x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

The Goring, London

Hotel Insider You don't check in at The Goring, you are received as if arriving for a weekend as an honoured guest of the Lord of the Manor.

A view of the Goring's relaxing gardens.
A view of the Goring's relaxing gardens.

As polite, efficient and English as they come. Uniformed porters, doormen and the wonderful ­concierge all leap into action. It's not servility so much as eagerness to please. You don't check in at The Goring, you are received as if arriving for a weekend as an honoured guest of the Lord of the Manor.

Very regal. The hotel is a short corgi walk from Buckingham Palace, which is one reason why the late Queen Mother used to pop in for tea quite a lot. Foreign royals and other dignitaries have been camping out here for years due to its proximity to "Buck House". It's a seven-minute walk from Victoria Station and about a 20-minute walk from Mayfair and Park Lane.

All those who dream of having a pied-à-terre in London should come and stay at The Goring and see how comfortable a city pad can get. After a day pounding the mean streets of the "Smoke", there can be few things more soothing than ­returning to your room, having a long hot Molton Brown bath, ­getting snug in a bathrobe and ­resting your weary feet on one of the in-room sheep stools. A "sheep stool" consists of a wooden base on which sits a soft, comforting sheep fleece.

The owner, Jeremy Goring, and his team have merged old-fashioned English service (remember when staying in a hotel made you feel like a celebrity or long-lost friend?) with modern efficiency and style. The staff are unflappable, unstintingly helpful and with just the right amount of humour. Hotels ­sometimes have high and low points with service across different departments - The Goring's standard is universally high.

Anything you like and he'll have an answer for you in seconds. One morning I came bounding up in a bit of a hurry and began to ask: "How do I…?" He already knew the question as well as the answer and produced a map. "The nearest Underground station is Victoria. From here, turn left, left again, 100 yards, cross the road, head for the ­mainline station and down the stairs. I'd leave in 10 minutes to miss rush hour."

Undeniably English. Lords and ladies up from the shires and in town for parties, galleries and the theatre. Discerning anglophile Americans also frequent and ­Middle Eastern families are discovering its joys too. The restaurant's decor, designed by Viscount Linley (the Queen's nephew), includes bold striped chairs and a remarkable cherry blossom chandelier. A charming garden at the rear ­completes the English scene. In the garden guests can walk and relax, alfresco business meetings can be held and impromptu parties are not unheard of.

Best hotel breakfast I can remember. Perfect porridge with honey and brown sugar, kippers flown in from Scotland, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon (also direct from the rivers of Scotland).

If I am being really picky, one of my waiters at breakfast was ­Eastern European and spoke little English. His delightful manner, ­dedication and determination to succeed was enough to win me over but the ­language ­barrier could be a ­problem for some guests, ­especially those hoping that the English theme continues ­throughout the staff.

This is the last privately owned five-star hotel in London and my goodness that makes a difference. In a city awash with mediocre hotels, it stands out as the paramount ­temporary address.

The Goring Hotel

Beeston Place, Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0JW, UK

Tel: +044 207 396 9000


Doubles from Dh2,150