Jess (aged 13) writes: Over the years, our family has stayed in some beautiful places. We spent the weekend in an old prison, experienced a Disney hotel and stayed in a room where Queen Elizabeth I is said to have slept, but it was a first to go to a hotel right on the doorstep of an iconic British landmark – Buckingham Palace.
The Rubens Hotel is right opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace and minutes away from Victoria station, making it a prime location for sightseeing. Robert and I were really excited to stay, as we had been told that it was a fantastic hotel for families with young children (and we couldn’t wait for a delicious breakfast!)
When we checked in, Robert was given a Rubens Passport and other pieces of paper to fill out. He had to write about himself and draw a picture, then get different members of staff to sign it! Robert really enjoyed this, as he enjoyed speaking to the staff. They were all exceptionally friendly, and smiled at me and Robert whenever we walked past; something that really brightened our day and does not usually happen at hotels. At the end of our stay we were given two bags of prizes containing bookmarks, jewellery, notebooks and more for completing the passport. Everything inside was lovely, and it was a nice surprise.
Our rooms were on the fourth floor, and were interconnecting. Upon entrance, we caught sight of some fresh, warm cookies which mum, dad and I devoured in seconds. There was also some delicious fruit and posh water which admittedly took longer to be finished, but were much appreciated. The rooms had large, comfy beds and massive TVs, and the bathrooms had coloured lights! There was just enough space (the rooms weren’t huge), but everything was clean and appealing.
Robert and I were both given a special kids’ welcome pack, which consisted of lots of puzzle books, a map of London for kids and crayons. Although I had revision to get on with, Robert had fun completing the challenges and creating dot-to-dot pictures.
Dinner was a casual affair out of the hotel, although there was a place to eat inside of the Rubens. Soon, it was time to go to sleep, and I loved how soft our beds were.
We all had a great night’s sleep, and lazily walked down to breakfast the next day. As I expected, the beautiful room was full of fruit, cereal, juice, hot food and – most importantly – pastries. I loaded my plate with blueberry and lemon muffins, pastries with custard in the middle, biscuits and fruit salad, grasped a glass of orange juice and made my way to our table; what a dream! I also enjoyed the mushrooms, hash browns and tomatoes, and was stuffed by the end of the meal. However, I know that mum was disappointed there weren’t any vegetarian sausages on offer.
As Robert is allergic to dairy, soya and eggs, it is usually difficult to find something for him to eat at hotels. However, all of the staff were really kind and friendly, by bringing him special bread, hash browns and porridge. Mum, dad and Robert really appreciated this.
Before we went back to our rooms, we decided to look out of the main window, onto Buckingham Palace. We quickly became confused, as the road was closed off and a small crowd was forming. After about five minutes of waiting, two royal carriages drove past. Someone said that one of the carriages contained Prince Phillip, but we were not sure. Mum and Robert decided to walk around to the front of the palace, where they eventually managed to see Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla and Prince Charles (I kind of regret staying inside the hotel!) Robert has written about what happened here.
We had one final thing to do before we left the hotel, and Robert and I were really excited about it. We were to take part in the Rubens Pastry Experience, which involved us putting on chef tops and hats, and going down into the kitchens below the hotel. We got to talk to the pastry chef, and found out that he had to create hundreds of pastries a day, which really surprised us. I had never considered how baking could be such a full on job before.
We got to ice chocolate cupcakes (which had been created especially so Robert could eat them) with a green frosting and to decorate them with berries, nuts and physalis – delicious! Next, we dipped strawberries in a special shiny chocolate, and left them to dry. We really enjoyed speaking to the chef and seeing what the hotel looked like from underground, and the food was obviously scrumptious. They made a really big effort with Robert’s dietary needs, and he was really happy with all of the food. We also really liked the certificates they gave us, saying that we had completed the course.
Robert and I were both very disappointed to leave, as we had a fantastic time. Everyone was really friendly to us – they really take notice of kids here – and they tried to make us feel included the whole time. The food was mouth-watering and the rooms were lovely; if only we could go back for another stay…
Disclosure: We were offered a complimentary stay at the Rubens at the Palace, but all our views are very much our own.
A two night family package at The Rubens, based on two interconnecting rooms, costs from £287 per room per night, including breakfast on both mornings, the Master Chef experience, and dinner on one night in the Old Masters restaurant:
The “Kids stay eat for free” option is extended to children under 12, so for a child over 12, the breakfast and dinner are subject to a small supplement, both of which are discounted from menu price. Breakfast would be a £7.50 supplement, and the dinner which would normally be £19.50 would be £12.25.
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