In March, the legendary and privately owned The Goring re-opened on it 105th birthday, following the completion of a major renovation. Along with the arrival of the whimsical hotel, The Goring ushers in a modern era of the footman.
At the London hotel, guests will have access to a footman for the duration of the day or even longer. There are five footmen readily available for one of each of the hotel’s suites. Under the watchful eyes of a head concierge John Andrews (also known as “Big John”), the team of five footmen have gone through incredibly rigorous training regimen and were chosen for their personal character and communication skills.
The first duty carried out by one of The Goring’s footman was to present to the Duchess of Cambridge a sable artist’s brush, with which she made the final touches to a hand-painted wallpaper in the Front Hall.
“In the days of Downton Abbey footmen were something of a luxury and therefore a status symbol. Footmen performed a less essential role than the cook, maid or even the butler and were part only of the grandest households. And since a footman was for show as much as for use, a tall footman was more highly prized than a short one and good looks, including well-turned legs, which were shown off by the traditional footman’s dress of stockings worn below knee breeches, were an advantage,” explained David Morgan-Hewitt, Managing Director of The Goring.
So what can you ask your footman to do? Well, a number of royal treatments. The footmen are trained to perform romantic tasks like spell out ‘marry me’ in rose petals on a guest’s bed, for a surprise proposal upon the couple’s return to the hotel. Expect complimentary champagne and glasses in the room beforehand. Want to take the proposal up a notch? Schedule the proposal on the London Eye, with a flash mob. Your footman will be waiting with a bottle of champagne and will escort you and your fiancée to a waiting chauffeur.
The footman is also skilled to entertain the little ones, guiding them through The Goring’s fantastic passport program, which includes a child visiting reception, concierge, the dining room and the kitchen; and performing relevant tasks like cookie baking and map reading. If you’re celebrating your little one’s birthday, your footman will blow up balloons and deck out a suite head to toe in children’s party decorations. You can even opt for a shetland pony for the garden.
If you happen to leave behind a bag, don’t fret! Your footman will get on board a sleeper train with the bag, drop it off, and take the next train back to the hotel. He can also handle minuscule tasks such toasting crumpets on the roaring fire or even set up a croquet match.
There is nothing too big or too small for your footman.
(Photos via The Goring)