Travel: Have your cake - and eat it - on a trip to London's Rubens at the Palace
Maria Breslin finds you can have your cake – and eat it – on a trip to the capital
WATCH your back Paul Hollywood – because there’s a new kid on the baking block.
Cake connoisseur Eva got a taste for life in a London kitchen during a half-term trip to the capital. And she loved it.
Admittedly my nine-year-old mini-masterchef was only decorating delicacies freshly baked that morning by pastry pro Francesco. But dressed up in her chef whites she certainly looked the part. And sampling the sugar-laden fruits of her labour before 10am really was the icing on her cake.
We were staying at The Rubens at the Palace – a 4* hotel with super-friendly 5* staff – where young guests are not just tolerated but treasured. From the minute we arrived Eva was treated like a princess – whisked off for her own personal check-in, she returned self-important, working a pretty bracelet she insisted on wearing the whole trip.
Her exclusive tour of the kitchens was just one of the perks enjoyed by The Rubens’ younger clientèle. Upstairs in our executive, and tastefully-decorated, king-size room a welcome pack awaited. Eva loved the colouring book, pencils and pen and the extremely-useful kids’ map of London.
But most of all she loved the mini bath robe and slippers and the turn-down milk and chocolate cookies which confirmed this was a hotel very much devoted to people her own size.
But you’d be wrong to assume The Rubens at the Palace is just a family affair. During our stay the hotel hosted numerous business conferences while the breakfast room was bustling with couples and tourists – many of them, no doubt, drawn by the hotel’s unique selling point – its close proximity to Buckingham Palace.
From our room on the fourth-floor we looked out onto the Royal Mews – the Queen’s stables and home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages. Proud royalist Eva shrieked as she spied a horse while her reported sighting of a royal corgi remains unsubstantiated. And as I tuck into my eggs and bacon, even a confirmed republican such as myself can’t help wondering what next-door neighbour the Queen is having for breakfast just 100m or so away across Buckingham Palace Road.
Our trip to London started at Liverpool Lime Street with the usual pleasant two-hour plus journey aboard a pendolino hurtling south at speeds of 125mph. From London Euston The Rubens at the Palace is just a few stops south on the underground to Victoria and a leisurely five-minute walk away. In the 19th century the hotel was home to a druggist, ham and tongue dealer and law stationers. It opened its door as the Hotel Rubens in 1912 and quickly became popular with débutantes and dignitaries attending functions at nearby Buckingham Palace.