Well, we’ve all been there—the awkward family occasion. This one features two warring siblings, a lecherous uncle, an ex-mistress, and members of the household who are very conspicuous by their absence. But, unlike your great aunt’s disastrous anniversary party, this one will be held in full view of the world, so stiff upper lips are mandatory.
On Saturday, May 6, at 11 a.m. GMT, King Charles III will be coronated, along with his wife, Queen Camilla. The couple will ride in a procession from Buckingham Palace via the Mall to London’s Westminster Abbey, where the ceremony will be officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles will become the 40th monarch to be crowned there since William the Conqueror took the iron throne in 1066.
Unlike 2022’s platinum jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II, a coronation is a bit more of a solemn affair, since it’s also a religious occasion involving incantations and the anointing with oil from Jerusalem, elevating King Charles to supreme head of the Church of England and defender of the faith.
But monarchist or republican, we’ll all be watching — if just to see who’s there, who’s not, who’s with who, the meaningful black stares and strange hats. To get a bit of the royal treatment yourself head to coronation hotspot hotels awash in coronation-themed afternoon teas and curated cocktails.
Here’s where to find them.
Where to Celebrate in London
In tony Knightsbridge, The Lanesborough hotel, built in 1719, was once the stately home of Viscount Lanesborough. In 1991, after substantial sympathetic historic renovations, it was reinvented as a lavish hotel, complete with a club and spa. One of its many claims to fame: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were filmed in The Royal Suite in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.
The hotel’s King’s Coronation Celebration accommodation package includes luxury transfers from Heathrow, as well as the services of a dedicated butler. Enjoy a bottle of champagne in your regency-styled room, a five-course dinner at the glass roofed Lanesborough Grill. Add-ons include a coronation Sunday lunch—traditional roast beef with all the trimmings—or a coronation afternoon tea.
The jolly includes a couple of cocktails, but if you’re simply in the neighborhood, drop into the Library Bar to sample the King’s Coronation cocktail (English vodka with sherry, citrus cordial, single malt whisky and a gold leaf garnish.) And don’t forget to pet the resident cat, Lilibet, who shares a name with Harry and Meghan’s daughter. (So, was the cat the inspiration for that, we wonder, rather than the Queen’s nickname?) Package rate starts at roughly $2,000 and runs from May 2 to May 20.
Over at The Beaumont in Mayfair, guests can enjoy “gently refurbished” rooms and suites courtesy of New York designer Thierry Despont, who has added bespoke luxury touches to the classy Art Deco hotel, which features a giant sculpture on one side by Antony Gormely. The structure is actually an extension of the hotel, housing ROOM — an esoteric, cave-like suite. Guests staying at the hotel on May 5 can partake in the celebrations courtesy of a coronation-themed amenity pack, featuring a commemorative mug, a map of the weekend events, flags ready for waving and even a jolly Union Jack hat. And, yes, there’s a special afternoon tea in the Gatsby room ($77). Room rates start at about $1,200.
The Londoner hotel, in the theatrical West End district, underwent six years of construction to emerge as a “super-boutique” urban resort in 2021, featuring 6 bars and eateries as well as a wellness retreat. Their Royal Coronation Experience room package includes a walking tour that will follow the route of the coronation procession. Also on the package menu: cocktails at The Stage, which is being transformed into a pop-up martini bar for the occasion in honor of King Charles’ favorite tipple. Choose from His Majesty (vodka, Noilly Prat Dry and Veuve Clicquot), Le Français (Champagne and tea) and Homage, dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth, featuring gin and Dubonnet (about $22 each if you’re a pop in to the pop up.) Finish it all off with Fine de Claire oysters with lemon crème fraiche and green tabasco dill oil. Rates for the Coronation Experience start at roughly $1,400, available from April 20 to May 18.
Four Seasons Hotel London
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is aiming to spoil and pamper, as their Live Like A Royal package celebrates the dusting off of the crown jewels from the nearby Tower of London. Set in a Grade II listed building from the 1920s that was once the HQ of the London Port Authority, the hotel boasts some regal amenities.
With the coronation package, guests can recharge with a relaxing Rose Crown ritual at the hotel’s spa, followed by a night’s stay in one of their luxe residences with stunning river views over Tower Bridge. Afterwards, take the Crown Jewels afternoon tea in the Rotunda Lounge and enjoy exquisitely iced regal-themed cakes. Rates from about $7,500. Tea only, from $80. Available until August 31.
Hotel Cafe Royal
Speaking of the Tower of London, the Hotel Cafe Royal is offering guests staying in the Royal Suite the chance to get up close and personal with the Cullinan diamond (it’s 3,106 carats in case you were wondering) in The Crown Jewels Experience. Take a chauffeur-driven limo to the Tower, site of many a royal execution, followed by a tour of the 1,000-year-old site with a Yeoman Warden, otherwise known as a Beefeater. Finish up with champagne and a private viewing of the jewels, including St Edward’s crown used in the coronation. (The collection is officially priceless, but conservative estimates put it at around $6 billion.) The Crown Jewels Experience cost is $1,600. Also on offer: the King Charles III Experience, with a night’s stay, champagne afternoon tea, and a chauffeur driven tour of London’s royal attractions with expert guide, from about $3,200. Both are available until October 1.
