A FABULOUS STAYCATION AT THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL, HORSHAM

Having visited one of the Exclusive Hotels, Pennyhill Park, I really looked forward to my visit to the 5 star South Lodge Hotel in Horsham, part of the same hotel group. From looking at the photos, I could not wait to explore the beautiful manor house as well as the 93 acres of surrounding land but being the foodie that I am, a visit to The Pass, their 3 AA rosette award-winning restaurant was the part I anticipated most.

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

My husband and I checked into the hotel and were staying in the Earl of Athlone suite. One of my favourite moments of a hotel visit is when I step into the hotel room and explore all it has to offer. 

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

This room had everything you could wish for and felt undeniably grand yet also homely. I loved the tasteful furnishings, colour scheme and larger than life curved tv screen above the fireplace. 

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

The room also featured a very modern bathroom and an elegant roll top bath I could not wait to relax in after a long walk around the grounds.   

Whilst out exploring the grounds it felt like we were very far away from the city even though it is less than an hour’s journey by train to London. Whilst on our walk it was great to go and see the developments of the new luxurious spa being built for spring 2019.

Exploring the house there were some wonderful rooms but my favourite by far was the room where afternoon teas were hosted, as pictured. A quintessential English tea experience in modern, cosy and elegant surroundings. 

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

In the evening we visited The Pass restaurant for dinner where guests can look straight into the open plan kitchen as their dishes are being prepared.

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

I really loved this element of the restaurant and enjoyed how the chef’s all took turn in coming to our table to explain our dishes.

We opted for the 8-course tasting menu and were very much looking forward to the experience. Talented Head Chef Ian Swainson and his team delivered an exceptional foodie experience with exciting dishes like the smoky texas bbq pork rib with a pistachio crumb and caramelised honey bourbon barbeque sauce.

THE PASS RESTAURANT SOUTH LODGE HOTEL REVIEW HORSHAM

Duncan our sommelier was incredibly welcoming as well as knowledgeable and selected beautiful wines for us throughout the evening including a wonderful Gruner Vetliner from Austria. 

An unexpected show stopper of a dish was the kimchi sponge with peanut sauce, spring onion and roasted rice. Very unique in both textures and flavours and unlike anything I'd ever come across before. 

THE PASS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOUTH LODGE HOTEL

Then my absolute favourite plate was thin slices of lean rosemary smoked pigeon which was cooked with smoky red pepper pieces of charcoaled meringue.  

THE PASS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOUTH LODGE HOTEL

At one point I went over to the open kitchen to view our next course being assembled. It was the Kombu aged duck breast, consommé, carrot and ginger puree and looked like a piece of artwork in the meticulous attention to detail of each element. 

THE PASS RESTAURANT HORSHAM SOUTH LODGE HOTEL

The desserts were incredibly creative too and I especially enjoyed the delicate apple, sprayed gold with rosemary cream and granola.

THE PASS RESTAURANT SOUTH LODGE HOTEL REVIEW

The final dessert allowed for your creative juices to flow as you were given a palate of edible paints and paintbrushes to paint whatever your heart desired onto edible paper. A brilliant way to finish such an imaginative and interesting dinner experience.  

For breakfast we ate in a room overlooking the South Downs again and I really admired how the hotel really makes the most of its countryside views. The breakfast is a buffet style but you can also order a choice of freshly made dishes from their menu, I ordered the pancakes with bacon and maple syrup which were wonderful.

THE SOUTH LODGE HOTEL HORSHAM HOTEL REVIEW

In terms of events, this could be the perfect venue for an offsite or conference with twelve bright meeting rooms, several with their own terrace, a video conferencing suite for upto twenty delegates and of course the option of exclusive hire for larger events.

It was a brilliant stay at the South Lodge Hotel, I only wished I could spend the entire week there. I really look forward to returning once the new spa has opened as the photos and plans look incredibly luxurious.   

