Over the past few years, with a little help from his designer friends including David Linley, Nina Campbell, Tim Gosling and Russell Sage, Jeremy Goring has overseen the top-to-toe renovation of the whole hotel, from the ground floor to each and every guestroom and suite. Even the garden has been re-landscaped.
The new-look Front Hall and the ground floor is now resplendent with exquisite hand-painted wallpaper by Fromental, whose wallcoverings already grace many of The Goring’s suites and guestrooms. A collaboration between designer Russell Sage, the hotel and Fromental, the result is a charming mix of the relaxed sophistication of a grand English country house – and a dash of idiosyncratic humour that one would expect from The Goring.
The whimsical scene, from floor to ceiling, shows an English parkland, but look closer and all is not what it seems. Exotic animals, a walrus, raj elephants, a hippo on a rock, snakes and a bear, cavort through the landscape. As designer Russell Sage says, “Imagine if all the animals in London Zoo had escaped into Hyde Park… take a closer look and the scene gets curiouser and curiouser…. “
The artists have also woven The Goring family story into the scenes. A monkey on horseback in full racing silks references George Goring’s love of riding and sports; a sleek seal is a nod to Jeremy Goring’s love of surfing; two imposing walruses, in full jewelled splendour, represent OR Goring and OG Goring, the founder of the hotel and his son. The judge’s wig on the head of the erudite-looking gorilla hails Managing Director David Morgan-Hewitt’s law degree. And, in this most English of hotels, the Lion and the Unicorn, in full heraldic splendour battle it out forever, a discreet reference to Royal Warrant displayed outside the hotel.
The wallpaper, which took four artists almost eight weeks to paint, is hand-gilded silver leaf on paper, with the design hand painted in acrylics.
Resplendent new Reception and Concierge desks designed especially for the space evoke the grandeur of Georgian Chippendale furniture. A specialist commission of golden Gainsborough Silk adorns the windows, echoing the sumptuousness of the bedrooms and suites upstairs. The entrance to the restaurant has an elegant new look, seamlessly complementing the calm interiors of the Dining Room. The Gentleman’s cloakroom has been refitted in new black and white marble, adding even more comfort and luxury.
Jeremy Goring says: “Sorry we had to close, but it was worth it! The whole hotel is gleaming for our 105th birthday and the new Front Hall is gorgeous. It’s what we are all about. It’s luxurious and glamorous, it recognises our past, but it’s also sophisticated and very contemporary. And most important of all, I think it will make our guests smile.”