Take a Step Back in Time with the Luton Hoo…
As soon as you drive through the gated entrance to the Luton Hoo and take your car through the winding roads, shadowed by immaculately kept trees and parkland you know you are in for a treat…
Luton Hoo manor dates back to the 18th century, set in 1,065 acres of beautiful Bedfordshire countryside, it displays such a sense of grandeur you cant help but feel excited at the thought of what lay through the double breasted front doors. Steeped in history, charm and a breath-taking elegance, it is clear to see why it is so popular.
The hotel is within close proximity of Luton Airport and just 25 minutes by train from London St Pancras. There is plenty of parking for those who wish to drive, and at no extra cost.
As we arrived, we parked our car in the car park directly outside and were led into the ‘great hall’- a room lavished in such charm, style and antique furnishings we were left anticipatedly waiting to see what the rest of the Hotel had in store.
And it did not disappoint.
One highlight of the interior was a truly grand spiral staircase which led up to the bedrooms, it was absolutely beautiful, making you feel like you’d stepped back in time to the age of Downton Abbey. (And it’s a perfect photo spot too! )
Throughout the Hotel a continued theme of lavish style, antique furnishings and old-style décor transports you back 300 years, paying homage to those whom once frequented the property. Beautiful chandeliers dripping with crystals hang from the ceiling,ornate portraits adorn the walls and beautiful sculptures can be seen around the manor.
We were shown round the Hotel- and were surprised to find out it had not just one building, but three. Aside from the main Manor, the 1,065-strong acres of land are home to two other large buildings. One, which is converted from the stables hosts the brasserie (if you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe for your dining), the spa, a bar and more contemporary style hotel rooms. The other is mostly used for private functions such as weddings and has it’s own private gym and dining area.
In fact, the Hotel grounds are so large that Luton Hoo provide unique cabs to take you from place to place (free of charge) and make you feel like royalty at the same time!
We were also lucky enough to get talking to a night porter who told how the Queen had had her honeymoon at the Hotel, and we even got a sneak peek at the room she stayed in!
We were placed in one of the royal suites in the Mansion House, and even after seeing the breathtaking decor of the Hotel itself, we were unprepared for just how beautiful our room would be.
With period-style furnishing, ornate decor and a lavishly old-fashioned style bed, it was breathtaking. Tumbling views rolled out beneath the window and if it weren’t for mod-cons such as a television and phone, it would be easy to think you’d fallen back in time to a byegone era.
And if the room weren’t enough, the adjoining bathroom was spectacular. Not only was it vastly spacious with a wonderful round window and stunning views, but it held his and her sinks in front of a beautiful marble worktop and mirror and a wonderful corner bath that I wished I could have packed up and taken home with me. Molton Brown toiletries were a nice extra touch.
We didn’t try out any of the spa treatments whilst we stayed at the Luton Hoo, however we did spend a good couple of hours relaxing in the infinity pool and hot-tub. With floor to ceiling windows surrounded by wildlife, it’s easy to forget about the worries and stresses of everyday life and become lost in a haven of tranquillity.
Aswell as the pool, there is also a heat therapy suite with a sauna, steam room and solarium to relax and rejuvenate in. Spa users also have access to the fitness studio and gym through their stay.
Treatments in the six treatment rooms include various facials, body polish and wrap, ultra refreshing or relaxing body ritual, pregnancy treatment, 5 senses body treatment, deep tissue massage, aromatic body massage, hot stone massage, back neck and shoulder massage, reflexology, Indian head massage, hopi ear candles and reiki treatment.
For dinner we had reservations in the Wernher Restaurant, named after Sir Julius Werhner who bought Luton Hoo in 1903. I have eaten in a few fair fine restaurants, but this really was something else. Remodelled in the early 20th century by the architects of the Ritz Hotel its exotic marble panelwork and richly coloured fabrics are reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles.
Delicately beautiful patterns adorn the chairs and extravagant curtains frame the windows. Hanging from the ceiling are several glistening chandeliers and the ambience of the room is one you’ll never forget- for from the instance you step through the double glass doors, you feel like royalty.
One word of advice is to make sure you dress smart for the occassion- men are required to wear a suit jacket, tie and smart shoes. We didn’t realise this until arrival but the Hotel luckily keeps some spare ties you can borrow in case you forget.
In a refreshing rule, mobile phones are prohibited and it’s a breath of fresh air to see people enjoying their food rather than spending half the meal finding a good angle for an instagram shot.
The food itself was absolutely delicious and the service faultless.
The menu is varied, from the likes of Confit duck leg terrine with toasted brioche, tomato jam and peanut praline to Roast rump of lamb with garlic pomme puree, creamed leeks, celeriac, baby vegetables and a dessert of Strawberry iced soufflé with berry compote. The food itself is delicious, offering a real tapestry of flavours, sights and smells. The meat is tender and succulent, the vegetables having that just right amount of crunch with the right amount of tenderness and the presentation looking (almost) too good to eat.
From vegetarian to meat options, there is something to satisfy all palettes- and the varied dishes make it almost too difficult to choose!
In terms of the cost, for a restaurant of its status, service and quality,we didn’t feel that 3 courses for £42.50 per person was bad at all. If you wish to add on Tea / Coffee with Petits Fours it is £5.50 per person.
On the second day of our stay, we wandered around the grounds. Luckily the weather was on our side, for these grounds are well worth a visit and you can easily spend a morning or afternoon wandering leisurely around and taking in the views.
As soon you exit the manor you are greeted by a beautiful flower garden, the grass and flowers all immaculate- it is a testament to the Hotel by how well-kept this is, the flowers are opulent in colour and it is easy to see the care which is put into maintaining such a nice area. If you carry on a little further you will reach a ‘secret’ rock garden. If you had ever felt like you had wandered onto the set of the film ‘Secret Garden’ this would be it. Waterfalls and plants filled the rockery and it felt like a calm oasis miles away from city life.
On the way you can find a croquet set and also a large lake which is a popular backdrop for fireworks displays in the autumn, and wedding photos.
Overall I would rate Luton Hoo as one of the best places i have ever stayed. From the service, to the decor and ambience, to the food, everything was just what you could want for a break away. A haven for pure escapism and a reprieve from the hassles and worries of everyday life.
Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa
The Mansion House
I was hosted by Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels – a consortium of 46 privately-owned independent British hotels. Situated in Bedfordshire, the grand, five-star hotel has extensive Capability Brown-designed grounds which include formal gardens, a 50-acre lake, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course and a spa housed in the former stables. Inside, the bedrooms are beautifully furnished, as are the impressive state suites. A night’s stay at Luton Hoo costs from £280 per room (two sharing), including traditional English breakfast and use of the spa and wellness facilities. To book call Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929 www.prideofbritainhotels.com).