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Three Boutique London Hotels Right by Royal Palaces

Milestone Hotel at Kensington Gardens, London
Milestone Hotel at Kensington Gardens, London
Matt Livey

London has some fabulous small hotels tucked away just a stone's throw from three royal residences: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and St. James's Palace. There are none higher recommended than The Goring, the Milestone and Dukes. Each of the three are very special beyond their enviable locations.

A place near a palace

These places near palaces are named among Europe's very best boutique hotels by many reputable sources and top out my own personal favorites following 25 years living in the 'hood. Delivering history, location, décor, drinks, and service in these unbeatable spots fit for a king can be costly, so do shop around, as the published tariffs can be beat. Wake up in a princely corner of town on your next visit. Leave your denims at home.

Champagne in the garden near Buckingham Palace

Is The Queen at home? Check which flag is flying. Stately sited overlooking The Mall, boasting no fewer than 775 rooms, Buckingham Palace is hard to miss. However, visitors can easily miss the charming family-owned hotel that's tucked away at the top of the Beeston Place near the walls around the palace gardens.

That's one reason why Kate Middleton and her family chose to spend her pre-wedding night at The Goring. If you fancy tea and drinks on the veranda overlooking the hotel's impeccable hidden garden, if you'd like to relax beside the fireside on a Chesterfield sofa in a cozy lounge, you can do no better than here for personal service, a Goring hallmark these past 103 years. Icing on the cake? Fall out of bed into Buckingham Palace for a tour.

In the know by Kensington Palace

Why not have a bit of the royal treatment at the gracious 19th century Milestone Hotel where the staff-to-guest ratio runs two-to-one? The hotel's plush guest rooms, each one uniquely appointed, overlook the Royal Borough's Kensington Palace and Gardens where Apartment 1A is the new family home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Call in on head bartender Markus in cozy Stables Bar, where he'll fix you his favorite perfectly chilled Hendricks Martini, or a Great Gatsby-inspired one. Take tea in the black and white conservatory, or order the best club sandwich in town beside the dining room fireplace. Right opposite, take a tour of the palace where Queen Victoria was born in 1819, the residence Princess Diana referred to as KP.

No wonder this is London's top rated hotel on TripAdvisor.

A secret by St. James's Palace

Visitors associate Mayfair with quintessential London through a cast of characters from James Bond to the Queen Mother. Her former residence, Clarence House, got the royal makeover for Prince Charles and Camilla where it shares a garden with the Tudor-era St. James's Palace built by Henry VIII. Steps away in a tiny passage is the late Victorian hideaway, Dukes Hotel.

This charming place reeks of traditional elegance and impeccable service as abundant as the seasonal blossoms cascading from its window boxes. Order a Fleming 89 for a table side "shaken, not stirred" martini presentation from Dukes Bar where author Ian Fleming is said to have whiled away the hours dreaming up spy mayhem.