South Lodge Hotel,
Long Hill,
Lower Breeding,
Horsham,
RH13 6PS

Tel. 01403 891 711

Hotel photos courtesy of Exclusive Hotels Group, food photos all my own
 

 

A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY WEEKEND AT CARBIS BAY HOTEL, CORNWALL

For my birthday weekend I asked my husband Oliver to book a weekend away somewhere. I always prefer memorable experiences to anything material and this was a great opportunity to travel and visit one of the destinations on my list, of which there are many.

My husband booked Cornwall which I was super excited about and of course it’s always nice when you can let someone else take care of all the planning. On Saturday 28th April we left our home at seven in the morning and by half past ten that same morning we had arrived at a very sunny Newquay airport and were picking up our rental car to drive to Carbis Bay Hotel, which is very close to St Ives.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

It was a very pleasant forty-five minute drive to Carbis Bay Hotel from the airport and when we got there we were in for a real treat. The hotel had an outdoor pool, and people were actually swimming in it, in April! There was also an outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna with lovely views overlooking the beach and coastline and I couldn’t wait to try them all out..

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

After checking in we went to our room and found it to be very modern, clean, homely and overlooking the beautiful beach.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW
CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

With such easy access to the beach you could choose to wander down for a stroll before breakfast to watch the first surfer of the day catch some waves or go slightly further afield along a very scenic coastal path to St Ives in only twenty-five minute.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

Following on from exploring the spacious hotel, we went to relax and sunbathe by the pool. It was a blissful moment to sit in the hot bubbling Jacuzzi and absorb the beautiful surroundings with a glass of sparkling wine.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL REVIEW CORNWALL

In the evening we had a glass of Bollinger champagne to start, followed by a five course menu in the hotel’s restaurant. The food was delicious and the atmosphere very lively. My favourite dishes were the pork belly and lemon tart.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL REVIEW CORNWALL
CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

After dinner we found a gorgeous lounge with lovely paintings on the walls and a roaring fire where we sat and drank a glass of wine to end the evening.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

The next morning it was my birthday and it was so wonderful to wake up to the sound of crashing waves and to sit in bed with the curtains open, watching the sunrise. After admiring the view, we headed down to breakfast which was located in the hotel’s spacious conservatory.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW
CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

I had the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs on half a muffin which was delicious. We then walked into St Ives and came back to use the hotel’s award winning spa as Oliver had booked full body massages for us both. The spa was very luxurious and the staff made us feel at ease and extremely welcome.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

The treatment itself was very relaxing and everything you’d hope it would be. Sitting in the relaxation room in our robes afterwards felt very indulgent especially when we were then served a champagne afternoon tea  with scones, jam and clotted cream.

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

As you might imagine, I very much enjoyed my birthday in such magical surroundings and the brilliant weather really heightened the experience.

On our last day I felt sad to leave such a stunning setting. The hotel is creating some exclusive beach lodges along the front that look spectacular so I would definitely like to return and stay in one of those next spring or summer. 

CARBIS BAY HOTEL CORNWALL REVIEW

Carbis Bay,
Saint Ives,
TR26 2NP

Tel: 01736 795311 

JAPANESE RESTAURANT KANPAI, EDINBURGH

Kanpai is an understated little Japanese restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh and this is where I chose to dine on my recent trip there. I have always been a big fan of quality Japanese cuisine ever since my father introduced me to it whilst we were living in Singapore.

Arriving at Kanpai with my husband we were very excited for what lay ahead. We were ushered to the bar area for a drink where we could enjoy watching the itamae chef’s who were busily slicing up gorgeous fresh pieces of tuna and salmon. It felt like we had front row tickets watching the gentle masters preparing the succulent raw fish, with barely a word spoken to one another.

There was a lot on the menu that sounded fantastic so we ordered as much as we possibly could without breaking the bank.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To start, we had a comforting miso soup quickly followed by the very beautiful crowned tuna tartare.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

A colourful dish that was truly a work of art which made me feel guilty having to cut into it. The edible flowers not only looked brilliant but added a wild tasty tang to the soft subtle flavours of the fresh tartare.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

For good measure I ordered some greens in the shape of a very special wakame seaweed salad. Salty neon noodles with their chewy crunch were a great addition to the carb heavy sushi we were ordering. 

