LONDON – Kate Middleton's spending her last night as a single woman in a room fit for a queen.
The princess-in-waiting is staying Thursday at London's Goring Hotel, a family run luxury hotel just around the corner from Buckingham Palace.
Middleton, father Michael, mother Carole, sister Pippa and brother James have taken over the 71-room hotel, with the bride-to-be staying in a recently redecorated five-room suite overlooking the hotel's private garden, complete with a four-poster bed, silk wallpaper and even a waterproof flat-screen TV in the bath.
Its quirky furnishings reportedly include an original Thomas Crapper flush toilet and a silk wedding gown thought to be a prototype of the one worn by Queen Victoria at her own wedding.
The hotel was rendered even more discreet by the addition of a canopy over the entrance to block onlookers catching sight of Kate as she emerges in her wedding dress Friday morning. In a country where police don't normally carry weapons, armed officers and sniffer dogs patrolled outside.
Though the Middletons will enjoy privacy inside the hotel, a crowd of royal-watchers gathered outside Thursday — and they were rewarded with tea, cakes and sandwiches from hotel staff.
"It's very thoughtful of them, when people have been waiting a long time," said Otto Yang, 51, who works at nearby Victoria train station. "Everyone here is happy to join in and share the happiness."
The red brick Edwardian hotel opened in 1910 and is still owned by the family of founder O.R. Goring. It claims to have been the first hotel in the world to offer the luxury of a private bathroom for each room.
Its proximity to the palace has given it long connections with the royal family. Queen Mary, William's great-great grandmother, and his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother Elizabeth, both took tea at the Goring. Queen Elizabeth II ate sausages and scrambled eggs there with her family when she was a young princess just after World War II.
The hotel is not saying how much it is charging the Middletons, but its rooms and suites normally cost between 410 pounds and 1,525 pounds ($670 and $2,525).
The Goring boasts a luxurious private garden where the bride can reflect on her big day and indulge in afternoon tea, and a highly regarded kitchen — renowned for its Lobster Thermidor omelets and hearty full English breakfasts — to fulfill any last-minute cravings.
It is also, crucially, handy for the Westminster Abbey, the venue for Friday's wedding. Kate is due to leave the hotel at 10:51 a.m. and arrive for the ceremony promptly at 11.