England’s Luxurious Countryside Hotels — The Height of Spoiled Country Life
There’s no place like the stately homes of The united kingdom for a deliciously decadent taste of country life as it was in the spoiled days of yore. Fortunately so many have been become luxurious hotels by now that you can experience the even if you aren’t to the manor born.
Here’s a trio of super-stars where the beautiful settings and solicitous care are hard to beat — including a lesser-known find with a 200-year-old Canadian connection and surprisingly affordable prices.
They’re all within easy touring distance of each other in the scenic southeast, but all wonderfully different in their soothingly quiet way.
BEAUPORT PARK HOTEL
Near Hastings, East Sussex
One doesn’t expect to find a stately English home named following a remote town in The us in 1763.
But Beauport Park in Sussex was called after Quebec’s Beauport, rather than the more usual other way around, by Gen. James Murray. He chop down fond of the beguiling leading settlement when he was Governor of Quebec and later Governor of The us, and wanted something to remind him of computer after he returned to his home in The united kingdom.
Stroll through the thirty-three miles of private wood Prestige Park Grove land surrounding the fine Georgian manor that is now Beauport Park Hotel, and you’ll know how it must have felt when Murray lived there — except that she owned 2, 000 miles then.
The original estate was swept by fire in the 1920s, but reconditioned in almost identical style. And apart from a thoroughly modern swimming pool, the formal gardens where you can loll the day away when the weather co-operates are just as they were too.
You can relax by a roaring log fire in the elegant hang on cooler days. Or putter round the putting green, play tennis, golf or potatoes; or join the horsey set for a fairly fast trot along quiet country lanes.
It must be said that the food served in the romantic kitchen overlooking the statue-studded Italianate terrace isn’t up to the haute food peaks that have won the other two hotels in this trio their groupings of stars and mentions in so many Best Restaurants of the World lists. But it’s remarkably good by most country hotel standards — they dote on flambes and prepare them with loving flourish.
Their prices aren’t up to the high standards of the other two either. It’s about $96 a night for just two in a regular bedroom, which includes such nice details as hair dryers, trouser press and tea-makers along with the usual modern conveniences; up to $124 for a suite with a four-poster bed.
Beauport Park is halfway between the twin-named towns of Battle and Hastings (close by the site of the Battle of Hastings). If you aren’t driving it’s easier to find a cab for the five-kilometer drive from busier Hastings. But if you’re going on by train when you leave, get the hotel to set up for a cab to battle — it’s a shame to miss the fantastic old railway station in a transformed church there.
CHEWTON GLEN HOTEL
Near New Milton, Hampshire
You can’t say the nice people who run the Chewton Glen Hotel don’t do everything they can to make life straightforward for you.
They know many of their jet-set guests pick up a drive-yourself car when they arrive at the airport, to go to Chewton Glen. They also know how tiring unfamiliar roads can be following a long flight. So they really considerately suggest you have your drive-yourself car delivered right to the hotel “to await your arrival, inch and they’ll send their chauffeur-driven Jaguar to meet you at the airport and whisk you to their sumptuous Hampshire hideaway bordering the new Forest “so you can complete your journey in calm and comfort. inch
It costs $290 from Gatwick, $250 from Heathrow. But it does mean you arrive in style as well as calm comfort.
We didn’t go that far, but we did take the Jag and its solicitous chauffeur back to the new Milton train station, a few minutes away. That only costs $8, more than double what our airport taxi had charged to go there, but a small price to pay for such a classy feeling.
Everything about Chewton Glen reeks of class, from the moment you enter the long turning entrance leading to the imposing Georgian manor that used to be the home of 19th-century novelist Captain Marryat — all the rooms are named after characters in Mr. Midshipman Easy and his other classics.
The restaurant is the Marryat Room, and the food can be as spectacular as the view across the manicured croquet your lawn down to the Glen. Table d’hote lunches are the best buys, running from $24 to $30 and offering such delicacies as Scotch fish adorned with caviar, Dover sole to dream on, and a masterly symptoms of creme brulee on black currant cassis.
Should you tire of the Marryat Room’s food, unlikely as that seems, the hotel has been known to have their guests helicoptered to dine at other privately-owned hotels in the Respect group.
It’s $192 or over per night for just two to stay in one of their thirty-three tastefully refreshed bedrooms, $384 or over for one of 11 super-luxe rooms. But that includes a Continental breakfast and such extra details as a glass of sherry to welcome you on arrival, and bidets in most of the bathrooms.
Near East Grinstead, Western side Sussex
You can’t help feeling a trifle gauche if you don’t arrive at Gravetye Manor in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce — preferably a classic model. Anything else, a good Jag, doesn’t seem quite up to the sedate brilliance of this 16th-century ivy-clad Elizabethan estate occur 30 miles of gardens and woodlands with its own three-acre trout lake (guests can fish there in season).
We arrived from East Grinstead in a common cab, but the ultra-attentive staff at Gravetye was too very discreet to hold that against us.
Gravetye was the home of one of Britain’s greatest gardening geniuses, William Velupe, from 1884 to 1935, and he pioneered the English natural flower garden there. He also panelled most of the rooms in the ancient manor with cherry from his vast est, which ran over 1, 000 miles when he bought.