To really appreciate the Goring you should bring three things with you:
1) An insensitivity to price,
2) A preference for being served, rather than doing it yourself, and
3) An appreciation of Upper Crust traditions and cachet.
If you do, you should have a marvelous time at the Goring. But we did not quite meet those standards. Trying to be somewhat economical, we booked a standard queen bedded room at the lowest rate, and chose the nonrefundable advance payment option to further reduce the cost. As a result when we checked in on a fully booked Saturday night we were put in room 24, which, instead of looking out over a lovely croquet court in the center of the hotel, sits at the bottom of an interior air shaft. Fair enough; we paid the minimum and got the minimum room. Lesson learned. Also at our rate, neither internet nor breakfast was included, and internet costs 5 pounds an hour, which has to be used all at once, or 15 pounds a day. Fortunately, there is a nice little room off the stairs between the second and third floors with an adequate Dell computer, and a free internet connection. It was always available whenever we needed it.
That said, the room was immaculately clean, as is the whole hotel, nicely decorated, with wonderful linens and sumptuous towels on a heated rack in the marble and wood paneled bathroom. The ventilation was individually controlled, quiet, and responsive. And the room and hotel itself was very quiet and restful. Being an older building, there are relatively few plugs available for charging your electronics, no outlet in the bathroom suitable for a hairdryer, limited drawer and closet space, and no in-room refrigerator, mini-bar, or coffee maker. We were there for five nights and did ask for an in-room coffee maker, having read that this was available. We got a tray with an electric kettle, tea and instant coffee, and milk, which worked out well. The TV is an older console model, not a current flat screen, and takes forever to warm up, but it works.
The lifts between the lobby and guest rooms are very small, but seem readily available and work well. The single room key came on a very large brass tag, and we were asked to leave it at the concierge desk whenever we left the hotel. That worked out fine, as there was never any wait to retrieve it.
The ground floor has an attractive large lounge where both tea and cocktails can be enjoyed, a more intimate bar area, and a formal dining room. Our first night we had a very nice lamb sandwich with “chips” – steak fries in the states – and a Caesar salad, with cocktails in the bar. Very nice. Another night we had a club sandwich and the Caesar salad in the room, which came promptly and was also fine. Unfortunately the night we did the pre-theater dinner in the dining room was not so good. The dining room itself, the service, and the wine were all excellent. But the choices for pre-theater were limited, and both the chicken and vegetables and the salmon that we ordered were exceedingly bland. The former consisted of some pieces of chicken that looked as though they had been boiled in broth, along with half a carrot and half a stalk of celery, all swimming in the broth We would have been disappointed in either meal at one-third the price. We did not try the beef wellington or the caviar on the menu, and it may be that another evening or a different choice of items would be better. The good news is that it is a five minute walk to Victoria Station, so there are good options in the area.
The service from everyone was excellent, and the place is impeccably furnished, immaculately clean, quiet, and well located. If you don’t care about the price, and love being served, go for it. But if you are looking for value or prefer self service, you might want to look for other options.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Having been lovingly refurbished, The Goring has entered a new era, yet retains its time-honoured style and exceptional service. The small, intimate hotel stands out from the crowd as London's last family-owned luxury hotel, as well as its unique Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen and one of the largest private gardens in the capital - an urban oasis. Nestled in fashionable Belgravia, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, this fantastic London location offers guests easy access to Knightsbridge, Mayfair and more - perfect for shopping and theatre, work and play. The hotel's sumptuous bedrooms and suites offer supreme comfort and the finest furnishings, whilst The Dining Room and Bar & Lounge serve the best in British food, irresistible cocktails and an award-winning traditional afternoon tea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Goring Hotel London
- Goring London
- The Goring London, England