best foot forward
The Goring in London is a very special place indeed. Not only is it the only hotel in the world to hold a Royal Warrant of appointment to HM The Queen, the luxury establishment has remained family-owned and run since it opened in 1910. Beside The Goring’s unique features, such as its splendid garden – the largest one in central London – and 69 opulently furnished rooms and suites, the hotel has cemented its legendary status thanks to its outstanding service.
Polished and discreet, yet warm and highly personalised, experiencing The Goring’s signature service is a pleasure unlike any other – particularly if it’s in one of their five suites. Since the hotel’s 105th birthday in 2015, guests staying in the Royal Suite (from £8,400/RM47,675 per night) or a Belgravia Suite (from £2,500/RM14,188 per night) have been attended to by expertly trained, personable footmen. “Everyone has butlers," David Morgan-Hewitt, Managing Director of The Goring, remarked at the time the footmen were newly introduced, “But people with real style have footmen."
The team of five footmen pride themselves on seeing to each guest’s needs throughout their stay in their suite, be it fetching an overseas newspaper (and even ironing it), hand-shaking martinis for guests during cocktail hour, or accompanying them shopping. “Our guests do say that it feels as if the footmen are their own staff," says one experienced footman. “This is because we, as footmen, are dedicated to our guests, so we have time to carry out the tasks they require.
“The Goring is known for its personality as well as for luxury, so creating a memorable, special stay is very important. An impeccably English experience is what we offer: being formal without being stiff, and being humorous without being familiar. We aim to be courteous and to give our guests a genuine sense of hospitality and care. The impression we want to leave is one where the guest feels at home, and wants to come back again."
Far from being an antiquated luxury, The Goring’s footmen combine the best of British traditions with modern, dazzlingly efficient service. Just as they know how to tie a bow tie properly, they’ll ensure your iPhone is charging while you’re working your way through the breakfast menu in The Dining Room downstairs. Without blinking an eye, they’ll walk you to London Victoria Station and suggest good Instagram spots along the way – still in their scarlet tailcoat, no less.
Getting to grips with The Goring’s own traditions never hurts, of course, and as the aforementioned footman points out, they’re only too happy to assist you with that. “A scone with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam after visiting Buckingham Palace might be preferred, while canapés from our Michelin-starred kitchen served with drinks is another long-standing ritual. And," he adds, “some of my footmen colleagues are a dab hand at croquet and are delighted to give a tip or two on technique."