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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
With so many event spaces with spectacular views, the house has absolutely made the most of it’s location and views.
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.
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.
To start we had the roast pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds with a pumpkin oil goats cheese cream.
This was followed by the slow cooked tenderloin of pork belly, sweet potato puree with pak choi and burnt mango with cream jus.
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.
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
For reservations call: 0845 072 7485 or 01737 824400