A two piece spicy tuna gunkan arrived next and was lovely although I’d have preferred there to have been a little more spice.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

It was also hard not to compare this to the immaculate tuna tartare we had just consumed.

Not only was this food great in taste, but it’s presentation was highly impressive, not to mention dramatic.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REIVEW EDINBURGH

A soft shell crab rolls with its claws pouring out of the front landed on our table. Beautifully crispy soft shell crab packed in with refreshing avocado and rice topped with sparkling roe balls that delightfully burst on your tongue. This was most definitely my favourite dish of the evening.

We also had some deep fried bean curd topped with strips of seaweed, a great and comforting side dish in a sweet yet light sauce.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

Next came the dragon rolls in the shape of a wonderful tail, with a tempura prawn tail dangling out the end. A really delicate blend of tempura prawn and thinly sliced avocado, all expertly executed. 

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

I should mention that all of the above was washed down with a bottle of the casse noix 2016 chardonnay which I was really impressed by. It’s fruity (peach and pear) and buttery sensation was a fine accompaniment to our fish and seafood meal.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To finish we ordered a very creamy and nutty scoop of the black sesame ice cream to share. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ice cream but it was sensational and I would have had one to myself had I not been so full. A brilliant end to a fabulous dinner packed with lots of surprises.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To finish we ordered a very creamy and nutty scoop of the black sesame ice cream to share. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ice cream but it was sensational and I would have had one to myself had I not been so full. A brilliant end to a fabulous dinner packed with lots of surprises.

Kanpai
8-10 Grindlay St,
Edinburgh
EH3 9AS

Bookings: +44(0)131 228 1602

EDEN LOCKE, EDINBURGH

Scotland is a place where I feel at peace. All my experiences visiting this incredible land have been full of happy memories and so upon arriving at London City Airport I very much looked forward to my winter city break in Edinburgh. 

20180311_115731-01.jpg

It was not only the culinary delights that my husband and I were looking forward to, but to see whether Eden Locke would quite match up to its big brother (Leman Locke) back in London. One thing I already knew was that Eden Locke offered a brilliant location, situated on George Street and close to popular restaurants, excellent shopping and all the main highlights of the city, including the picturesque Edinburgh Castle. 

Arriving at the hotel around 9pm on a Friday night, my first impressions were that I might not quite be hip enough to be here. As you approach the Victorian building you can't help but be a little mesmerised by it's boldness and beauty.

20180310_192853-01.jpg

As you enter, the reception and bar areas are calming and very spacious. You can sense that every object and piece of furniture has been mindfully chosen to be there. New York architects Grzywinski + Pons cleverly use stylish, minimalist design to encourage space and light in a modern setting.

Once checked in we eagerly went up to see our room, we were given a split level mezzanine studio, at the front of the building with gorgeously tall windows.

The room itself had everything you could want and it was great to have the luxury of a small kitchen with all the essentials.

20180310_100417-01.jpg
20180309_213633-01.jpg

A nice detail were the delicate riedel glasses that we used for our wine and the very pretty gold cocktail shaker and pourer.   

20180310_100520-01.jpg
20180309_213713-01.jpg

As the evening progressed we could hear that the clientele of the club next door were getting steadily more drunk and pouring out onto the street. It became really noisy at one stage so the next morning I asked the Eden Locke staff if we could move rooms. It was a shame as we did not want to leave our room. However, the friendly staff were on hand to move us straight into a room towards the back of the hotel which was wonderfully quiet. The room we moved into (photos above) was a normal studio which lacked the grand windows but delivered the same quality on everything else.

As porridge and fresh milk were provided in the rooms, we ate healthy hot breakfasts before heading out for the day. Returning in the evening we utilised the pans and hob and made hot chocolates.

