When it comes to the capital’s most iconic hotels, The Royal Horseguards in Whitehall tops the list. Situated on the banks of the River Thames at the Embankment, it is an impressive building steeped in rich history, a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, and offers a quintessentially British experience for affluent guests visiting the capital.
One of the proudest establishments of the Guoman Hotels group, this luxurious hideaway is a sanctuary away from the crowds of the city, and the perfect place to relax while being treated like royalty while enjoying spectacular views of the river. I was recently invited to come and stay, and the experience was truly second to none. An opulent five-star property that makes the perfect base for exploring the city, here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking of making a reservation – and if you’re not, you soon will be.
Spread across two beautiful and iconic buildings, the hotel includes the National Liberal Club, which has hosted historic icons such as Churchill, Gladstone and Lloyd-George over the years since its construction, and the magnificent club apartments, which were once the home of the first head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.
This breathtaking Grade I listed building, built in 1844 to emulate an exquisite French chateau, remains one of the finest examples of architecture in the English capital, with a fascinating history behind it as a former home and office of the first head of MI6, Mr Mansfield Cumming.
Inside, Victorian grandeur meets elegant, first-class contemporary comfort, with splendor and opulence evident everywhere you look. Think traditional styling, rich, dark woods and red upholstery, with an equine theme evoked through bronze ornamentation and jaw-dropping artwork. Plush furnishings fill the lobby and common areas, with plush sofas and plush armchairs in decadent, tactile ruby red velvet and a shimmering chandelier making an impressive centerpiece in the reception area.
Rooms and suites
The Royal Horseguards is home to 282 bedrooms and five sumptuous suites, three of which enjoy spectacular views of the Embankment, the River Thames and the London Eye. The Tower Suite is the star of the show, spread over two floors and located in its own private turret at the very top of the hotel. Promising a real-life fairy tale experience for guests who choose to stay there, its panoramic views of the twinkling city lights are second to none – and on New Year’s Eve, when the light show begins, you’ll have the le best seat in the house in the sprawling second-floor living room, with huge windows offering 270-degree vistas.
Accessed through a private entrance hall, it offers the utmost in exclusivity and seclusion for those looking for a quiet and discreet place to stay, and has a spacious bedroom with a sumptuous king-size bed and an opulent bathroom. en-suite marble bathroom on the first floor.
Most of the standard rooms also overlook the river or the hotel gardens – my River View King Room being one of the first. The walls here are neutral-toned, creating an understated backdrop for the sleek wooden furnishings, with luxurious touches including crisp Egyptian cotton linens, easy-to-use individual climate control, and a 49-inch smart TV. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms and elsewhere in the hotel. So whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll have no trouble staying connected.
For added convenience, king rooms also feature universal power outlets and a personal safe. The en-suite bathroom is the perfect haven to unwind after a busy day navigating the bustle of the capital, with heated floors and towel rails, monsoon shower and complimentary Elemis beauty products at handy. experience. There are also beautifully soft bathrobes and slippers on hand to wrap you up in when you’re done and settle in for a peaceful evening of in-room fun, or before heading out to dinner.
Food and drink
The name of the hotel’s main restaurant, One Twenty One Two, is inspired by the building’s former neighbour, Scotland Yard and is derived from the world-famous telephone number: Whitehall 1212. Here you will find an appetizing menu inspired seasons. , with only the finest fresh, artisanal ingredients used to bring each of its creative and beautifully presented dishes to life.
Highlights of the starter selection include the roulade of smoked salmon and citrus cream, served with creamy avocado mousse, tangy tomato salsa and a sprinkle of watercress with basil; and the melt-in-your-mouth scallop tempura, which is subtly spiced up with the accompanying lentil dahl and curry oil, but cooled enough with a dollop of yogurt.
On the main course, and you can expect to be spoiled for choice, with a host of modern twists on some of the traditional dishes we know and love. There’s the double-cooked free-range chicken supreme with hispi cabbage and bacon, creamy mash and sherry sauce and mushrooms, perfect if you’re looking for comfort food. Or, for something lighter, choose the tender seared halibut with prawns in a Thai red curry sauce, served with sweet and crunchy mangetout and aromatic basmati rice.
Carnivores will no doubt love the grilled 10-ounce rib eye steak with chimichurri and triple-cooked fries, but there’s something to satisfy vegetarians and vegans too – cauliflower steak au gratin with hard Italian cheese. vegan with chilli, garlic and shallots, to nutrient-dense superfood salad.
There are also plenty of decadent desserts to satisfy the sweet tooth. For something really indulgent, the hot chocolate brownie or the hot chocolate fudge with salted caramel ice cream are both must-haves, while if you’re feeling a little full from all the delicious food you’ve eaten so far , Kent strawberries with whipped cream should do the trick.
After dinner, head to the Equus Bar, which, with its chic and sophisticated ambience, is the perfect place for a nightcap, as well as to start an evening on the town. Warm and charming, mixed with a decidedly modern touch, it also offers an enticing cocktail menu featuring signature drinks designed to evoke the hotel’s rich and diverse history.
The terrace, located at the rear of the hotel is a must visit this summer and currently offers the ultimate secret garden inspired experience in a secluded haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A hidden gem where you’ll find an impressive list of cocktails and spritzes to choose from and enjoy al fresco while watching the sun set beyond the horizon, the hotel’s famous views of the River Thames and London Eye are at their best here.
And of course, in keeping with its quintessentially British atmosphere, it’s only fitting that the hotel serves one of the capital’s best afternoon teas, with a decadent menu brimming with bespoke loose house teas. , elegant sandwiches, delicious handmade cakes and pastries. , and strawberries and cream. Highlights include the freshly baked fruit and plain scones with homemade jam and clotted cream, the lemon and honey macaroon and the upside-down gooseberry Victoria – but these are just examples for you whet your appetite.
The experience starts from just £39 per person and can be enjoyed in the opulent yet traditional setting of the hotel for a truly authentic experience. There’s also a private dining room for parties of 10 or more if you’re celebrating something special – and you can add a glass of Moet each for an extra £10 to wash it all down.
The hotel has a wide range of wedding, conference and event spaces under the One Whitehall Place building, including the Gladstone Library and the Reading and Writing Room – so if you are thinking of booking a stay for work or for party purposes, then this is the the perfect place.
The hotel’s prime location on Embankment means it’s close to some of the city’s most iconic sites, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. There is therefore plenty to see and do in the immediate vicinity if you are visiting the capital for tourism purposes.
And, with Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Oxford Street easily accessible via the city’s underground network – the nearest station being Charing Cross – then London’s endless array of shops, restaurants, bars and theaters are just a one or two stops.
In a word
A sumptuous five-star hideaway steeped in history and heritage and steeped in tradition, if you’re looking for a beautiful, well-located and quintessentially British place to stay when visiting the capital, then The Royal Horseguards is the place to be. need to be.
Address: 2 Whitehall Ct, London SW1A 2EJ
Call: 020 7523 5062