Set in over 90 acres of exquisite English countryside Hartwell House is presently celebrating its 30th anniversary since restoration with its history spanning almost a thousand years. This grade one listed stately home based in Buckinghamshire was once the lavish home of King Louis XVIII of France and today guests can enjoy the stunning four-poster bedrooms and main house adorned with antiques, fine paintings and spectacular views of the gardens, parkland and lake. The perfect venue to celebrate mine and my partners 30th birthdays wouldn’t you agree?
Hartwell House has had a wealth of very famous visitors, owners and purposes over its history. Taking it’s name from a nearby spring whose waters were supposed to cure weak eyes and complaints, each of Hartwell’s restored public rooms tell a story and its three exquisite dining rooms are open to guests and visitors. Featuring English Baroque design, Rococo style, early 19th century architecture and Jacobean figures carved into its sweeping staircase Hartwell House is an historic feast for the senses.
The expansive grounds include a stunning lake spanned by a stone bridge, a ruined church and collection of 18th century statues and garden buildings to explore, undoubtedly making it one of the finest stately homes to visit in the UK. It boasts two outdoor tennis courts, croquet on the lawn and special walks meandering through Horse Chestnut, London Plane and Giant Sequoia trees; the ideal country getaway to destress, relax, unwind and reconnect with loved ones whilst being pampered.
The main house proudly presents 32 bedrooms and suites named after members of the Court of Louis XVIII and Hartwell Court, the coach house, a further 16 bedrooms and suites. The restaurant has been awarded two AA Rosettes with Head Chef Daniel Richardson sourcing herbs and produces from the extensive kitchen gardens. Gift vouchers make the ideal treat for special occasions ranging from brunch and afternoon tea to weekend stays and spa treatments. B&B is priced from £230.00 per night, Royal rooms from £410.00 per night and Royal Suites start from £660.00.
I feel the best way to capture the magic of our weekend at Hartwell House is to share with you some of the many pictures I took, experiences we had, stories we were told and things that we discovered upon our stay and tour of the grounds. Unfortunately it rained the entire duration of our stay which we totally expected of a mid-January southern weekend and meant that as we were unable to walk the grounds; fortunately we enjoyed champagne by the fireside with good company and exquisite food which more than made up for the weather. If you have any questions, comments or feedback about Hartwell House please feel free to leave them in the comment box for me below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Arriving at Hartwell House on the Oxford Road in the village of Stone, the sweeping gated drive leading onto the grounds set the tone for the luxury of our celebratory weekend ahead. Hartwell House is 2 miles from Aylesbury, 20 miles from Oxford, 40 miles from London and 45mins from Heathrow and Luton airports. Accessible by road via theM40 motorway from the Midlands and A418 locally, by rail from Aylesbury or Thame & Haddenham Parkway stations running from London Marylebone and Birmingham or by helicopter providing 24hrs notice you can approach from the North at N5148.43 W00050.88 Ordnance Survery Map 165/796124 – but as we don’t happen to own a helicopter my partner kindly drove. Passing the picturesque cafe and spa we pulled into a tree-lined guests carpark situated to the side of the main house where a roundabout proudly presents a statue of Frederick Prince Of Wales and allows guests to be chauffeur driven directly to the entrance. Opposite the carpark is the very beautiful St Mary’s Church which was rebuilt in 1753 by Henry Keene and is one of the finest examples of early gothic revival style which is now under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust following its partial restoration after falling into neglect after the Second World War.
Mentioned in the Doomesday Book in the year 1100 a dwelling at Hartwell fascinatingly dates back to the days of William the Conqueror. From the late 15th century the estate belonged to the Hampdens, an old Buckinghamshire family, with it’s most famous member John Hampden commemorated in the entrance hall. It’s thought the house was built for Sir Alexander Hampden on the site of an earlier house completed upon his death in 1617. The main Jacobean house was built in 1620 with the completion of the Great Hall in 1740 and vestibule area added in 1750. In 1760 the Morning Room and Library were decorated in rococo style and the south and east fronts of the building were added. To this day the bookcases in the Library are fitted with some of the finest guilt-brass wirework in the country.
As Sir Alexander had no children the estate passed onto the Lee family from 1620 to 1983 via the marriage of his sister following his death. The Lee Family were ancestors of General Robert E. Lee of American Civil War fame. Dr John Lee toured the eastern Mediterranean excavating vases, gold and silver ornaments on the Greek island of Samos and formed a wide collection of Egyptian and other antiquities. A keen fan of astronomy he erected an observatory and published comprehensive catalogues of his collections of rocks, fossils, cameos, gems and coins as well as turning Hartwell House into a temperance hall and hosting annual Festivals of Peace and Temperance whilst campaigning against alcohol and tobacco.
