Many historic family-owned hotels within Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection of 47 properties welcomed guests during the 1940s, and are still offering the same levels of exceptional hospitality today. Here are four examples:
Deep in the heart of Belgravia, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace is The Goring, London’s only five-star luxury hotel that is still owned and run by the family that built it. During the Second World War the hotel remained open, with guests choosing delicacies from a popular Hors d’Oeuvre trolley and feasting on roast beef served with fresh vegetables brought in from Mrs Goring’s own garden. Last year, The Dining Room at The Goring received its first Michelin star under the eye and talent of Chef Shay Cooper and the hotel remains committed to serving the finest British food such as its renowned Beef Wellington alongside favourites such as Eggs Drumkilbo and an indulgent Lobster Omelette. Most of all, The Goring is famous for its unerring good service, delivered by long-standing staff who really care about their guests.
Expect roaring log fires, ancient oak beams and a top-notch spa at the luxurious 15th century Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa. During World War II, US Army Air Force and UK forces stationed near Lavenham frequented the hotel. Although long departed, their names remain inscribed on the walls of the Old Bar. Renamed the Airmen’s Bar, it’s also full of their memorabilia as well as a list of the servicemen who took up the challenge of downing 3.5 pints of ale from a glass boot.
Following the declaration of war, Thurlestone, the luxury hotel near Salcombe in Devon, was taken over in 1941 by the Royal Marines as an officer training depot. The hotel was returned to its owners in 1946 and, following extensive repairs, re-opened as a hotel again. The property has been run by the Grose family since 1896, and in recent years, has added a luxurious spa.
Located on Cornwall’s beautiful Roseland Peninsula and overlooking Carne beach, The Nare Hotel, a traditional English country house hotel, is surrounded by sub-tropical gardens. In 1940, pupils from St Peter’s Prep School in Essex were evacuated to The Nare Hotel until 1941, when the hotel was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence and occupied by the Army until 1945. Understandably, for security reasons, prep school boys were not welcome overlooking practice D-day landings for General Eisenhower and his American troops on Carne Beach. Several concrete pill boxes (machine gun posts) overlook Carne beach and are still visible today. Winston Churchill even visited General Eisenhower’s HQ, located at Smugglers Cottage, Tolverne, on the Fal River, where hotel guests now embark in the hotel’s motor launch, Alice Rose, for days out on the river.
The Pride of Britain Hotels collection of 47 independent luxury hotels, proudly practising the art of great hospitality on a daily basis, spans the UK.
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