To celebrate not one, but two weddings of the Queen's grandchildren this year, hotels are selling money-can't-buy "Royal Kensington Wedding Packages,” while hotels near the site are tempting Royal fans and followers with locations and deals.
Both Prince Harry, who will wed American actress Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018, and Princess Eugenie, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Andrew and "Fergie"), who is marrying wine merchant, Jack Brooksbank, reside at Kensington Palace, so it is only fitting that London's best hotels should celebrate the Royal unions by creating their own "Royal Wedding" opportunities for their guests.
Clients who would like to actually say “I do” in London can do so for nearly a pittance. Guests at the Milestone Hotel and Residences — flagship of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, just opposite Kensington Palace — can choose from a wedding ceremony in the hotel's Oratory (the original private chapel of the house, and one of the smallest wedding venues in London, fitting just six guests) or the wood-paneled Windsor Suite (suitable for eight to 30 guests). Packages range from about $6,500 to $8,700 per person for two nights in a Grand Master Suite.
To celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, five-star boutique hotel The Arch London — set in an affluent area of Marylebone, across the road from Queen Madge’s London pad — is offering a two-night Royal Wedding package in an extravagant two-bedroom suite.
Guests will be treated to a Best of British, three-course dinner in the hotel’s stylish restaurant, Hunter 486, followed by a champagne breakfast the next morning and a quintessential Royal Afternoon Tea. The package includes: a tour of Windsor Castle, which is the venue for the Royal nuptials and home to The Queen, boasting over 900 years of Royal history; a Fortnum & Mason shopping voucher; and airport transfers. Expect this package to run about $5,450 per room for a two-night stay based on two people sharing; valid throughout May 2018.
Says agent Kristine Hughes Patrone, owner of Number One London Tours, “I suspect, the Royal Family had secured hotel rooms, B&Bs, well before the announcement was made in order to accommodate invited guests, security, media and various others associated with arrangements on the day.”
Having said that, she advises travelers who want to be in England for the Big Day to “book a special Royal Wedding watching tour that is based elsewhere in London and includes a themed, telly-watching party of the wedding and all the commentary and celebrations surrounding the event.”
Calling all Harrys and Meghans
The 4-star Mercure London Kensington and Mercure London Hyde Park are offering complimentary overnight stays to couples who share the same names as the soon-to-be-wed couple – Meghan and Harry.
The Mercure London Kensington is a 4-star hotel situated a short walk from Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road set near London’s incredible museum district with world-renowned attractions including the V&A, The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum. The Hyde Park location is one of the newest locally inspired openings in the UK, as it has been recently converted and is located in the London hotspot between Paddington and Lancaster Gate.
The Rubens at the Palace overlooks the Buckingham Palace, and the Queens Gallery lists three indulgent escapes: A Royal Weekend, Live Like Royalty, and A Royal Occasion. For a true taste of British tradition, guests can enjoy a Royal Afternoon Tea featuring well-researched and much-loved favorites of British Royals throughout the ages such as the Rubens’ version of the chocolate biscuit cake that William and Kate served at their wedding.
Hotel 41, just opposite Buckingham Palace, lists nightly rates at $592; the Goring at about $494 (where Kate Middleton and her bridal party stayed); The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel at about $270 per night; and the lower options, such as the Mad Hatter Hotel, at under $200 a night. In Mayfair, The Dukes Hotel starts at $465; and in Windsor, the Sir Christophe Wren Hotel and Spa lists a nightly rate under $200.
Of course, not all clients are going to want to spring for a Royal package but may be perfectly happy to see something of the Royal Wedding itself. Among the properties VisitLondon lists that are close to the festivities are: Hotel Indigo London, Paddington; London House Hotel; London Premier, Kensington; La Suite in West London; The Pembury Hotel; and The Bailey’s Hotel London.
Refuge in Windsor
With all eyes on Windsor with the Royal Wedding, Windsor has a good chance to top the list for most-visited destinations in Britain in 2018. The Windsor region showcases an unexpected side of England.
Just 30 minutes from London by train, Windsor makes the perfect destination for a weekend getaway suitable for all travelers. Add a touch of glamour with a meal at a Michelin-star restaurant or an afternoon round of golf. For history buffs, Windsor is home to Royal estates and, of course, Windsor Castle — the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. For those with a taste for the outdoors, Windsor is home to the 5,000-acre Windsor Great Park, perfect for scenic walks and bike rides.
Beyond the center of London, or even Windsor, are the Cotswolds. Ellenborough Park’s Royal Package whisks guests off in a Rolls-Royce, straight to the 15th century manor house hotel, and the Arkle Suite for a two-night stay in the Istabraq Suite; transfers in a Rolls-Royce from Heathrow airport or the train station; arranges a clay pigeon shooting session; and includes the Sudeley Castle entrance fee, Highgrove Gardens visit, falconry, two dinners, breakfast and full access to the spa.
Additionally, Lichfield Tourism has arranged a Royal Themed Guided Tour with one of the Green Badge Tour Guides, in the historic city of Lichfield, with a cream tea at Erasmus Darwin House. The tour takes place on May 18 at 2pm.