weekend, when we walked past the Goring and found it closed – closed! For the first time in its 105-year history! – for renovation.
The Beeston hat inspired by Belgravia Suite 34 (£795 or $1,325)
The Goring has come up with a plan to save genteel ladies from the embarrassment of having their hat clash with their room's decor by introducing their very own hat collection by British milliner, Gina Foster.
This good news comes in good time for the quintessentially British summer "Season"--the Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot, and plenty of Pimms--so, without further adieu, cue the designs of the The Goring Collection by Gina Foster.
Gainsborough -- This golden beauty was inspired by Room 58 and The Terrace. The hat is covered in the Gainsborough silk that adorns Room 58's walls, and the black ribbon trim mimics the ebonized furniture. And the good news is you'll also go with the décor in The Terrace, with its yellow walls, golden silk curtains and black accents. If you're feeling bold, you can flash a little of Gina's signature hot pink silk lining during a proper Afternoon Tea--so risqué. This smart little number is £750 ($1,250).
Three more winners of their class below!
Holiday Hotels / Hotel Holiday Decorations / Hotel Christmas Trees / London Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel News Brief / Relais & Chateaux / Relais and Chateaux Hotels / → All Tags
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
The Goring (who, as of two weeks ago, became the only London member of Relais & Châteaux) recently unveiled what is, undoubtedly, London’s most unconventional and quintessentially British Christmas tree.
The tree, called “Christmas Rain,” is part of a collection of Christmas trees created for the hotel by British luxury brands. This one is the focal point, though, standing tall at 30 feet in The Goring’s garden, and designed by a fellow Royal Warrant Holder and Britain’s leading rainwear specialist, Fulton Umbrellas (they’re famous for their see-through umbrellas favored by the Royal Family including Wills and Kate and, we expect, little Prince George will follow in their rain-booted footsteps). Rather than regular glass baubles, the tree is decorated with bespoke Fulton umbrellas (ever-at-the-ready for the traditional Christmas rain shower) and a shimmering shower of mirrored raindrops arranged in a waterfall of crystals, beading and sequins.
Hotel Toiletries / Bathroom Tuesdays / Hotel Bathrooms / London Hotels / Hotel Concierges / Bath Menus / Olympics Hotels / → All Tags
Remember when we learned about Andaz Liverpool Street's plans to launch a World Food Marathon menu next month to coincide with the Olympics? Well, it turns out The Goring (aka Kate Middleton's hotel of choice) is preparing a 'global menu' of its own—except you'll find this menu in the bathroom, not the dining room.
The NY Daily News reports that a bath menu wil be available this summer, in order to let guests take "a trip around the world" through different bathroom scents.
But wait, it gets better. The toiletry company that The Goring has tapped for the bath menu program is none other than Molton Brown, one of our personal favorites. We'll take two of everything, please!
An interesting fact we learned last week – looks like Kate Middleton isn’t a geek, techie or social media addict. How do we know? Because when we rocked up to her fave hotel, The Goring, just round the corner from Buckingham Palace and where she stayed the night before her wedding, and partied the night of it, we were confronted by this sign in the lounge, where they serve breakfast.
The Goring Lounge is a place for you to relax and unwind. So we ask you to help us preserve your fellow guests’ sense of tranquility…
· switch off your mobile telephone
· let us look after your computer
· hide away all those business papers
· sit back and relax!
Did Prince Harry jump from a balcony at The Goring Hotel the night before the Royal Wedding? The Daily Mail sure
hopes thinks so, citing an anonymous source who said Prince Harry was the life of the party until 3am when he leaped off a balcony from the hotel's veranda.
The paper has even created a helpful diagram to show us how Hot Ginger may have done the act. But apparently, he was not so suave in pulling off the feat. The
hotel waiter source tells the Mail:
He had struggled to climb up the railings to get into position, so when he jumped over the edge he did so rather unsteadily and landed awkwardly next to a flower bed.
'He flinched for just a moment before he stood up, rubbing his ankle. Then he looked up, smiled and waved to a roar of cheers before disappearing on to the lawn where there was a secret exit.
Royals, they are just like us! They do stupid things at rehearsal dinners too, making them unbearably hungover for the big day.
Royal Wedding Hotels / Kate Middleton / Prince William / Royal Hotels / London Hotels / Sweet Suites / → All Tags
It was rumored that Kate Middleton would be spending her last night as a free lady at The Goring and now it seems she may even spend her first night hitched there. There are rumors floating out thereindeed a little more than a rumorthat this year's most-toasted couple may hole up in the five-star hotel before flitting off on the real honeymoon.
And why wouldn’t they? After all the hotel is on the brink of debuting a special Royal Suite in April, just in time for the big nuptial event. The new suite, designed by hot hotel designer of the moment Russell Sage, will be spread over the whole top floor of the hotel; the idea being it's like someone’s home rather than a hotel room. Further details include that the suite will have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study, a baby grand piano and Juliet-style balconies.
Celebrity Scoop / Kate Middleton / Prince William / Royal Wedding Hotels / Royal Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
Looks like princess-to-be Kate Middleton is thinking about spending her last night as a free lady at The Goring. Bachlorette party! We wonder if the royal stripper will pay her a visit on the evening before the big day.
Middleton is mulling over spending the night at The Goring on the eve of her April 29 nuptials to Prince William because it's where her family and pals will shack up for the wedding extravaganza.
We just happened to stroll past the proud facade of the stately hotel recently, and sitting as it does around the corner from Buckingham Palace, we hear that taking tea here comes with a slight chance of being in the company of royals. Of course, it'll cost ya. Afternoon tea service here runs from 25 GBP ($38) per person for the regular selection, or 34 GBP ($52) per person for the whole deal with a glass of champagne. And we haven't even talked about room rates yet, which occasionally dip as low as $450 a night, but that's if you're lucky.
Perhaps we'll return when the outdoor terrace opens up in mid-May, and then we have our tea and our royals and our champagne and our sunshine, too.