Peter Hamling checks out the Royal connections at the Castle Hotel, Windsor, England.


Right in the main street of this right royal town, the Castle Hotel is within sight and sound of Windsor Castle itself - the one Queen Elizabeth II often calls home.

We took a taxi there direct from Heathrow - from central London there are regular train services.

History: The hotel dates from 1528. Over the centuries it's been preserved and transformed so it's steeped in history. Indeed, the Duke of Wellington is reputed to have dined here after the Battle of Waterloo. It operates now as an M Gallery property under the Accor banner.


Check-in: Fast, efficient and friendly, with modern technology and laid-back service to the fore - no formal desks or counters - the ever-mobile, tablet-equipped staff soon had the formalities completed and we were on our way to our room.

Room: On the third floor, overlooking the main street and the historic Guildhall (where Prince Charles married Camilla) with the turrets of Windsor Castle above the rooftops of the neighbouring buildings. Huge room, beautifully furnished and a real luxury after some of the micro spaces that masquerade as hotel rooms in some other properties. The beds were amazing and most welcome after 24 hours of sitting in aircraft from Auckland via Dubai.

Bathroom: Spacious, with every amenity at hand. The Lanvin toiletries and fluffy bathrobes didn't go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Dining: A full breakfast was included - served in the elegant dining room by a gentleman's gentleman who was more a butler than a waiter. During the day and evening there are various dining options - including a Marco Pierre White restaurant.

Price: We paid about $416 for a night, including breakfast; there are both cheaper and more expensive rooms and suites.

Value for money? We thought so given that, especially from check-in to departure, we had nothing but an amazing experience from all aspects of service and facilities.

In the neighbourhood: Windsor Castle is a one-minute walk - the Changing of the Guard takes place every morning at 11am, with the band and guard marching past the front of the hotel. The River Thames is a short walk away, there's an excellent array of shops including an expansive mall centre in what was once a railway station, and several cosy pubs serving good food and real ale. There's also a couple of prominent racecourses nearby and of course, a very well-known educational establishment for the young men of parents with means.

Would we return? Yes please!