The Goring Hotel

15 Beeston Pl, London SW1W 0JW, United Kingdom

The royal family has made this intimate hotel their home-away-from-home since Otto Goring first opened its doors in 1910—which is why it’s the only hotel to hold an official Royal Warrant for hospitality services, bestowed in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II, who has been enjoying lunches and teas here since she was a child. Set on a quiet Belgravia side street, just a few blocks from Buckingham Palace, the elegant hotel also hosted nobility, both foreign and domestic, during the coronations of King George VI and the current queen, and—as the first hotel in the U.K. with en suite bathrooms—often served as a convenient place for dignitaries to freshen up prior to an audience at the Palace.

Today, the 69-room spot—which is still owned by the same family—caters to a devoted (and primarily American) clientele, who love the intimate feel, central location, and excellent service, not to mention the rare perks like a back garden. Rooms are cushy and comfortable, with traditionally English décor (silk wallpaper, vintage-inspired headboards, Italian linens, and oversized armchairs) and playful details (pops of color, giant stuffed sheep mascots peeking around corners, and an in-room lighting switch with choices like “Bright,” “Cozy,” and “Oooh”). Upgrade to a suite to enjoy more room and dedicated service from one of the legendary footmen, identifiable by their gold-embroidered scarlet coats. (For even more perks, check in to the gorgeous, two-bedroom Royal Suite, which boasts four-poster beds, a grand piano, a six-seat dining room, antique glassware, and a life-sized portrait of Queen Victoria in the shower.) A steady stream of locals of all ages join hotel guests for lunch on the garden terrace, drinks around the gleaming wood bar or in the fireplace lounge, and the famous Afternoon Tea—just book early for the latter, as there can be a months-long wait list.

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Get the Royal Treatment in London

Guests are meant to feel like royalty when they stay at the Goring. After all, this historic hotel in London‘s Belgravia neighborhood is where Kate Middleton stayed the night before the Royal Wedding (and yes,you can request the Royal Suite she stayed in). The Goring’s garden, the largest private hotel garden in the city, has been the setting of some of London’s high society parties. While guests might not get an invite, they can experience the hotel’s garden over alfresco afternoon tea. The Goring is famous for its tea service and offers more than 21 teas, including their own blend of Assam, along with finger sandwiches and scones with Devonshire clotted cream. Around 5pm, the hotel celebrates happy hour by delivering a bespoke cocktail to guest rooms (pictured). The late-day drink is meant to wet the appetite for dinner in the dining room. In 2014 chef Shay Cooper took over the the kitchen and he’s been impressing foodies with dishes such as cured sea bream with pickled fennel, sorrel and lemon purée and his stellar lobster omelette with duck fat chips and lobster Caesar salad.

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