Following on from this in 1809 to 1814 Louis 18th, exiled King of France, stayed at Hartwell House with his wife Queen Marie-Josephone de Savoie, daughter of Louis 16th and Marie-Antoinette and Gustavus IV the exiled King of Sweden. He rented the estate for £500.00 per annum with the help of the Marquess of Buckingham from nearby Stowe and filled it with courtiers and their servants totalling around 140 people. The Queen disliked the carved figures lining the staircase and had them removed but made very few other changes. In the summer of 1814 Louis signed his accession to the throne in the Library after being given the news of the fall of Napoleon in his private chapel which is today used as the bar – their Cosmopolitan cocktails are divine! During his time at Hartwell Louis kept a miniature farm on the rooftop where birds and rabbits were caged and vegetables and herbs planted in pots were cultivated and it’s noted they often enjoyed the quiet serenity of the roses and camellias of the garden together; how romantic.
In 1898 a bridge over the lake was erected from the central span of James Paine’s old Kew Bridge, transported brick by brick and lovingly rebuilt. In 1900 the forecourt was created in front of the entrance ringed by a ha-ha to the north. And in 1914 the house was let to millionaire steel magnate Lord Leith of Fyviue Castle in Scotland and his American wife Marie-Louise who enjoyed Hartwell on a lavish scale filling the greenhouses with exotic fruits and vegetables, the gardens with peacocks and a team of servants and chauffeurs to tend to their every need. Following the expiration of the Leiths’ lease in 1932 the Lee family were unable to take the estate back in hand and so they put the house, it’s entire contents and grounds up for sale which was bought by Ernest Cook in 1938, grandson of Victorian travel tycoon Thomas Cook holding an auction attended by Queen Mary and the Dukes and Duchesses of Glouster and Kent. To this day it is still owned by the Ernest Cook Trust.
Fascinatingly during the Second World War the house served as a billet and training ground for British and American troops and by 1956 was let to The House of Citizenship and used as a highly principled international finishing school and secretarial college for girls run by Dorothy Neville-Rolfe until 1983 when it closed due to its decline when she retired. In 1963 a fire caused extensive damage and destruction to much of the architectural details and ceilings of the former dining room, library and stairs and was repaired very cheaply with poor metal windows which was eventually put right by its sympathetic restoration in 1986 by Historic House Hotels. Hartwell’s saviour was Richard Broyd who commissioned Aylesbury based architect Eric Throssell in 1987 – also the year that I was born – to remodel and restore the best of what was left of Hartwell. The late Janet Compton chatelaine of Newby Hall was behind the redecoration of its interiors in a beautifully traditional country house style and the official opening of Hartwell House hotel took place in July of 1989. In 2008 Richard Broyd gave his interests in Hartwell House to the National Trust who are lovingly committed to maintaining the historic buildings and grounds as well as defending Hartwell against the proposed high-speed rail line set to run from London to Birmingham.
Now that we’ve covered some of the history of Hartwell which we discovered in a guided tour and information pack in our room I think it’s a fitting time to move onto our actual stay and bring you in from the carpark and rain! We’ve never been to Hartwell House before and weren’t entirely sure of what to expect nor where it was or how to get there but fortunately the satnav served us well from the main road and a pretty ornate sign to one side of the carpark pointed the way to the main entrance. We emerged through the trees of the carpark to the astounding view of the front of the house and words just don’t seem to bring justice to the grandeur, size and sheer beauty of such a stunning stately home. It’s ginormous; I literally had to lean back and stand as far away as possible to fit it into my camera so that I could take a picture to excitedly send to my friends with giddy anticipation of what we would find inside.
Imagining how spectacular it must have been for the residents and royalty that bestowed upon the house over its rich history I simply can’t see how anybody wouldn’t be taken aback by its elegance and magnificent authority no matter how luxurious the lifestyle they lead. It’s literally bigger than several entire streets of houses within my village and looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie; enchanting, romantic and undoubtedly full of charm. I can only imagine how incredible walking the gardens must be in the summer; the staff said it takes around an hour and a half to follow the footpaths meandering between trees and statues so it’s a pretty perfect excuse for us to return again once it gets a little warmer.
Stepping over the threshold the solid wood door creaked open into the Great Hall and we were instantly greeted by the delightful scent of a real fire, something I absolutely crave living in a modern home. Hartwell House is undoubtedly a marvellous feast for the senses; everywhere you look there are paintings, ornate mirrors, sensational floral displays, chandeliers, wood panelling, glorious antiques, architecture and affluent history. It’s not often we come across such luxury in our day to day lives and the memories we’ve made over our weekend will be cherished a lifetime. It’s also a fantastic conversational piece to say you’ve stayed in the same house as a King! A porter immaculately suited politely welcomed and led us to the reception room where we checked in our bags, received our key and information and scheduled coffee to our room before breakfast the following morning.
We stayed in number 10 which is a royal room within the main house with beautiful views of the lake and parkland at the front of the house; one of seven royal rooms in total with six located on the first floor which has lift access and one four poster room on the mezzanine. The bedrooms and suites on the first floor have been named after members of the Bourbon family and others who have occupied them between 1809 and 1814 and the second floor which was once used for animals and crops now has a sheltered roof terrace for guests to relax on a fine sunny day. Leading us up the magnificent Jacobean staircase the porter proudly told us how the replacement balusters included carved figures of G.K Chesterton, Margret Thatcher and Winston Churchill with their chubby faces and protruding tummies. Fascinatingly the staircase had been turned an entire ninety degrees in order to face the doors at the rear of the house and I cooed over how breathtaking it must be for brides to have wedding photos taken with their dresses trailing the staircase clutching a bouquet beneath the grand chandelier and he informed me – and my unsuspecting partner – that it’s a regular occurrence; a wedding fit for a princess indeed!
As soon as we stepped into our room it was wondrous, by far the largest and most exquisite hotel we’ve ever stayed in and certainly exceeded our expectations on every level imaginable. With a king size bed, direct dial telephone, WiFi, en suite bathroom, antique furnishings, a satellite flatscreen television and DVD area with sofa and side chair, a writing desk overlooking the lake, beautiful tall ceilings, luxuriously draped windows, a spacious wardrobe, ornate changing screen and trouser press there was literally everything we needed and more. Our room came with matching embroidered dressing gowns and slippers, fluffy towels, toiletries, menus for room service and local information packs – easily bigger than the entire footprint of my house in one single open plan space which had been delightfully zoned, impeccably dressed and luxuriously furnished.
After picking our jaws up off of the floor we lay side by side on the bed snacking on fresh grapes, mineral water and handmade biscuits from the hospitality tray as we decided on what to do first. Where to begin? We just didn’t know how to take it all in after such a triumphant wow-factor and first impression. Despite both turning thirty this year we felt like children at Christmas, wide-eyed, grinning from ear to ear and set to burst with excitement – a sensation that every guest of all ages undoubtedly feels upon visiting Hartwell. Seeing as we’re both keen gym-goers we arrived in sportswear in preparation for a long walk to explore the grounds which we hoped to follow with a workout but due to the miserable weather outside we decided to visit the gym first and then the indoor swimming pool at the spa before our dinner reservation which had been made for 7:30pm. Standing in the window beside a warm radiator with a cup of tea overlooking the grounds we watched on as the rain pitter-pattered through the trees and the immense sense of natural beauty, peace and tranquility outside echoed the cosiness of the lamplight within our room. No children, no traffic, no music, no phones; this jewel of serenity nestles blissfully within the countryside just a matter of miles from where I was raised as a child and I’m astounded that it’s taken me until now to have visited.
Hartwell House is famous for it’s luxurious spa which is housed in a picturesque orangery just a short stroll from the house and court tended to by Spa Manager Rebecca Cade. Containing a whirlpool bath, steam room, saunas and fully equipped gym which overlook the indoor swimming pool, the more informal yet contemporary spa cafe and bar are open to residents and non-residents serving breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, salads and light meals daily. As we checked in at 3pm we’d already eaten lunch and didn’t want to spoil our appetite for dinner so didn’t visit the cafe although having a glass of champagne and cake on the terrace in the summer sounds like another perfect reason to return. There are two all weather tennis courts within the grounds and guests can also play croquet, fish in the lake, visit nearby golf courses or enjoy the four beauty salons located at the spa which are staffed by highly qualified specialists offering a range of luxurious treatments and products across spa and beauty days, half days, lifestyle days and individual treatments to guests and non-residents alike. Hartwell Spa’s gift vouchers are extremely popular and the majority of my friends and family have fond tales of afternoon teas and pampering sessions received as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Revival, relaxation and recuperation is the ethos of the spa which includes facials, body and salt treatments, massages and cosmetic care with manicures, pedicures, waxing and bronzing treatments being just as popular for men as they are women. Full, midweek, joint and days in the country memberships for the spa are available allowing full use of the calm and relaxing fitness, health, beauty and recreational facilities which are of the finest in Britain. Trained staff are always available to demonstrate safe use of equipment and children are admitted on a limited basis during designated hours; during our stay we didn’t see or hear any children but I gave my two darlings plenty of hugs and kisses once I’d picked them up from their grandparents after enjoying the peace and quiet perhaps a little too much!
Making a beeline for the bijoux gym we were delighted to have the room to ourselves. With a selection of cardio equipment, free weights and a mat area for yoga and stretching it had everything we needed complete with floor to ceiling mirrors and a motivational view of the pool as our reward for working up a sweat. We spent around half an hour in the gym before collecting our locker keys and towels from the spa reception and separating off into the male and female changing rooms with the intention of meeting back up at the poolside. The changing rooms have vanity areas with low level lighting, generous mirrors, fresh flowers, luxury soaps and hairdryers, a swimwear dryer, lockers, changing cubicles, a sauna, showers and toilet. I changed into a two piece white lace bikini and stowed my gym kit, bag and possessions in the locker with a waterproof wrist strap concealing my key so that I was free to relax and swim.
Unlike blindingly bright public swimming pools that smell of chlorine, are full of screaming children and leave you shivering from the cold the Hartwell Spa has a beautifully warm blue mosaic tiled pool lit up beneath the water with spotlights and framed by classical stone and deep terracotta archways where loungers, leafy potted plants and side tables discreetly nestle for guests to relax in robes, read magazines and swim. I could well have been stepping onto the terrace of a rustic Greek hotel on a balmy summers evening for how beautifully tranquil it was and any body hang-ups I may have had as a mother of two instantly melted away with the extremely flattering ambient lighting and inviting blue waters.
I’m not the bravest of swimmers and panic when my feet can’t touch the floor so I always avoid the deep end of a pool and typically find myself clutching my children in their armbands by the rails for around half an hour dodging splashers, divers and people swimming laps before we all freeze and have to climb out. Thankfully the Hartwell pool is entirely shallow with no deep end which allowed me to stand up with the water at bust height no matter how far I swam, it made me feel incredible safe and reassuringly at ease to float around on my back and swim lengths without the fear of sinking or needing assistance. Following our swim we retreated to the whirlpool bath which sits at the top end of the pool and is elevated above the water. The bubbles are activated by a push switch on the wall set on a ten minute timer which conveniently ensured that guests used it for a suitable amount of time before letting others take a turn or join in. We hopped in and out of the spa bath a few times across the couple of hours that we were there, one time talking to a lone male swimmer and the next making way for a family of four where a young couple were joined by their parents to celebrate a special occasion. The spa bath was wonderfully spacious for the two of us and I’d imagine it could seat around eight adults comfortably.
As I mentioned before we didn’t see any children during our visit however children were limited to an hour or two during off peak times which isn’t when we attended. As a result of this the adult-only atmosphere was so peaceful we hardly noticed the other guests. A couple of young ladies swam in bikinis enjoying their pamper retreat together, an elderly couple in their robes read quietly down the far end of the pool and a family of four adults donned swimsuits, bikinis and shorts and chatted merrily which was nice to see a mix of ages and fitness abilities as I was unsure of if I’d be out of place in a bikini covered from head to toe in tattoos which thankfully I wasn’t.
We finished up our spa session with a visit to the steam room were we laid top and tail on warm stone benches in the serenity of billowing steam and the trickling of the water running down the traditionally tiled walls as I drifted off to sleep following the most blissful meditation. After my nap I felt so wonderfully relaxed, reborn and de-stressed as all of the aches, pains and worries of the outside world just melted away and we enjoyed the moment for how precious and rare it was. It’s so easy to get caught up in routine, family, traffic jams, work deadlines and home life that you almost forget to take time out for yourself. It’s not an everyday occurrence for me to get pampered, find silence or escape hearing the word “Mum” being called repeatedly every time I attempt to take a shower or shave my legs; visiting the spa meant more to me than I ever thought it would and it’s something I’ll now consciously make an effort to do more of because we all can benefit from some quality me-time.
After showering off, drying our swimwear and wiggling back into our clothes we dropping our towels and keys at reception and took a gentle stroll back through the garden to the house to change in preparation for dinner. Being late afternoon it was dark outside when we left and the entire feel of the grounds changed instantly; what had been pretty and quintessentially picturesque during the day now seemed stunningly romantic and exciting at night as concealed lighting cast a glow across stone archways, lit up grand iron gates and pin pointed perfectly manicured shrubbery. We took a moment to stand hand in hand looking up at St Mary’s Church in all of it’s Gothic glory before the awe-inspiring illumination of Hartwell House caught our eye. Wow. Just wow. I have goosebumps now just thinking about how magnificent a sight it was and how lucky I felt to be standing with my partner celebrating our thirtieth birthdays as Hartwell celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of it’s renovation. There aren’t many moments in life that can take your breath away like that but that night, that view and that moment was just magical for us and something I will truly cherish forever.
I could only imagine what it must have felt like to have stood in that very same spot hundreds of years ago watching royalty arriving in the evening by horse-drawn carriage in all of their finery. The sound of pianos and violins dancing on the evening breeze and the clatter of fine cutlery and crockery as guests converse jovially at feasts of such huge extravagance and proportion before crackling log fires and twinkling candlelight. Every girl has dreamed of being a princess at least once in her childhood and that was my princess moment; romantic, breathtaking and humbling all at once. To experience the enormity, history and soul of the building is wonderful and in my opinion Hartwell House has to be seen by both day and night in order to capture it’s true essence.
Dressing for dinner back in the room I chose a geometric print minidress which tied at the waist with a high neckline, a light summer jacket, crocodile print clutch and loafers and my partner wore a short-sleeved blue shirt, dark jeans and dinner shoes. Due to the heating in our room and open fires in the public rooms Hartwell was comfortably warm throughout the day and night and we didn’t feel chilly at all despite the ice and rain. The restaurant dress code is smart although jacket and tie is not obligatory for gentlemen as only trainers, shorts and tracksuits are unacceptable. Hartwell House is entirely non-smoking and as neither of us are smokers we had no need to take our coats to dinner as we simply had to walk downstairs from our room which made our weekend stay conveniently easy to pack in a single holdall bag each for shoes, gym wear, swimwear and evening attire.
The principle dining room was designed in 1988 in the style of early 19th century architect Sir John Soane and has been awarded two AA rosettes. Lunches start from as little as £25.00 per person for two courses, £32.00 for three courses, £36.00 for Sunday lunch and a selection of dinner menus start from £32.00 for three courses with seasonal three course lunch menus priced at £26.00 per person passionately created by Head Chef Daniel Richardson. Hartwell House also features private dining for special events as well as room service for those who wish to dine alone. With an extensive wine cellar and wine menu to match there’s something to suit every palate.
Prior to dinner we attended the bar for pre-dinner drinks where we were welcomed by very dapper waiting staff with prosecco, champagne and canapés and we took a short tour of the public rooms before settling beside the fireplace to soak up the fine ambiance of the evening. The traditionally wood panelled bar proudly displays copies of Balthazar Nebot’s paintings of Hartwell’s original gardens before then owner Sir Thomas Lee removed the classical buildings, statues, obelisks, canals and topiary ephedra in favour of newly fashionable landscape gardening in 1738. The originals of the painting still reside in the Buckinghamshire County Museum for which there are eight in total and over the preceding years former features have been repositioned and restored where possible with surviving fragments of the rear arcaded wall of the Menagerie now the Hartwell Court displaying statues of Jupiter and Juno, the Rusticated Arch moved to the gardens southern perimeter along with the Obelisk and William III’s Column. Architect Eric Throssell who was responsible for the restoration of Hartwell House used the paintings to create a reconstructed plan of the formal gardens which is displayed in a model besides the grand staircase.
Presently Richard Jones is the Head Gardener at Hartwell House which boats a spring garden planted with snowdrops, daffodils, eranthis, primroses and anemones. The path leading the the Canal Temple has been spectacularly planted with 10,000 daffodils and the orchard produces old varieties of apples, apricot, peach, pear and plum trees of the same variety as those planted in 1856. Flowers for the house and fresh herbs for the kitchen are also grown in the garden and current restoration is underway on the lost flower gardens of Lady Elizabeth Lee to recapture the essence of her sixteen ornamental flower beds.
I dined from the Hartwell House Vegan Menu with three courses costing £62.00 and felt incredibly spoilt for choice with such enticing options so asked the chef to prepare the dishes he’d like to recommend for me and he selected the Textures Of Beetroot And Walnut Salad to start, the Carrot Risotto With Charred Broccoli And Chestnuts for my main and Chilled Coconut Rice Pudding With A Mango Sorbet for dessert. My partner equally devoured his three carnivorous courses and we had a bottle of still water for the table, freshly baked white and wholemeal rolls and two bottles of Sauvingnon Blanc in an ice bucket following our champagne. The meal was exquisite, light, fresh, flavoursome and wonderfully presented – precisely the high level of quality and creativity you would expect from a restaurant awarded two AA rosettes. The beetroot starter was rich and succulent, balanced by the beautifully sweet carrot risotto and creamy chestnuts which contrasted to the cool crisp chocolate shell of the mouth-watering zingy sorbet. I’m drooling again whilst writing this and will certainly take inspiration from these dishes into my own kitchen. Eating out as a vegan can be tricky at the best of times as not many restaurants have mastered the art of creating appealing vegetarian menus let alone tackling dairy free. To have had an entire vegan menu to choose from was literally my idea of heaven and testament to the chef’s skill and creativity to cater for all dietary requirements.
Following dinner we took coffee and sweets in the public room with friends who joined us and didn’t retire to our room until 2:30am as we moved onto cocktails and whiskey at the bar. Before becoming a parent I loved going out at the weekend to bars and clubs in tiny dresses and crazily high heels, drinking my bodyweight in spirits, singing at the top of my voice and not getting home until the early hours of the morning. Fast forward to my thirties and I now crave sophistication, good food, fine wines, intellectual debate and pleasant company; I’d much rather enjoy quality over quantity. Hartwell House have captured the ambiance of luxury in every aspect possible, that je ne said quoi that others struggle to find because it’s either there or it isn’t. Every last detail of every service, facility and feature has been meticulously tailored to create the most seamless, relaxing, elegant and memorable experience. The staff are highly knowledgable on the history of Hartwell and talk with such passion and love of it’s rich past and restoration that you can’t help but fall in love with it too.
The following day we received our scheduled morning tea and coffee to our room which arrived on a silver tray with fine china teacups and saucers as we snuggled up in our gowns admiring the morning light streaming through the window and across the vast parkland. Heading down to breakfast shortly after we were greeted by staff at the restaurant who informed us we could help ourself to the continental breakfast laid out with tea and coffee, fresh juices and smoothies, fruits, cereals, jams, fish, meats and cheeses, bread and pastries and upon our return somebody would be over to take our order of a cooked breakfast from the menu. Being the fussy vegan that I am I didn’t want to order the traditional or vegetarian breakfast minus the meat, egg and dairy so asked if I might have a tomato on a slice of toast instead which I’m rather fond of at home. Within a few minutes the waiter returned with a rack of toast, oil and a juicy portobello mushroom stacked upon a grilled vine tomato on wholemeal. I followed this with a bowl of fresh fruits and a glass of apple juice feeling nicely content as we headed back to the room with a DVD from reception to make the most of our late check-out at 1pm.
Hartwell have a selection of DVD’s to choose from for all ages and genres and although I don’t usually make a habit of watching films when I stay in hotels it seemed an ideal way to unwind without distraction – and possibly rehydrate an impending hangover! It’s not often you have a hotel room as large as your house and it made a nice change to hop onto the sofa with a cup of tea and enjoy ninety minutes of escapism courtesy of Leonardo Di Caprio and Mark Wahlberg in the Departed as my partner showered and packed. Checking out of our room at 1pm we dropped our room key at reception, paid our bill and took a grand tour of the house learning all about it’s rich history, inspiration behind the renovation, previous uses and royal residents which provided great food for thought that I hope I’ve captured in this blog. The staff welcomed us to relax and use the spa facilities for the remainder of the day and it proved impossible to resist an afternoon swim and steam before heading home. Leaving Hartwell House with our swimwear neatly wrapped in eco-friendly dry bags we walked on air back to the car ready to return to reality, collect the children from their grandparents and prepare for the week ahead; they have no idea how incredible their bedtime story is going to be tonight!
During our visit we discovered Hartwell House are presently running a special offer of £89.50 per person per night valid Sunday-Thursday including a £15.00 allowance each towards dinner food in the hotel and restaurant and 15% discount on pre-booked spa treatments if you’d like to experience Hartwell House Hotel & Spa for yourself!