20180309_213639-01.jpg

In our room, I really enjoyed the fact that there was an actual lounge area for relaxing in that was partitioned away from the bedroom. However on occasion when I'm travelling I also like watching tv in bed so missed out on that a little. 

20180310_100554-01.jpg

Other additional touches I enjoyed were the great scents of Kinsey Apothecary skincare products and little booklet letting you know what items you could purchase from the room; the cocktail shaker, skincare products and golden wire fruit basket. 

20180309_213645-01.jpg

The next morning the reception area was bustling with lots of guests enjoying freshly made pastry treats from Hyde & Co or homemade porridge from a pop up stand.

20180311_111816-01.jpg
20180311_111707-01.jpg

We got some takeaway coffees before venturing out. Later in the evening we had a glass of wine in the bar area, it was very quiet in there but relaxing. I wondered where the bustle had gone from the morning. 

There are not huge differences between Leman Locke and Eden Locke but the main contrast is that Leman Locke offers a lovely restaurant serving excellent food in the shape of Treves and Hyde, Eden Locke has Hyde and Co which serves coffees, pastries and alcohol but no meals.

At Eden Locke I felt relaxed and wish I could have stayed longer to really immerse myself in their culture and intimate yoga classes. On their website it states that "living is an art and science and it is our aim to foster an environment that allows you to live better" - sounds fantastic to me. Look forward to returning in the not too distant future. 

Use the code CULTURE to receive 15% off your stay using the Eden Locke website.

Eden Locke
127 George Street,
Edinburgh,
EH2 4JN

Bookings here

20180309_234714-01.jpg

 

 

GIRLS WEEKEND AT NUTFIELD PRIORY HOTEL AND SPA

Arriving on a cold, wet and miserable day we were very much looking forward to getting inside and arriving at what my Mum and I hoped would be a very warm and inviting Nutfield Priory Hotel. Driving up the long drive way we waited in anticipation to catch our first glimpse of the house. Such an entrance always fills me with hope that at the very end will appear something magnificent. We turned a corner and there it stood, a beautiful old, decorated house with a big tower above the main entrance. 

20180204_085834-01.jpg
20180208_212856-01.jpg

Upon entering the hotel there is a very small reception area. This seems a little odd considering the scale of the house but as you walk into the grand lounge you soon understand why. Due to the history of this building, the small reception area makes complete sense. This was, after all a home and not built originally as a reception area for a hotel.

20180203_134609-01.jpg

The original stately home was built between 1849 and 1854 by owner Thomas Fowler Wood. The house was then heavily extended in 1855-59 for the Quaker banker Henry Edward Gurney. He later became bankrupt, and so the house and lands were sold to Joshua Fielden MP of Todmorden in Lancashire who with his wife Ellen, had 11 children so at least they had plenty of space with it’s sixty bedrooms.

Going back to the grand entrance room for a moment, when you walk in it really is impressive. Floor to ceiling windows, marble fireplaces, wood panels and carvings, and the centrepiece is an original organ, built in 1874. It was a great pleasure to sit in here with my book and a cup of coffee. You can imagine this special room being excellent for entertaining and impressing your guests.

20180204_120845-01.jpg

After checking into our room at reception we travelled up a magnificent staircase to our room, a spacious and elegant master suite with lounge area, good amenities and a lovely sleigh bed, big enough for ten people!

20180203_141556-01.jpg
20180203_141648-01-01.jpg
20180203_141622-01.jpg

Our bathroom could have perhaps done with an update but was clean and had everything you needed. Our room also overlooked another talking point of the hotel, a most spectacular view of rolling hills and greenery without a high rise in sight.

20180203_141701-01.jpg
20180203_141716-01.jpg

We went down to explore the hotel before our spa treatments and found the bar area which offers the same fantastic view we’d seen from our room.

The same view is also shared by both the Cloisters restaurant (as below) and also a beautifully furnished room where afternoon tea is served.

20180203_132732-01.jpg

With so many event spaces with spectacular views, the house has absolutely made the most of it’s location and views.

