Reena Patel jumps at the chance to live in the lap of luxury at one of Britain’s most admired hotels, spas and country clubs
Visiting Stoke Park is like stepping onto the set of a TV period drama. Set among 300 acres of scenic private grounds, this ultra-chic hotel, spa and country club is steeped in British history.
John Penn, a soldier, scholar and poet, is responsible for most of what can still be seen at the estate today. What’s more, it’s all at your disposal since it’s located in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire – just a short journey from the centre of London.
We drove past the immaculate lawns of the championship golf course to reach the entrance of the grand white Palladian mansion built more than 200 years ago. James Wyatt, architect to George III, worked on the development from 1790 to 1813.
We were greeted and offered valet parking before being shown to our romantic room called the Coke Suite (named after Sir Edward Coke, former owner of Stoke Park and prosecutor of Guy Fawkes).
The spacious suite’s décor is splendid, in keeping with the rest of the property: a majestic, ultra-comfy four-poster bed, rich jewel-tone furnishings, fine art, and a large en-suite marble bathroom, plus a cosy open fire and a terrace with panoramic views of the gardens and the golf course.
Feeling rather spoilt and settled in, we headed over to the spa, where they offer treatments from Thalgo, Aromatherapy Associates and CACI – a perfect mix of therapeutic and functional treatments.
We each tried a traditional massage, using classic tension-busting techniques to leave us feeling totally relaxed and under the Stoke Park spell.
The spa area also features an indoor swimming pool with two hydro-seats, an outdoor spa garden and an indoor relaxation atrium with a tropical aquarium. And, just as we were going to press, an outdoor hot tub. There’s a state-of-the-art gym with an abundance of fitness classes to sign up to, plus 13 tennis courts that become the home of The Boodles each Summer.
This prestigious tournament offers a chance to watch world-class tennis in an English country garden party setting just before Wimbledon. Top players including Goran Ivanisevic, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have graced this upscale event where guests can lounge on the lawns, try and buy exquisite diamonds, sip on Champagne and indulge in gourmet luncheons and afternoon teas. And it’s not just tennis that puts Stoke Park on top form for sport.
Course architect Harry Colt designed the 27-hole championship golf course, and there’s even an all-weather range and indoor swing studio to boot.
The grounds also feature a picturesque walking trail set around glorious parkland, lakes, historic gardens and monuments.
After our spa session and retreat to our suite, we headed over to Humphry’s – the modern British fine dining restaurant with Head Chef Chris Wheeler at the helm. Dressed in elegant and understated golds and creams with ultra-high ceilings, the restaurant takes its name from Humphry Repton who in 1791, was commissioned to upgrade the Capability Brown landscaping of the grounds, and designed the bridge the restaurant overlooks in 1805.
We sampled the seasonal menu starting with a soul-warming roast chicken consommé with truffle and tarragon tortellini and walnut crumb and Dorset crab and avocado tian with cucumber jelly, quail’s egg and pink grapefruit salsa.
For our mains, we chose fillet of beef with onion marmalade, kale, spinach-rolled shin, potato ring and red wine jus and pan-roasted cod with langoustine lasagne, poached cheek and sweetcorn.
To finish, we ordered The Box – a decadently sweet plate of chocolate and caramel mousse, Frangelico gel, salted caramel ice cream, hazelnut tuille and hot caramel sauce.
For a respite with British refinement, whether it’s food, spa, or sport, there’s no place quite like Stoke Park.
For more information visit stokepark.com