The Goring Hotel, known for its refined, very English opulence is the last family-owned luxury hotel in London. With over a hundred years in business the hotel has a wealth of history and experience, being a firm favorite with the royal family since it’s opening. The closest hotel to Buckingham Palace, The Goring has served everyone from George VI, The Queen Mother, Her Majesty The Queen and famously Kate Middleton before the royal wedding. Naturally, this saw the appointment of a Royal Warrant to The Goring in 2013, and whats more, is the only hotel to hold this status.
On arrival, the Royal Warrant is modestly displayed on the outside of the building and immediately know that you are in for a special time. Led by Jeremy Goring, the hotel has undergone a major refurbishment from top-to-toe with help from his designer friends David Linley, Nina Campbell, Tim Gosling and Russell Sage. This is evident immediately on entering, along with a warm and intimidate atmosphere.
The understated splendor and décor is perfectly fitting for the historic building whilst nodding to the contemporary. The Front Hall and ground floor is decorated with hand-painted wallpaper, with a whimsical scene depicting an English parkland complete with exotic animals. “It’s luxurious and glamorous, it recognizes our past, but it’s also sophisticated and very contemporary. And most important of all, I think it will make our guests smile” says Jeremy Goring.
It is not surprising then, that this 5 star hotel celebrates the much-loved English tradition that is afternoon tea, and is rather good at it. The Goring has won awards for their afternoon tea, including the prestigious Top London Afternoon Tea Award selected by The British Tea Guild Council. The Goring has three variations on offer: Traditional Afternoon Tea, Bollinger Afternoon Tea and Bollinger Rosé Afternoon Tea, the latter seeing the addition of champagne for that extra-special experience.
As expected the staff are utterly attentive, and guests are offered to take tea either in the Bar & Lounge near a cozy roaring fire, The Terrace that overlooks The Goring Gardens or outside on The Veranda for warmer weather. We decided to go for The Bollinger Afternoon Tea on The Veranda. This began with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne, accompanied with handpicked strawberries and cream.
Next comes the tea, and with an extensive tea list there is truly something for everyone, from white teas to green, berry and herbal infusions. Many of their teas are individually sourced from the best suppliers globally, from estates in Sri Lanka to small family owned plantations in the Himalayas. Familiar teas are on offer such as Earl Grey and Assam, along with other Goring selected teas, including, Lapsang Souchong (smoky with a sweet ginger and caramel aftertaste), Ceylon (full bodied and spicy), Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend (a balance of Assam and Ceylon, for a smooth and honey-like flavor). When at The Goring, we went for their specially designed, Goring Afternoon Blend, which mixes Assam and Darjeeling for a light and delicate flavor.
A delicious selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones followed with the tea. Sandwiches included salt beef and horseradish mayonnaise, ham & mustard, smoked salmon & soft cheese with dill and the classic cucumber with mint & crème fraiche. The freshly baked, warm homemade scones would even have Mary Berry green with envy; perfect in size and texture, the fruit and plain scones were served with thick Devonshire clotted cream and homemade jams, (and co-incidentally, the best jams I’ve tasted). Beautifully delicate cakes and pastries topped off the tier stand of delight, serving traditional battenberg cake, raspberry and pistachio choux, mandarin dome, melt in the mouth white chocolate mouse and strawberry jam on crumble, and a bergamot meringue tartlet. Thoroughly considerate, a gluten-free tea can be requested in advance for guests with dietary requirements.
For a perfectly regal afternoon, it seems that there is no arguing with the Royal Warrant as this must be the best afternoon tea in London.
Bollinger Afternoon Tea from £52.50
The Goring Hotel, Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW.