Ones country residencePosted: July 21, 2011
Last week I was fortunate enough to be personally shown around Coworth Park, the country house hotel in Berkshire from The Dorchester Collection. The property opened to much fanfare at the end of last year but has really hit its stride entering its first summer season. Guests are greeted by an overwhelming sea of French and English wild flowers planted in meadow-like fashion lining the meandering drive up to the main house, immediately creating a feeling of calm and relaxation.
The principal part of the hotel is the original Georgian manor house which has been sensitively restored and impeccably decorated by Fox Linton with eccentric English rural touches such as gymkhana rosettes mixed with art deco lamps and light fixtures. The overall effect is somewhere stylish but comfortable which makes you feel at ease, you can sink into one of the many sumptuous armchairs rather than perching on the cushion edge self-consciously.
Having a keen eye for detail, I noticed some of the more special touches which the hotel has incorporated into its everyday environment, two particular favourites being the book on every bath tray in the mansion house; The Book of Idle Pleasures by Tom Hodgkinson (after all this is a country retreat) and the ‘please make up my room’ signs having been reinterpreted as ‘ready for mucking out’.
Outside in the grounds, all 200 acres, of the hotel sit more rooms, designed with a stable theme, the Barn restaurant where many ladies who lunch lunch on a daily basis (we were near Ascot after all, dahling), the only polo facility belonging to any country house hotel – indeed they were stick and balling as we were whisked round on the Coworth golf carts, and the Sentebale (Prince Harry’s charity)Polo Cup was played here earlier in the year – intriguingly a bridge from which the house where John Lennon wrote Imagine can be seen and of course the all important spot for a luxury hideaway; the Spa. This is dug down into the ground and is hugely eco-friendly. The roof is coated with lavender which attracts bees and insulates the building to reduce heating costs. There is even a herb garden whose crops are used throughout the facility to enhance treatments. The overwhelming air of calm upon entering the spa made me want to spend the entire day swathed in the natural products on offer or floating in the Seychelles-esque infinity pool. Sadly, an evening of Champagne in London beckoned, but as a way to spend a gloriously sunny afternoon, I could think of little more pleasant. Now the only hurdle is to actually stay there and wake up to this view…!
Not quite enough of an insight? The delightful staff of Coworth Park have made a video of their experience of the property, it is really rather worth a glimpse;