20180203_134511-01.jpg

For our spa treatments, we visited the Health Club and Spa, about a three minute walk from the main house. On a cold and wet day this walk is not ideal but it’s understandable that a Victorian house might not naturally have hosted a spa. The Health Club had a gym, cafe, swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms and jacuzzi. It was great to find that there was a separate relaxation area for all those having treatments in the Elemis spa. I had a facial which was very enjoyable and it was lovely to come out and have a herbal tea in the relaxation room afterward.

In the evening we had dinner in the main restaurant Cloisters which has been awarded two AA rosettes. I was glad to have booked as it was almost full and there was a great atmosphere with lots of guests dressed up and looking glamorous for their evening out.

20180203_194511-01.jpg

We chose the set menu but you could eat from the al a carte or select the tasting menu. We received a complimentary glass of bubbles to start which was a welcome surprise. The food we ate was delicious and really well priced with friendly service. 

20180203_200159-01.jpg

To start we had the roast pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds with a pumpkin oil goats cheese cream.

20180203_203012_001-01.jpg

This was followed by the slow cooked tenderloin of pork belly, sweet potato puree with pak choi and burnt mango with cream jus.

20180203_205822-01.jpg

To finish I ate the messy trifle, which was a deconstructed trifle whilst Mum ate the poached red wine pears with burnt brioche sauce.

I was really impressed with the bold flavours and overall quality of the three courses. We enjoyed a really great evening and happily strolled into the bar for a drink afterwards.

The next morning the sun was shining so I quickly grabbed my camera taking the opportunity to capture the stunning views of this gem of a house set in its twelve acres of grounds. A great way to build up an appetite for the ensuing breakfast feast.

Breakfast is served in Cloisters restaurant. You can choose from the buffet or order a la carte at no extra charge. I had fruit followed by the eggs royale whilst my Mum ate the homemade pancakes. It was a delightful breakfast, especially in such a gorgeous setting. I could have happily stayed there all day.

20180204_094547-01.jpg
20180204_095745-01.jpg
20180204_095434-01.jpg

There is plenty of event space within this charming Grade II listed hotel and you can see why it is often preferred for work functions, events and weddings.

Nutfield Priory Hotel and Spa
Nutfield Rd,
Nutfield,
RH1 4EL,
Surrey 

For reservations call: 0845 072 7485 or 01737 824400

 

 

 

 


 

 

A SPECTACULAR FINE DINING EXPERIENCE AT THE VINEYARD HOTEL

 

Last week I posted about my stay at The Vineyard Hotel, excluding a mention of the dinner in their main restaurant because I wanted to devote a separate write up so I could capture the detail.

The evening began with a glass of English sparkling wine served with olives, smoked almonds and crispy balls filled with mushroom in a sophisticated lounge setting with an open fire and cosy lighting.

CHAMPAGNE.jpg

After drinks we were led into the main restaurant. Being just the two of us, my husband and I were fortunate enough to be seated in a semi-private room, overlooking the other diners. It was a privilege to sit in there as we could admire up close the wonderful art adorning the walls and it felt like the perfect balance between atmospheric and intimate.

Our dining experience consisted of the five course Discovery Tasting menu with matching wines. The idea behind this is that we would be introduced to wines that perfectly matched the menu; wines from grapes and regions of countries that we may never have even considered before.

RESTAURANT.jpg

I knew that the dining experience certainly looked special from my research on the website and looking through photos. Then when I saw the luxurious restaurant, white table cloths and well-presented staff I really started to look forward to experiencing the results of a much anticipated meal.

The kitchen is led by Devon born Head Chef Robby Jenks whose experience includes three years of working under the legendary Chef Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park and most recently earning 3 AA rosettes at Amberley Castle, a luxury castle hotel in Sussex.  

