Saturday, 13 August 2016

A luxurious weekend at Stoke Park Country House Hotel and Spa

My weekend at Stoke Park was on the most relaxing, enjoyable, fun and all round best weekend I've had in a long time. I don't even know where to start with how amazing it was, but I guess I just will. And guys, I think you're going to love it.

The location

Set in 300 acres (yes, really) of beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside, a stay at Stoke Park feels like you're in the middle of nowhere. Incredibly, however, it's just an hour's drive from central London. And luckily for me, my dear friend Jenny has a car, so making our way to Stoke Park last Saturday was a breeze.
Naturally, we gossiped as we drove, but as soon as we turned on to the long drive at the entrance to Stoke Park, all conversation ceased. Jaws dropped. Excitement levels rose.

It was beautiful.


The hotel

The main Stoke Park building is the gorgeous Georgian mansion.

As soon as we stepped inside, we were wowed. The interior is plush, ornate, traditional and sumptuous. Every sofa seemed to invite you to curl up with a book, and I actually loved the fact that the fire was roaring despite it being an uncharacteristically hot day.
As we climbed the grand old staircase under the incredible chandelier whilst being shown to our suite (eep!), we caught a peek of a wedding reception taking place through one of the large oak doors - it looked stunning. And my, what a place to get married!
I could also totally see why Stoke Park has been featured in so many films. You know in Bridget Jones when Daniel Cleaver takes Bridget away for a weekend (which she thinks means true love)? Well he took her to Stoke Park!

As well as the grand old Mansion, there's also the Pavilion, which is newer, but I'll tell you more about that when I show you the facilities.


Our room

We were lucky enough to to be staying in the Lancelot suite, and sweet it certainly was (sorry.)

Come on in...
Could that bed look more inviting? It was huge, so comfy and I loved how it faced a huge window looking out over the Stoke Park grounds.
Even better than the window, however, was our private balcony, but I'll get to that. Soon, promise.
Our room was so spacious and had everything we needed. Whilst the fan and flatscreen TV somewhat jarred with the old fashioned aesthetic, they were welcome additions to the room for sure.
The bathroom was as spacious as the bedroom, with his and hers (or hers and hers) sinks, a huge bath and a shower too. The shower wasn't massive actually but the bath made up for it.
Naturally, fluffy robes and slippers were also provided, along with plentiful mini toiletries (except body lotion, alas).

The mini-bar was as well-stocked as one would expect in a five star hotel, but there were also lots of complimentary teas, coffees and water, which was all replenished when our bed was turned down that evening too. The service was faultless.

As an extra treat, Jenny and I were welcomed with a bottle of champagne, a lovely fruit bowl and a box of delectable chocolates. I mean, could it get any better?
It didn't take us long to pop the cork, and as soon as I'd taken my obligatory snaps (the struggle of travelling with a blogger), Jenny and I were happily sipping champagne on our balcony, soaking up the sun and admiring the beautiful view. It was utterly idyllic.
Too many champagne pics? Never.


The grounds

If you're a golfer, you need to go to Stoke Park. But actually, golfer or not, you'll love exploring the grounds of the hotel.
Granted, we were particularly lucky with the weather - everything looks better bathed in sunshine to the backdrop of blue sky - but even on a grey day, the countryside would be beautiful.

I got very excited as we walked round that pond (you know, where they go boating in Bridget Jones), but the further we walked, the more beauty we found.
Reception had given us a map with a few suggested routes, so Jenny and I loosely followed the Heritage walk, stopping for chats on benches as we went.

Through gardens, round fountains and past churches we ambled, enjoying the countryside vibes and the stark contrast to city life. It was literally lush.


Dinner at Humphry's 

After refreshing ourselves in our suite, reenergising with cups of tea in our fluffy robes, and slipping into a couple of pretty dresses, Jenny and I were ready for the evening ahead.
As we (hopefully) glided down the staircase, I couldn't help but feel like a debutante arriving at a ball. Well, a bit. Mainly I was just trying not to fall over in my heels.

What with it being such a summery evening, Jen and I decided to enjoy another glass of bubbles and some nibbles outside in the garden.
As we clinked and sipped, we were brought a selection of canap├ęs. Whilst Jenny went to town on the salmon, I loved the warm quail scotch eggs, and we both agreed the watermelon with feta was lovely.
Our appetites had been piqued and our glasses were empty so inside we went for our dinner at Stoke Park's fine dining restaurant, Humphry's.

The restaurant is beautiful and the cuisine 'modern British', created by the wonderful chef Chris Wheeler, whom we had the pleasure of meeting. Given Humphry's has won 3 AA Rosettes, we were very excited about what the evening held.
Now, I could of course devote a whole blog post in itself to this dinner so I'm going to try and keep it brief for you...

Our glasses were filled (Sauv, natch), and after placing our starter and main order, we tucked into warm bread rolls from a selection, with butter of the perfect consistency.
First up, came our pre-starters (duhh):
This beautiful beetroot and feta concoction for moi (was yum), and a salmon-based little number for Jen.

