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Eat, Sleep, Drink

Review: The Goring

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When I say this is how the other half live, I’m not talking about celebrities falling out of taxis and shilling their lives on social media: this is a different class entirely. The Goring is the embodiment of quiet luxury.

Tucked away from the congested morass of Victoria Station, and perfectly sited for both travellers and tourists, there exists a haven of Edwardian Baroque preserved for our twenty-first century delectation. It may not have the showy reputation of other London grandees like The Savoy or The Ritz, but The Goring doesn’t need to shout. It whispers, and the whisper is one of pure indulgence. From the red-coated footman waiting to greet you on arrival to the Italian cotton sheets on the sinfully comfortable beds, there is care and attention paid to every, single, conceivable detail; all of which guarantees the most special and memorable of stays.

This level of luxury is far beyond the everyday and offers a glimpse into the very highest echelons of society. During my stay, there were rumours of a ‘senior’ guest in residence in the Royal Suite, but I can’t believe they would have been treated to a warmer welcome than I received. General Manager, Michael Voigt, came to say hello, pressing his card into my hand to assure me he would be on hand should I find myself wanting for anything. I turned to find another smiling face, Guest Relations Manager Samantha, who added her voice to the welcoming chorus behind the check-in desk.

I was escorted to my room, one of the hotel’s Deluxe Garden View Rooms where the lustre of walls lined in Gainsborough silk was matched by the gleam of the wooden furniture which, taking into the account The Goring’s longstanding royal connections, I assumed was the work of the King’s cousin, David Linley. In fact, I spent some minutes sliding open drawers and poking about in the wardrobe for the sheer pleasure of admiring the craftmanship before plomping down onto the king-sized bed. The marble bathroom was plentifully stocked with Asprey’s Purple Water range of toiletries (oh-so regal) and, of course, the requisite robes and slippers. In fact, everywhere I rested my gaze there was something at which to marvel.

Back in the bedroom, I opened the French windows onto a private balcony, sizeable enough to accommodate a table and four wrought iron chairs. On a crisp autumnal day it provided the perfect spot to sit and admire the view of what I learned is the largest hotel garden to be found in central London.

Let me tell you about lovely Elena, who brought me a cup of tea. Well, actually that’s not quite true. She brought me a silver pot of tea, with a plate of just-baked biscuits and a bud vase of pretty flowers. Later, once my husband had arrived to join me, Elena came back to collect the tray and found us sitting on the balcony, drinking the bottle of champagne which had been left in our room as a welcome gift*. ‘You need more ice for the bucket?’ she asked. ‘No, no, please don’t bother’ we replied, reluctant to add to her workload. ‘But you’d like it, yes?’ she insisted with a smile. Well, yes, it would be wonderful but...Minutes later she was back, bucket replenished, champagne back to optimal temperature. Again, attention to detail.

What could be more spoiling than champagne as an aperitif? Only the meal it precedes. We headed down to the Dining Room anticipating something special and we weren’t disappointed. The Goring holds a Michelin Star and was a regular dining spot of the Royal household. The late Queen Elizabeth was known to favour their Eggs Drumkilbo, a decadent shellfish cocktail topped with warming disc of sherry gel upon which perched a dollop of caviar to lend its brininess cutting through the richness of the seafood. This was joined by a chunk of sweet Scottish lobster and a creamy, slightly runny quails egg. It was almost too pretty to eat. Utterly exquisite, as was my husband’s starter of cured mackerel which we learned had been caught that morning in Cornwall.

This is a menu showcasing the very best of British produce: asparagus from St Enodoc, Orkney scallops, Norfolk chicken and Rhug Estate lamb. We opted for the Beef Wellington, for which the hotel is rightly renowned. It was carved at the table by our charming waiter. Here I must pause in heaping superlatives on the food and take a moment to praise all of The Goring’s staff who were unfailingly kind, attentive, professional and friendly. Your every need is anticipated, and every whim indulged. We were one-night stayers, clearly not regular guests, and yet we couldn’t have been made to feel more at home. It genuinely felt as if they were sharing in our delight and enjoyment at all the hotel has to offer. Not only were we fed some of the best food I’ve ever had, but we were also generously supplied with morsels like how Queen Mother took her gin and dubonnet (two ice cubes and heavy on the gin, thank you).

Back to the Wellington, served perfectly pink encased in both mushroom duxelles and a whisper-thin pancake to preserve the integrity of the crisp, buttery pastry. Accompanied by confit onion and pommes puree, it is testament to the kitchen’s wisdom that they know better than to mess with a classic.

For pud we very sensibly opted for one dessert, one cheese and two plates. The single origin chocolate cremeux was feather-light and accompanied by the moreish musky sweetness of Alphonse mango sorbet with passion fruit and sea salt. As we were fighting over the caramel tuile, the cheese trolley rolled into town providing instant distraction and yet more groans of pleasure with its selection of British cheese and wild honey. I should make mention of the Tawny Port which appeared at this point. In fact, all of the wine pairings, as recommended by the sommelier, perfectly augmented what we had eaten. I particularly enjoyed the Lychgate Bacchus which had been suggested with my starter; Bolney Estate in Sussex’s take on Sauvignon Blanc, all crisp fruitiness and the green of fresh-cut grass and nettles.

Completely satiated we rolled into the bar to take in the ambiance over a coffee. Unlike other London hotspots, people spotting here isn’t all trophy wives and lizard skin shoes. Despite the obvious quality, there’s no dazzling bling, although I was transfixed by a group from Texas one of whom was sporting an emerald the size of an eyeball.

Of course by the time we got back to our room the lights had been dimmed and the bed turned down for the night. Equally obviously the first thing we did on waking the next morning after the most wonderful night of luxuriating in the softness of the linen and the cloud-like quality of the mattress, was ask Room Service for coffee which we took onto the balcony to make the most of every moment in this charmed spot. Then, after thoroughly enjoying the powerful showers and ridiculously thick towels we headed back to the Dining Room for a satisfyingly overwhelming array of breakfast options.

I was lucky enough to stay as a guest of the hotel but wouldn’t hesitate to return on my own dime for a special occasion. It isn’t that The Goring is extravagant for the sake of it, but what it offers is the perfect balance between timeless glamour and modern luxury.

www.thegoring.com

Stays at The Goring start at £700. Mention OX magazine when booking to receive a special gift – a bottle of chilled champagne in your bedroom.

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