Our search for a truly relaxing escape, with fantastic food, wine, and beautiful fascinating surroundings, led us to The Manor Country House Hotel in Oxfordshire
When you’re received at a manor house with a glass of cold crisp champagne before you have even checked in, you know you’re in for a treat. And that is exactly how my friend Jules and I were greeted just moments after stepping inside The Manor Country House Hotel at Weston-on-the-Green in Oxfordshire.
With weather on our side, we decided to start our stay with a leisurely stroll in the glorious and impressive topiary gardens. Active-minded guests can indulge in a game of croquet, tennis or simply enjoy a dip in the outdoor swimming pool which is open from May until October. A bar overlooking the pool gives you a feeling you’re on holiday abroad, and when the weather is truly scrumptious on a British summer’s day, you really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else other than here. The suntrap terrace overlooking the gardens makes for a cracking place to chill out with a drink to whet your appetite before dinner.
Dinner was enjoyed in the Baron’s Hall. Dating back to the 11th century, this grandeur hall has been restored to show off its linen fold oak-panelling to ensure an unsurpassed dining experience Downton Abbey style. Above the Baron’s Hall is the original Minstrel’s Gallery where the manor offers exclusive dining experiences for parties of up to 10. The versatile room is the perfect backdrop for all occasions be it a family celebration, a Sunday lunch, or indeed a magical wedding.
After slipping into suitable attire, we ended up having dinner here. The a la carte menu is full of choices to tantalise any taste buds from meat to fish dishes as well as some vegetarian options. And if there is anything on the menu that you are allergic to or simply don’t like the look of, the waiters will happily let the chef know without any raised brows or fuss. I did just that. I ordered the seared scallops with roast cauliflower and apple minus the black pudding. It was delicious. The mains consist of dishes like treacle cured beef fillet, Oxford lamb, sea bass and herb gnocchi. There’s also a grill where steak lovers can feast on beef aged for a minimum of 35 days. The rib eye and sirloin steak are accompanied with hand cut potatoes, grilled field mushrooms, plum tomato and wild watercress salad.
There are a number of rooms available for meetings or for just relaxing in. The Snug is a cosy hangout like its name where you can enjoy a glass of champagne or a mouth-watering quintessential afternoon tea. One of my favourite rooms was the Georgian Room. Added during the 18th Century, this room is beautifully furnished with comfortable oversized sofas and chairs, with glorious views over the Manor’s aforementioned gardens and topiary. Numerous guests enjoyed post-dinner drinks from the all-day Bertie’s cocktail bar – named after one of the most famous families to have owned the manor.
Anyone can enjoy the manor experience for the day, but in my opinion, it’s made complete with an overnight stay. The Manor Country House Hotel has 25 beautifully appointed rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and furnished with antique wardrobes and dressers. The rooms, including ours overlooking the main entrance, are incredibly spacious with enviable views of the grounds from every angle. With fine bed linen, pillows and an inviting bed, I almost believed I was the lady of the manor.
Waking up was a real joy listening to the birds chirping away with absolutely no sign of any traffic or indeed people, and unlike my normal routine, I didn’t rush to get up. But unfortunately I had to tear myself away from the bed but at least I had time to lavish over a hearty breakfast which I managed to stretch to an hour. As I drank my third coffee after a full English, I thought: “this is what weekends away are truly made for”.
The Manor Country House Hotel – Where and how
The Manor Country House Hotel is located at Weston-on-the-Green, Northampton Road, OX25 3QL, United Kingdom.
Prices for the one of the 25 en-suite rooms at the countryside hotel dating back to Norman Times start from £99. For more information, visit www.themanorweston.com.
By Sabi Phagura