Spending Christmas in a hotel can actually be cost-effective, especially if you count it as a present to your partner or yourself! Even luxury breaks are well worth it if it takes away the hassle of preparing and running Christmas. Moneymagpie Carl and his wife recently enjoyed a wonderful stay at Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire. Here’s everything you need to know about this superb hotel.
Upon arrival at Hartwell House we were warmly greeted at the door and our luggage was taken to our room. This was our first experience of the perfectly attentive yet restrained service we would enjoy throughout our stay. We were asked where we’d come from and how our journey had been as we were shown to our wonderful royal four-poster bedroom with stunning views across some of Hartwell’s 90 acres. The feeling you get is of stepping into the pages of a Jane Austen novel, such is the grandeur of the place.
His and hers wardrobes flanked a magnificent dressing table which, along with the king-sized bed and fine paintings added to the regal feel of the room. Tea and coffee-making facilities aren’t provided in the room, but guests can call down to reception and hot drinks will arrive at your door in minutes. The immaculate and equally grand bathroom was stocked with fine soap and shampoo plus gorgeous towels and bathrobes.
As if we weren’t already comfortable, a trip to The Hartwell Spa ensured complete relaxation. My wife enjoyed a blissful 55-minute aromatherapy massage which was preceded by a consultation so that the ideal oils could be selected.
The gymnasium, stocked with top-of-the-range equipment for all levels of fitness, looks out onto the stunning indoor pool area. This sumptuous room, modelled on an orangery, features beautiful ornaments and statues and has a good-sized swimming pool, comfortable loungers plus a soothing spa bath. Beyond this is a large steam room plus there are single-sex saunas in each changing area.
All this was more than enough for a thoroughly relaxing pre-dinner treat. We both came out of the spa feeling completely refreshed and ready to sample Head Chef Daniel Richardson’s food, which has received two prestigious AA Rosettes.
Upon arrival for dinner we were presented with delicate canapes in the lavish drawing room, surrounded by antiques, paintings and opulent furniture. After ordering our food we were led into the magnificent dining area, which was lavish yet comfortable and maintained a relaxed atmosphere.
A sumptuous three-course dinner was delivered with immaculate timing by the polite, polished but never fawning staff. The rich flavours, considered presentation and perfect portion sizes meant we retired for coffee feeling full yet not uncomfortably so.
The next morning we tucked into a delicious cooked breakfast, made with locally-sourced produce and washed down with delicious English breakfast tea. To walk this off we decided to have a stroll around Hartwell’s splendid grounds, which were landscaped by a contemporary of Capability Brown. Herons, Canada geese and swans graced the lake and the tranquility of such a walk on a crisp winter’s morning takes some beating. Walking past the helipad reminds you of the stature of this house, with previous guests including President Clinton, Robert De Niro and Warren Buffett.
After a friendly and efficient check-out we left Hartwell House feeling completely refreshed (and not a little spoiled)! For a relaxing, decadent Christmas getaway, Hartwell House certainly gets the Moneymagpie seal of approval.
Christmas at Hartwell House
Hartwell House offers a wonderful programme of dining and relaxation for its Christmas visitors, including:
- Black tie reception on Christmas Eve, followed by fireside Christmas carols and a four-course dinner with selected wines
- Sumptuous four-course Christmas Day lunch, Queen’s speech screening with tea and Christmas cake plus gourmet evening buffet
- Afternoon tea on Boxing Day, plus dinner followed by a fun casino evening.
There are two and three-night packages starting from £760 which includes early morning tea, delicious cooked breakfast and use of the spa (not to mention all of the above!). To book a luxurious Christmas break at Hartwell House, call 0800 089 3929 or visit www.prideofbritainhotels.com.
Carl Brennand was hosted by Hartwell House, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels – a consortium of 48 privately-owned independent British hotels. Once home to Louis XVIII, the exiled King of France, National Trust-owned Hartwell House is an 18th century stately home in Buckinghamshire. The Grade 1 listed stately home is set in 90 acres of gardens, which are adorned with historic statues and lush parkland. The spa building has been modelled on the style of an orangery with high-arched windows and houses a large indoor pool, spa bath, steam room and sauna. An autumn break costs from £160 pp (two sharing) including a night’s B&B, dinner (to the value of £50 pp), VIP vouchers for Bicester Village and use of the spa. Valid Monday-Thursday, until 20 November. To book call Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929, www.prideofbritainhotels.com).