Planning on picking up your golf bag and heading to the fairways to emulate Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and the rest of Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup heroes? Haute Time has the perfect place: Stoke Park.
Set in 300 acres of glorious parkland, lakes, historic gardens and monuments created over the past one thousand years, Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel has hosted Hollywood heavyweights Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig and Renee Zellwegger.
Not that this should come as any surprise: the Stoke Park estate has been in existence for 1,000 years and Britain’s greatest Country Club since the turn of the century. In 2013, Stoke Park was awarded ‘Five AA red stars’ -the highest accolade given to hotels by the renowned guide series. With this most recent accolade, Stoke Park gains the coveted rank of AA inspector’s Choice, joining just 49 hotels in the UK.
Designed by James Wyatt – King George 111’s favourite architect – the cream coloured Palladian mansion is pure opulence: expect marble pillars, walls adorned with historical portraits on the walls and floors covered in grand oriental rugs on the floors.
There are 49 luxurious bedrooms and suites to choose from including the Pennsylvania Suite that Bridget Jones and Daniel Cleaver, aka Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant, romped in after rowing on the nearby lake in Bridget Jones.
The rooms in the Mansion are quintessentially English featuring wood panelling, fire places, free standing bathtubs and antiques. Meanwhile those in the Pavilion (which opened in May 2008) have a more contemporary feel and offer magnificent views over the estate, including some with views of Windsor Castle. Messieur Craig – aka 007 himself – is said to favour room 102, adorned as it is with handmade mirrors, modern oil paintings and Andy Warhol lithos.
Beyond the bedrooms, there’s an award winning spa and first class sporting facilities. Hone your serve at the indoor and outdoor tennis courts (Stoke Park hosts the annual Boodles’ Challenge every June), work up a sweat in the 4,500 sq ft gymnasium and splash about in the indoor pool. Or play a round on the 27 hole Championship golf course.
On the food front, The Orangery serves an indulgent afternoon tea but go easy: you don’t want to miss out on dinner at Humprhy’s Fine Dining Restaurant where Chris Wheeler (former right hand man to French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli) has devised an outstanding menu of modern British cuisine classics.
If you do decide to leave Stoke Park, seek out Stoke Poges Church (Thomas Gray’s inspiration for Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard) or check out Cookham village (home of artist Stanley Spencer). But it’s a big ‘if’: chances are you won’t be able to tear yourself away from sumptuous Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel.