Sabi Phagura and Simon Wittenberg visit the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross, one of Buckinghamshire’s newest hotels
Re-launched on the 24th September 2015, Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross is located in the heart of Buckinghamshire near to Beaconsfield. Built in 1932, and formerly known as the Bellhouse Hotel, the building underwent an extensive £10 million refurbishment, and the result is an attractive 138-bedroomed four-star hotel, spa and events centre.
First impressions count and guests here are greeted by colonial-style architecture and a spacious and airy reception with plenty of staff on-hand to help. There are several classifications of bedroom, and we stayed in a Club Room King on the fourth floor with views overlooking fields which lie behind the hotel.
It is not large in size, but it does grant the benefits of a well-stocked complimentary mini-bar with alcohol and soft drinks, a large flatscreen TV, and upgraded toiletries from Temple Spa in the very compact shower-only bathroom. The décor boasts simple clean lines with a splash of pink in line with the Crowne Plaza’s corporate colour scheme.
A Club Room also grants access to the Club Lounge on the ground floor. Here you can find an array of nuts and crisps, juices, hot beverages, a selection of the day’s newspapers, and board games to keep you entertained. Between 17:30 and 19:30, canapés are served alongside a comprehensive selection of alcoholic spirits and wines to get the taste buds well versed before dinner. Free and fast Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel for those who like to stay ‘connected’ during their stay.
The 1269 Restaurant Bar & Grill on level ‘R’ is the hotel’s main eatery, and has a fairly relaxed atmosphere with white tiled walls, leather seating and funky lounge music accompanying the chatter of diners. The British menu, which is literally a moving feast, as it’s still in its experimental stages, is heavily biased towards meat and shellfish dishes, so there is not a great choice for vegetarians as it stands. One standout feature of 1269 is the Josper, an indoor barbeque-type oven brought over from Spain by the head chef who has been with the Crowne Plaza group for around 17 years. The distinct advantage of cooking using this type of machine is that the food on offer has a distinct smoky flavour when grilled.
From the appetiser plates, we sampled the flour station bread board with whipped butter (£3.50), as well as the Buccleuch estate beef carpaccio (£5.50) with yuzu flavours, anise, rocket and horseradish snow which was deliciously tender, rich in flavour, and very well composed. Moving on to the starters, we opted for the brilliantly-creamy roast celeriac soup (£6.00) which surrounded the pea and pumpkin soup pesto in the middle of the bowl. All proved an excellent opening chapter to our meal.
The Josper is at the heart of 1269’s mains, and we were not disappointed with the outcome. My dining partner enjoyed a tasty Black Footed chicken breast and wing which came with gem salad, rosemary crumbs and chicken gravy (£15.50). This was complemented by a generous side of mixed vegetables (£4.00). Joined by a glass of Pinot Grigio and some Buttermilk mash (£4.00), I headed for the Stonebass ‘a la plancha’ (£19.00), which translated as a small and moist piece of sea bass which sat on a bed of steamed vegetables, minus the prescribed squid, chorizo and samphire.
For dessert, this proved challenging, as all of the sweets, which include the likes of Apple tarte tatin and chocolate mousse just looked so tempting. My guest and I both headed straight for the pineapple and Chanterais carpaccio (£5.00) which featured rolled pieces of melon and pineapple, and a charred cube of fresh watermelon. The pièce de resistance was a ball of Malibu sorbet which seeped into the crevasses of this dessert. A pot of fresh mint tea rounded off what had been a satisfactory visit to 1269.
On return from dinner, turndown at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross sees the addition of robes and slippers on the bed, the playing of serene tunes from Smooth Radio, and atmospheric lighting to set the scene. It’s then time to slip under the soft white bedding to experience a very good night’s sleep.
In the morning, guests residing in the Club Room have the option of having breakfast in the Club Lounge or in 1269. We opted for the latter, and there is a more than adequate continental buffet with everything from pastries and cereals through to fresh fruit and smoked salmon. There is also a separate station where omelettes and eggs are cooked to the desires of individual palates, which sit alongside the traditional ingredients of a hearty cooked breakfast. For those wanting something a little more sophisticated, visitors can order Eggs Benedict, Florentine and Royale (£8.00) from the à la carte menu.
For the ultimate pampering at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross, there is an extensive variety of treatments available at the Wave Spa and Wellness Centre which are predominantly based on the soothing qualities of ESPA and Jessica products. We sampled the couple’s Rasul™ Mud Therapy (£60 for 45 minutes), a relaxing top-to-toe mud treatment which is designed to stimulate and revive the muscle and lymphatic systems. Natural mud is applied to the face and body to harden before the warmth of the steam softens it again. After another turn in the experience shower, we retreated to the tranquillity of the spa’s relaxation suite.
Sabi indulged in the body wrap treatment which started with a dry body brush, then a scrub, before being cocooned in foil. Rich cream was used all over the body to give a soft velvet finish on the skin.
The Wave Spa and Wellness Centre also features a serene 15-metre swimming pool with sensory lighting and a high ceiling, which is surrounded by a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. It is a nice place to relax with friends and family, or to put in some short lengths.
For anyone contemplating visiting this part of the UK, the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross is definitely worth a look, as it brings many amenities under one roof in a comfortable and nicely-furnished environment.
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross – Where and How?
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross is situated on Oxford Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire HP9 2XE, United Kingdom. To make a reservation, e-mail [email protected] or call +44 (0)1753 893891.
Membership to Wave Spa & Wellness includes unlimited usage of the gym, pool and classes. For those not lucky enough to be local, Pamper Days are available from £120.00, and Weekend Retreats including a stay at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross start from £230.00.