Iconic Surrey Hills Bolthole
Once home to Lord Beaverbrook, it was here he would woo the likes of Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Taylor and Ian Fleming who all stayed here. In his role of minister to Winston Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook also hosted key wartime cabinet meetings in what is now the re-furbished and snug cinema room in the main house, available for family film nights, complete with popcorn!
Although all around the main house are nods to it's past, its country classic interiors are by Susie Atkinson, of Soho House fame; a Japanese restaurant is run by an ex-Nobu chef; and a spa, designed by glass architect Brian Clarke, is due to open late 2018.
It boasts just 29 sumptuous bedrooms, divided between the House and the Garden House, including three luxurious suites, named after the Dowager Beaverbrook, Churchill and Ms Taylor! My favourite room was the Superior Turret room in the main house with superb valley views on 2 sides, vaulted ceilings and its own little balcony avec 'Table a Deux'! Guest Garden House rooms away from the main house are cosy, south-facing, with woodland views - boasting roll-top baths and even a whisky decanter on the landing for a quick nightcap.
Well-behaved dogs are also welcome at the Coach House Cottages. In addition, a series of family friendly Coach House Cottages will soon open in the Glass House, close to the spa.
The spa, once complete, will have six treatment suites, a steam room, sauna, hammam, indoor/outdoor pools, a gym and a nail lounge. Home-branded Coach House oils will use plants, flowers and fruits from the estate and an on-site deli for home-made wood-fired pizzas.
Children's outdoor activities are encouraged here - from crazy golf to geocaching, treasure hunts, night safaris and den building, the kids’ club has plenty to keep 4 to 12-year olds busy. Parents can tuck into a great bottle of wine, safe in the knowledge their little ones are being kept busy with minders! The excursions list also extends to horse-riding, cycling and foraging, and there are board games, books and puzzles for rainy days.
We were treated to a superb lunch in the Garden House Restaurant, overlooking the kitchen garden area - Italian/English dishes meld beautifully using ingredients sourced from the garden or locally. I loved the School of Cookery attached for budding chefs, with sessions for children and adults. Pick ingredients from the hotel's kitchen-garden, then learn to rustle 'Britalian' dishes with head chef Kaz Suzuki or sushi with ex-Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama.
All in all, a superb way to spend a warm, autumnal afternoon - just wished I had booked a room and stayed longer!
I would strongly recommend for a family weekend away, snug bolthole for couples and perfect for a business lunch/meeting to woo those foreign investors - its only 30 mins from LGW and LHR!