AMOUSE BUSH.jpg

To start we were then given a sweet and creamy amuse bouche served on a spoon and accompanied by a 2016 Viognier Dindori from India. I had never had Indian wine and didn’t know what to expect, it was really interesting, full bodied with hints of peach and very drinkable. Our sommelier Boris Nikolaev took great pride in sharing the details of the wine with us and took us on an intriguing journey throughout the evening.

DISH 1.jpg

Our first plate consisted of gorgeously meaty braised octopus and barbecued sweetcorn in a seaweed broth. A refreshing yet hearty concoction and I especially liked how the barbecuing accentuated the  flavour of the sweetcorn. The seaweed broth was like a cashmere blanket on a winters evening, warm and comforting.

tartar.jpg

Next we had beef sirloin tartar, sorrel sorbet with raisins and a bone marrow crumb. Now, I have never liked the idea of beef tartar even though it is said to be a true culinary classic and I was definitely hesitant in trying this one. I took one mouthful and with such an explosive mixture of flavours and both crunchy and buttery textures, I could see why Chef Robby had created a dish that could perhaps ease you in to the idea of tartar. For me, it worked well although the ingredients initially felt like they wouldn’t.   

tartar 2.jpg

The sorrel sorbet again added a new dimension with its texture and temperature. Sorrel, if you did not know as I didnt, is a garden herb and tastes zesty or tangy and a little acidic. For our wine accompaniment we were given black glasses and asked to guess the colour and grape variety, a really fun challenge especially when you manage to correctly guess that it’s white whilst your husband opts for red. We did not pick the right country or grape variety however and found out that it was a citrusy and fresh 2015 Verdicchio de Matelica from Italy.

hallibut.jpg

Next came a generous portion of halibut and several mussels with Wiltshire truffles and chanterelles. Everything about this dish was executed to perfection, especially the creamy herb sauce it came with.

EATING COD.jpg

This was my favourite dish of the evening and was paired also with my favourite wine of the evening too; a full bodied red, fruity and oaky 2013 Xinomavro from Greece, I will definitely be sourcing more of this wine in the future. 

GREEK WINE.jpg

We were then served the veal, with chervil and beer-roasted onion and plum. This dish was wonderfully presented and although the veal was tasty, my favourite aspect was the beer roasted onion which was incredibly moist and sweet, falling apart in my mouth. I would love to try and recreate this at home as it would definitely be a showstopper at a dinner party. This was paired with a 2015 Lo-Fi Cabernet Franc, from California. I have had this wine before and felt the flavour was a bit too unusual for me, I cannot even put my finger on what it tastes like.

VEAL 1.jpg
VEAL.jpg

Finally, for dessert we had an almond crème brûlée, with mint and pineapple. A sensational dessert that wasn’t too heavy after many rich and indulgent courses. This was paired with a very sweet 2015 Monsoon Valley, Chenin Blanc Late Harvest from Thailand. Another country I'd never had a wine from and another wine I was pleasantly surprised by. 

dessert.jpg

We then opted for the cheese board to share which although we probably could have done without it, I am glad we had it. Another striking course that came served on an elegant bespoke cheese board. I would definitely recommend ordering this cheese, there were four carefully selected varieties and my favourite was the stinky cheese – I will need to get in touch with the restaurant to find out the actual name!   

CHEESE BOARD.jpg

As if this wasn’t enough, we were then served petit fours, again in an impressive and bespoke box. There were delicate handcrafted chocolates and pistachio macaroons that came as an unexpected surprise addition.

CHOC BOX.jpg
PETITE FOURS.jpg

Overall, an exceptional experience where we were transported to food heaven for an incredible evening I will never forget. Highly recommended if you want to impress friends, family or colleagues and enjoy a spectacular lunch or dinner. 

The Vineyard Hotel,
Stockcross,
Newbury,
Berkshire,
RG20 8JU

AN UNFORGETTABLE STAY AT THE VINEYARD HOTEL

 
EXTERNAL HOTEL.jpg

The Judgement of Paris is a historic event that took place in Paris in 1976, where a blind tasting was organised for famous wine experts. Californian wines came out on top against the French and a shock wave permeated throughout the wine industry. 

