Who knew that just one hour from London, tucked away within a lush green estate was a magnificent country mansion house hotel. I certainly didn’t. Hartwell House Hotel is located in the Vale of Aylesbury and is one of Buckinghamshire’s most celebrated and luxurious country houses. The house was built back in the 17th century and has both Georgian and Jacobean features which you’ll notice throughout. The house has a total of forty-six rooms, all of which have such an extended history behind them. You’ll find the great hall as you enter the hotel with a truly stunning ceiling, library, morning room, split dining room and my favourite part – a unique staircase adorned with carved Jacobean figurines. I felt not only honoured to walk up them but also felt as if I was reliving history all over again. Hartwell House Hotel is one of the most unique and intriguing hotels I’ve ever stayed in with more history then you could ever imagine in one place. For those who want pure peace and seclusion, guests can book the hotels Court Suites or The Old Rectory which even has its own private pool – set in 2 acres of private land.
The Grounds/What To Do
One thing you’ll quickly come to notice about Hartwell House is its grounds. They’re incredible. As you enter through the front of the hotel you’re immediately taken back by the sheer size of the property too. Photos really don’t do its size justice. Through the front doors and out the back of the hotel is where its real beauty lies. An immaculately kept lawn, green as green could be and dotted with daisies. A gargantuan total of ninety acres sets this hotel apart from others and its landscape dates back to the 18th century. You could walk for hours here and still not have seen it all. We walked every nook and cranny, stumbling across statues, temples, canals, a tennis court and what I believe was a beautiful apple/blossom orchard. During your walk you’ll most likely encounter the magnificent bridge you drive over to enter the hotel which is adorned with huge statues and chess pieces, it really takes you back. Geese and ducks are dotted around by the hotels feature bridge and if you’re lucky, they may even show off a duckling or two depending on the time of year. Normally I’d describe the nearby attractions but given just how much this hotel has to offer I’m not even going to mention outside of its grounds – you really don’t, nor shouldn’t have to leave. Did I mention there’s a spa?
The hotel’s fourty-six rooms have a history that’s so historic I really was overwhelmed during my time here. We stayed in the Duchesse d’angouleme Room (aka Marie Thérèse of France) who was the eldest child of King Louis XVI of France and the one and only, Marie Antoinette. The house was actually once court to both then the exiled King of France, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette between 1809-1814. Apparently Marie hated the staircase and wanted to take it down, thankfully they didn’t let her. Fresh fruit and home-made biscuits were in the room on arrival, along with some fragrant Floris spa products and the usual complimentary gowns and slippers. Downsides to the room, well couldn’t really find one. Our only thought was for those who like a bit of in-bed TV, may struggle given how big the room is and how far away the television is located. Our bed was incredibly comfy and the views looking out over the lawn were magical, with window seats large enough to prop up against with a book and glass of wine.
The Spa at Hartell House is located just a short few minutes walk from the main part of the house and is home to pure relaxation. With a warm clear water pool lined with blue mosaic tiles, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a long list of spa treatments. The expert therapists here will cater to your every need, tailoring each treatment to your requirements using only the best products from Aromatherapy Associates and Jessica. For those planning to work up a sweat, head to the gym which is fully equipped with state of the art essentials. The Spa Cafe overlooking the spa offers a menu of breakfast, lunch, light snacks and afternoon tea.
The Food & Drink
The food offering here at Hartwell House is focused around a decadent, classic dining room which has an infectious atmosphere and beautiful views over the back lawn. We enjoyed glasses of Champagne on the terrace, petit fours in the lounge and for dinner a lovely plate of seared scallops, followed by chewy and fruity macaroons for dessert. I’d still recommend the restaurant here looks at modernising its menu, or even stripping it back because it does feel a little dated and portion sizes were very small, considering the prices. Breakfast the next morning refueled us for another day of exploring the grounds before we left.
Hartwell House Hotel is a hotel to simply get away from it all. It has class, traditional charm and so much history you feel as if you’re reliving the past all over again. Very rarely can you spend your every waking hour in one hotel without the need to venture out, but here you don’t have to. You can walk for miles, watch the wildlife go by on the terrace and sink into a bed so comfy you won’t ever want to leave. Hartwell House I love you and I can’t wait to come back.
Hartwell House Hotel
Tel: 01296 747444