Traditional, $$ ($260)
When London hosted the first-ever World’s Fair in 1851, known as The Great Exhibition, over six million curious minds — Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, and Charlotte Brontë among them — flocked to Hyde Park, hoping for a glimpse of the cutting-edge inventions on display that would propel England and the world through the 19th century. As it happens, some of those six million people needed a place to stay: enter The Gore. Located just steps from the exhibition site in Hyde Park, the property was originally built to house visitors who wanted to stay in the “most fashionable area of the city.” In serving this purpose, The Gore was a hotel in all but name until it officially opened its doors to the public in 1892. Little has changed in 127 years: South Kensington is still one of London’s most fashionable areas. A Victorian-era aesthetic still permeates every fibre of the hotel. And The Gore London is still known for the hospitality that was at the core of its founding.
At a Glance
Style: An homage to bygone Tudor and Victorian London, with an eccentric blend of stylized antique period pieces and original 18th- and 19th-century decor.
Standout Detail: Starhotel Collezione’s Classic Car Experience, in which guests can see London from the passenger side of a 1970s ex-Crown Jaguar DS420 Daimler limousine (the Queen Mother’s favorite), 1920s Rolls Royce, Lord Mountbatten’s vintage Daimler ‘Silver Baroness,’ or a 1956 Bentley S1 for a very glamorous drive.
This Place Is Perfect For: History buffs, nostalgic romantics, and lovers of all things vintage, who will be awed by the property’s distinctive antique style.
Rooms: Fifty, all uniquely designed and individually furnished with elegant, old-world taste. Whittled wooden headboards, sumptuous valances and heavy roped drapes, gilded mirrors and frames, decadent chandeliers, four-poster canopy beds, rich colors, and textured accents are nothing short of regal in appearance. Choice amenities like Frette linens, robes, and towels and Penhaligon toiletries, free WiFi, and an in-room smartphone service that provides guests with free and unlimited international calling come standard in every room.
On Site: Les Clefs d'Or concierges, two elegant private event spaces (one of which, the Tapestry Room, was the site of the Rolling Stone’s Beggars Banquet album launch party in 1968), an intimate library, and 24-hour room service.
Food and Drink: 190 Queen’s Gate, under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche, serves traditional, rustic British fare that bears traces of his French heritage. Two evening menus, pre-theater and a la carte, are an exemplar of classic haute cuisine, like Norfolk quail and rump of lamb. Before dinner service beings, guests can sip fanciful teas and infusions — many of which were custom-made for the hotel — and nibble on a selection of pastries and sandwiches at daily afternoon tea, served from 12:30 – 5:30. Bar 190 pays tribute to the Rolling Stones’ launch of Beggars Banquet at The Gore in 1968 with Stones paraphernalia for a slightly edgier, Rock ‘n’ Roll feel.
What to Do Nearby
Although South Kensington is a largely residential area, there’s no shortage of attractions within easy walking distance of the hotel: Royal Albert Hall, one of the city’s foremost performance centers, and Hyde Park, London’s largest royal park, are mere steps away, and Kensington Palace, the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria & Albert Museum are all less than a 10-minute walk. Neighboring Knightsbridge, the upscale shopping district that’s home to Harrods, is your destination for all things retail, and to the south, Chelsea comes alive after dark.