On to our starters - Jen stuck with the fishy theme and got stuck into the scallops:
Whereas I couldn't pass up the beetroot risotto.
Oh my days, it was amazing. How can a simple risotto be that fantastic, you may be wondering? Well this one was. The consistency was the perfect balance between sticky and creamy, and it was just so damn flavoursome.

Main time! I stayed veggie with this incredibly dreamy caramelised fig and goat's cheese tart on a bed of green and yellow courgettes:
Again, it was faultless. And just look at that beautiful presentation! The portion was just the right size too considering how many other courses we were having.

More fish for Jen, and because I'm not a fish fan I can't even remember what it was, soz, but I'm assured it was divine.
Of course, we weren't too full for puds.

And of course, there was a pre-pud pud. Hello, little lemon posset:
Being not a huge lemon fan, I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy this but I actually loved it - creamy, not too tart and perf with the raspberry coulis.

And then came our actual puddings. Witness the chocolate box of dreams:
Topped with vanilla ice cream, a hazelnut tuile and a generous drizzle of hot caramel sauce...
And filled with chocolate and caramel mousses.

I mean srsly tho.

So yes, by this point we were pretty full, but that didn't stop us (well, me at least) demolishing the petits fours we were so kindly brought with our beautifully served tea.
Oof, our ginormous bed couldn't have been more appealing.


Breakfast in the Orangery

I don't know about you, but I always find that the morning after a huge dinner, I'm EXTRA hungry. Which literally makes no sense.

However it did mean that I was jolly excited to hit up breakfast on the Sunday morning of our stay at Stoke Park.

Served in the beautiful bright Orangery, where guests sit in plush armchairs at tables covered in linen tablecloths
Juice and tea were served, the Sunday papers were opened, and the buffet was attacked.

Oh, there was a hot menu from which one could order an array of cooked breakfasts, but Jen and I were more than happy with the buffet.
Pastries, breads, yoghurts, cereals, fruit... It was my breakfast heaven. And what was really impressive was the sheer range of, well, everything. Like, there must have been about six different types of yoghurt. I was pleased.

With so much on offer, I made myself a huge bowl of goodness (lots of nice healthy options, yay), before making the most of the pastries too.
A wonderful start to the day it was indeed.


The facilities 
The rest of the day was spent making the most of everything on offer at Stoke Park.

OK, maybe not everything - we somehow didn't quite fit in a trip to the gym or a game of tennis ("don't put me down for cardio") - but, you know, it was sunny, and um, there just wasn't enough time.

And there are just so many inviting places to lounge...
I honestly felt like I could've been in Portugal. The weather, the beautiful landscaping, the whole style... they all added to the holiday vibe and I was LOVING it.

Stoke Park has a gorgeous indoor pool, where we had a little dip - not gonna lie, it was more chatting in water than swimming - but even better, given the weather, was the new hot tub.
Sooooo dreamy. What a life.

But even more of a treat was our visit to the spa...
Just like the rest of Stoke Park, the spa lounge was tastefully decorated, complete with giant fish tank to add to the overall feeling of zen.

There was fresh fruit, dried fruit, three little pots of herbal tea (the Stoke Park blend was our fave), and water on the table, to which we enjoyed helping ourselves, and various magazines dotted around the room.
And not only did we get to enjoy this lovely oasis of calm, Jen and I each had an hour long treatment, both choosing the lava relax massage.

Now I'd never had a hot stone massage let alone one with hot lava shells, but it was great. My fab masseuse really worked at all my knots (appaz I'm actually a very stressed person who carries a s*** load of tension in her back), leaving me slightly exhausted whilst also relaxed. I loved it.

And as spa guests, we had the privilege of using the spa changing room, complete with hair straighteners, facial cleansers and snazzy hair products.


Lunch at San Marco

Naturally, we spent the day in white robes and slippers, which was pleasingly acceptable attire for dining at San Marco, Stoke Park's relaxed Italian brasserie.
We ate on the terrace, sharing an absolutely huge and delicious pizza topped with roasted veggies, with some broccoli and green beans on the side. It was perf.

...

And all too soon the evening came round and it was time to head back to London. So I guess that concludes my Stoke Park post! Good thing I kept it brief, eh? If you've made it this far and are still reading, I salute you. But like srsly, I could wax lyrical about this place. YOU MUST GO! I'm desperate to go again already.

It was heaven.

Jenny and I were fortunate enough to be welcomed as guests to Stoke Park and some aspects of our stay were complimentary, but we treated ourselves to other parts.
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4 comments

  1. What an amazing place!!! Looks like a phenomenal weekend. Such a fun article to read this morning; you made me laugh out loud at parts. Thanks for sharing about this gorgeous hotel. Looks like a fab place to spend the August bank holiday! xx

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    Replies
    1. Aww thank you Patricia, that's so kind of you to say. x

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  2. I love Stoke Park! I stayed with my friends a few years ago :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so great, right? Thanks Angie x

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