Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Royal Focus: The Goring Hotel

In a royal twist, St James's Palace announced that Kate Middleton would depart for her wedding, not from one of the royal palaces, like most royal brides, but from the Goring Hotel, in Belgravia, near Buckingham Palace.

Many people might wonder why Kate chose this hotel over one of the royal palaces to mark her last night as a commoner. But looking at the rooms it makes sense. Rumored to be staying in the 5-room Royal Suite, we can easily imagine close-knit Carole and Pippa Middleton preparing Kate for her wedding day. Helping her into her into her wedding gown, calming her nerves, in such an intmate and luxurious setting. And if reports are correct, the entire hotel has been booked to ensure the Middleton family privacy on such an important occasion.

The Goring is a luxury 5-star hotel run by the same family for 100 years. Founded by Otto Richard Goring, it was the last hotel built in the reign of King Edward VII. Opened on March 2,1910, it was the first hotel in the world to have ensuite bathrooms and central heating. Such was the novelty of this feature, that during a 1937 visit by the Norwegian Crown Prince, he stated‘ at Buckingham Palace I have to share a bath with five people! Here I have one to myself’

Throughout its long history, the Goring has hosted many famous guests, including Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, Princess Eugenie of Greece, the royal family of Nepal, Queen Elizabeth II, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and several prominent politicians. In 1930, novelist Anthony Powell was inspired to invent his heroine The Hon. Angela Goring, for his series of novels 'A Dance to the Music of Time' over tea at the hotel.

The connection with the royal family is strong. Queen Mary frequently came for tea with her Lady in Waiting, The Hon. Violet d'Arcy, who lived at the hotel. The King and Queen and their daughters celebrated the end of the Second World War with sausages and scrambled eggs at the Goring, while Prince Charles's 1948 christening cake was made by the pastry chefs. It was Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's favorite hotel, and she made her last public appearance there in 2002.

Featuring Edwardian architecture, the hotel has 71-rooms and in the last 5 years has undergone a £10 million refurbishment. In 1910 the cost of a room was 37P. In 2010, the cost of a 'Splendid Connecting Silk Room is £1,525.00. The Goring has won numerous awards, including Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year in 2009, Hotel of the Year by Virtuoso and Virtuoso Life magazine  in 2010, and Best Service in the UK by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
© Marilyn Braun 2011

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1 comment:

denise said...

Go! I am traveling from the US and I get the mixed reaction too. Some of my friends and family think it is dorkiest thing to do when you can watch it from the boob tube. However these is the other side who think it is collest thing ever! How many people can claim they did something so spontaneous as attend the Royal Wedding! Not many. I do not want life to apss me by. I want to live it where I can, however, I can, I agree the purpose may not be entiely justifiable, but then what activities of the heart are? If "Royalty" anything is what you LOVE to do then attending the Royal wedding is not an option-it is a MUST! Represent!