A recreation of this event decorates the wall of the California bar within The Vineyard Hotel and can be seen from the reception area. It is neatly framed by the spectacular wine vault, a real feature as you walk into the main entrance.

VAULT.jpg
PARIS.jpg

The Vineyard Hotel is family owned and was set up by an English man named Sir Peter Michael to showcase wine from all over the world, currently housing 30,000 bottles in the cellars. Sir Peter also owns an award-winning vineyard in Sonoma, California and his own personal wine creations are on display and can be enjoyed with dinner as well as purchased to take home from the hotel.

20171117_170846-01.jpg

On arrival, my husband and I were welcomed with a chilled glass of English sparkling wine, the fires were roaring and I felt eager to explore the hotel and surroundings. We checked into our room, a sizeable and luxurious traditional suite with a room for lounging as well as the bedroom. It was facing the main entrance and the sun light poured in through the balcony doors.

ROOMS.jpg
BED ROOM.jpg

A gorgeous and extravagantly designed marble bathroom filled with Ren products was the final icing on the cake. 

REN.jpg
BATH .jpg
BATH 2.jpg

Keen to visit the spa, we made our way to the facilities located towards the back of the main hotel. There is a gym, pool, jacuzzi, unisex sauna and steam room, and lots of indoor loungers. It is a relatively small but very comfortable spa and I especially enjoyed the Jacuzzi, pool and relaxing on the lounger, reading my book. Spa treatments are available but it is recommended you book them before arriving to avoid disappointment.

jacuzi.jpg
pool.jpg

After the spa, it was time to explore some of the nearby countryside. The hotel is located close to Newbury and is a very beautiful part of the world and this seemed to be heightened by the autumnal tones of the leaves in the trees.

On our walk we went past a stunning golf course (pictured below) and also The Woodspeen restaurant, which I later found out is owned by John Smith, who used to be Head chef at The Vineyard.

GOLF COURSE.jpg

After building up quite the appetite for dinner, we headed to the main bar and restaurant, a wondrous and cosy setting, tastefully designed and decorated.

COSY.jpg
LUNGING.jpg
20171117_215041-01.jpg

There is so much to divulge about this sophisticated dining experience that I have decided to create an additional blog post, detailing the 'discovery tasting menu' with pairing wines that we had. 

The next morning we were sat back in the same grand dining room being served a la carte breakfast. I had the eggs benedict which was excellent and we were placed in the perfect spot to admire some of the hotels 500 piece art collection.

20171118_100706-01.jpg

Restaurant Manager Rebecca Galland kindly shared her knowledge with us and gave us an incredible insight’s into Sir Peter’s Michael’s career and background whilst also pointing out the history of the art work surrounding us. My favourite pieces were those by Franco-Russian artist Boris Smirnoff.

After a relaxing breakfast we were taken on a tour of the wine vault and cellar by the knowledgeable Francesca Baranello. It was extraordinary and fascinating. We viewed a bottle of 1982 Petrus, a steal at £20,000 and one from 1921 with it’s label and understandably some of it’s contents missing from the bottle. There was also lots of Sir Peter Michael’s own wine which unfortunately I did not get to try during my stay, but thankfully I now have an excuse for another visit.

WINE.jpg
petrus.jpg
20171118_113925-01.jpg

With 49 rooms, the hotel can be exclusively booked for a variety of events; away days, team building and conferences. For further insight on the events space on offer, click here. It is also worth noting that their sister hotel, The Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa is very close by and can easily accommodate further guests. There is also a modern wing at The Vineyard featuring high spec bedrooms, if this is a preference.

WIth only being a 45 minute train journey from London Paddington, it was the ideal break from the city. A stress free journey and a stress free, indulgent stay with lots of delicious wine and so much to see, do and learn about.

The Vineyard Hotel
Stockcross
Newbury
RG20 8JU

For reservations call +44 01635 528 770 

NIGHT VIEW.jpg