In the UK, the Victorian era was a time of remarkable, unprecedented discovery.
In the 1800s, the world welcomed an astounding number of inventions including the railway, telegraph, bicycle, typewriter, and even the flushing toilet. Also during this period, the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Royal Albert Hall all opened in London’s Kensington district.
In 1892, on the doorstep of these major attractions, The Gore Hotel welcomed its first guests. And more than 100 years later, this classical boutique hotel is still delighting guests with its period charm and enduring heritage, enlivened with a surprising modish twist.
A member of Preferred Hotels & Resort’s Lifestyle Collection, The Gore is located on Queen’s Gate, an elegant thoroughfare lined with grand, white buildings – many of which are now embassies. An ideal destination for visitors who have already done the West End and wish to explore a different side of London, The Gore allows guests to step into a world of classical style and understated luxury that is unmistakably British.
In harmony with the hotel’s heritage, each of The Gore’s 50 rooms and suites is adorned with grand four-poster beds, classical furniture and period paintings. The dark wood panelling could make the rooms feel dark, but the large windows allow natural light to flood in, creating an ambience that is bright and spacious yet cosy and welcoming.
For guests seeking the full English experience, The Tudor Room travels back a few more centuries to deliver a taste of Elizabethan grandeur, complete with high oak-beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace and candelabras.
It is unusual in a review to comment on the hotel’s toilets, but at The Gore they are so impressive it seems remiss to overlook them. Raised on a platform in the bathroom, these grand wooden thrones (an accurate description of their regal stature, rather than a slang term) are connected to elevated iron cisterns with pull chains. The Victorians gave the world the flushing toilet – they were clearly proud of their invention.
Happily, the size of the toilet does not come at the expense of other bathroom facilities. The bathtub is large and adorned with classical fittings, providing the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing soak at the end of a day trawling the area’s many museums.
While the hotel’s period style is enchanting, there is a danger that The Gore’s modern identity could be suffocated by such a thick a blanket of old-world charm. What allows the hotel to breathe however is effortless style and contemporary chic of its F&B outlets.
While the Kensington area is blessed with a large number of quality restaurants, few are as highly-rated as The Gore’s own dining room, 190 Queens Gate, which is overseen by Michelin-starred French chef Daniel Galmiche and serves a wonderfully simple menu – lamb, fish, chicken – cooked to absolute perfection using locally sourced ingredients.
In the room opposite, Bar 190 catapults The Gore out of the stuffy 1800s and into the swinging 60s. This was the setting for the album launch of Beggar’s Banquet, widely considered to be the Rolling Stones’ finest work. While the bar’s design retains a traditional elegance, its atmosphere has an air of edgy sophistication that is reflected by its cutting-edge cocktails and global selection of fine and rare liquors.
The world owes huge debt to the enterprise and innovation of Victorian Britain, and with its world-leading museums and exquisite architecture, London’s Kensington district offers a spectacular showcase of this incredible era. For visitors seeking a hotel that encapsulates this pioneering spirit and the inventiveness of the London through the ages, The Gore is a timeless classic.