Want to say that you went to the garden party? Head to a top desirable location, Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, and join the locals for an upscale (yet free) event. The lawned park, surrounded by grand 18th century mansions, is being reimagined as an Alice in Wonderland-inspired playland, decked with Instagram-worthy florals from Moyses Stevens (get a selfie on the throne) and Lay London. Pop ups include an ice cream cart from the sweet hub of one of Mayfair’s most famous hotels, The Connaught Patisserie, classic pub grub from The Barley Mow, and English wine from sustainability-focussed restaurant Apricity. Or, go for cocktails from The Twenty Two, while Mr Fogg’s Apothecary will also have their drinks truck on site. There’s live music, and you can also watch the big screen action here, but don’t say “off with her head” when Camilla is crowned. Runs May 6 and 7.
Where to Celebrate in Windsor
Just 25 miles outside London and overlooking the Thames, Windsor will be a lynchpin of the celebrations, and offers visitors a wealth of attractions. Although closed over the coronation weekend, when it will be in use by the royals, Windsor Castle is a historic treasure towering over the surrounding countryside. With 1,000 years of history in its turreted walls, it’s worth a visit, and for the little uns, the castle is also hosting special coronation activities for kids. You can also see the resting place of Queen Elizabeth II there, at St George’s Chapel. Take a stroll along the Long Walk away from the castle and head into Windsor Great Park (where you can also ride, or walk the corgis) which stretches for 5,000 acres. You might catch a glimpse of the queen’s beloved pony, Emma, grazing in the private Home Park paddocks near the castle, as well as peeks of Frogmore cottage, once home to Harry and Meghan, and more recently offered to Prince Andrew as a downsize from nearby Royal Lodge. For a genteel way to see the sites, go by horse drawn carriage with Windsor Carriages. Rates start at $250.
If raising a pint is on your mind, take a tour of Windsor & Eton Brewery, which has announced a new beer to celebrate the coronation. The craft brewery, which opened in 2010, boasts beers, lagers, stouts and IPAs with regal names like Knight of the Garter and Treason. The coronation special, The Return of the King ($45 for a 12-pack) features Charles in full regalia on the bottle. This will be their first 100% organic beer, utilizing organic barley from the local royal farm as well as organic English hops.Enjoy a pint in the Tap Room, which also boasts a full bar and food and, on occasion, a comedy show.
Fairmont Windsor Park
The most regal place to stay in Windsor is the Fairmont Windsor Park. Originally a 19th century private home, the mansion has been rebuilt from the foundations up by Surinder Arora, Arora Group founder and chairman. Opened in 2022, the luxury estate has sympathetic architecture but modern amenities and state of the art facilities. With a huge spa and pool complex, as well as manicured gardens and terraces overlooking the countryside, the hotel is reminiscent of an elegant country retreat, albeit only 10 miles from Heathrow. They’re hosting a splendid Coronation Garden Party on May 6, with live music on the grounds and a screening of the event. A hamper is provided, featuring classic British picnic food curated by the hotel chefs, plus additional sweets and hot food for purchase. Tickets are about $187 ($62 for kids), or splurge for the overnight package for two which includes a luxe stay in a King room, plus breakfast, for roughly $1,000.
Royal Windsor racecourse
Fancy a flutter? Use the holiday Monday for a day at the races. As the name suggests, the Royal Windsor racecourse is an upscale track much patronized by the royals, most notably the Queen Mother, and in honor of the occasion, the Thames-facing venue is offering a free race night on May 8. Register online, and expect coronation themed vittals and some fast thoroughbreds. Want to travel in style? Take the French Brothers Thames riverboat shuttle from Windsor Promenade, near all three of the overground train stations (you can thank Queen Victoria for that)—namely Windsor & Eton Central (best bet from London), Windsor Royal and Windsor & Eton Riverside. There’s even a bar on board to get the party started.
Just 10 minutes from Windsor, Cliveden House is a hotel with a storied past. Dating from 1666, it’s been visited by every royal monarch since George I. Queen Victoria liked to pop in for tea, and it’s also seen gilded age parties with its 20th century owners, the Astors. In the 60s, it was the site where the political scandal, the Profumo Affair, ignited, and in 2018 Meghan spent the night there before her Windsor wedding.
Nowadays, the 376-acre country pile offers vintage rooms as well as cozy cottages on the river. Known for their afternoon teas, the Great Royal Gardens tea (from $62) celebrates the coronation. Inspired by flowers from the King’s royal gardens, it features produce from Sandringham, the royal bolt hole in Norfolk. Also available is a coronation brunch in the equestrian-themed Astor Grill (from $56), where the bar stools are styled as saddles. The property is owned by the National Trust, so the estate is also open to the public, for a $20 fee.