After a day long meeting at Television Centre, the one thing keeping me focused (other than the prospect of a free glass of BBC ‘vin plonk’ at six) was the delightful double of a night at the exclusive Guoman Royal Horsegaurds Hotel and dinner with my London galpal Lady C. We planned to meet at seven and dine at eight. Simples.
That was before a BBC executive decided to ‘chat me up’ about Twitter. The clock ticked by and the ‘vin plonk’ did not improve! It was getting very close to seven and when I rescued my Blackberry, there was the text from Charlotte; “Darling I’m here, where are you?” What is a chap to do when he is stuck in White City and she’s stuck in Westminster? “Why don’t you check into my room?” I texted back. “Do you think they’ll mind?” replied Charlotte. “Darling, its five star, I’m sure it will be fine!” Thus, Lady crisis averted, all I needed to do was get across town in record time.
En route a text arrived; “I’m in your suite, fifth floor, cu soon! xxx.” The traffic, of course, was horrific. I ask you: Is there one London street not been dug up for Crossrail or that other event happening this year (and I do not mean the Jubilee)? As we turned onto Whitehall and then onto Whitehall Court (where the Royal Horsegaurds is situated) an aura of calm seemed to fall down like a cashmere blanket.
Despite being so central, the Royal Horsegaurds is tucked away in a quiet quarter, between Whitehall and the Embankment. First impressions matter to me and before the cab had stopped, the smartly uniformed Doorman stepped up, opened the cab door and took my luggage. “Is Sir checking in?” He enquired. “I have already done so.” he replied “Then I shall show you to the lifts sir.”
As I crossed the large, bustling lobby, I noticed a nice mix of ‘internationals’ and ‘weekenders’, good flower displays and immaculate staff. The evening was looking up already! Nearing my room and realising I did not have a key, I knocked. Charlotte was on the phone. “Oh I must go sweetie, that will be Steven.” The door swung open and that vision of loveliness that is Charlotte greeted me. We hugged and Charlotte said “I was just telling my sister about the check in.” ” How was it?” I asked, wondering if there had been a problem? “It was seamless, that is until they asked if I had luggage. ‘None’ I replied. I did wonder, for a moment. If they thought I was your ‘room service?’.” For a split second, newspaper headlines rushed through my head “Who is mysterious leggy blonde in TV stars room?” But of course we both laughed – me and a leggy – blonde – girl?
Potential ‘scandal’ aside, I surveyed our room. It was large and almost one wall was windows. These had an amazing view of the Embankment and the London Eye. Who needed the huge flat screen TV, when we had the drama of London? The freshness of light from the windows was reflected in the decor. A good mix of contemporary and traditional furnishings and nice touches like an ipod/iphone dock to play music.
The wardrobe contained other nice touches, like the usual slippers, umbrellas and robes, but also a good selection of hangers. Wishbone ones for jackets, clips for trews and nice padded ones for ladies gowns, I like this type of thoughtfulness as it make a hotel stay more of a home from home.
The bathroom, though a tad small, was similarly well appointed. A large hand wash basin, illuminated shaving/make up mirror and excellent range of Elemis toiletries. Charlotte had already spied a lovely leather ‘vide poche’ full of things like combs, face cloths and talc that she had considered ‘borrowing’. Charlotte, of course, looked stunning, but I needed a quick shower before dinner, which the staff had thoughtfully pushed back to half eight for us. Refreshed and re-groomed, we left our suite to sample the delights of the Equus Bar and the Hotels restaurant ‘One Twenty One Two.’
The next morning I awoke to one of those sunny London days that always make you feel brighter. The sun shone into my room and I was looking forward to breakfast. I always like to eat in my room for breakfast and at the appointed hour breakfast arrived – muesli, OJ, tea, full English, white toast. A wonderful spread!
It was getting towards time to leave. As I gathered my things together and descended the lift my brief London visit was drawing to a close. Once again, the doorman showed his prowess. Crossing the lobby he said “Taxi Mr Moore?” taking my luggage from me, I checked out, left the hotel and waved goodbye. Refreshed, replete, but without the ‘leggy blonde’!
The Royal Horseguards
2 Whitehall Court,
London, SW1A 2EJ