Cliveden House Hotel, one of England’s most beloved stately homes, has been a source of intrigue for many years thanks in part to the various high standing Royal visitors throughout the years and of course being the setting of one the most famous political scandals of the Sixties A bastion of elegance and luxury, this historic house is a trove of lavish suites adorned with period furnishings, surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore and admire. And what could be more romantic than a Champagne river cruise on one of the hotel’s own boats; the Belmont: a 33ft Thames slipper launch, and the 10-seater flagship, Suzy Ann.
A Cliveden House Hotel honeymoon rarely falls short of sublime. If romance is synonymous (architecturally) with grandeur and brooding, dimly-lit library corners, this country pile has it in droves. A profound sense of history and up-to-date luxuries happily co-exist here, whether its futuristic facials in the spa, by that legendary Profumo pool, or wildly imaginative riffs on classic British menus. Ambling through the resplendent gardens here is obligatory, as is a Wind In The Willow’s-style pootle along the Thames for a picnic or afternoon thirst quencher. The captain will even recount riveting tales of past, illustrious guests.
Set the scene
Fanning out across Berkshire’s soft countryside, Cliveden House Hotel sets the standard for the opulent, steeped-in-history country retreat . Its ivy-clad walls, moody panelling and imposing architecture evoke a sense of regal splendour, while its fascinating history whispers tales of a bygone, aristocratic era. Perched on a hill overlooking an unrecognisably green-flanked River Thames, the house enjoys Versailles-worthy landscaped gardens adorned with sculpted topiaries and endless beds of roses. Walk in the steps of history’s greats as you meander past various exotic species of plants and flowers, fountains and mottled stone.
Cliveden House prides itself on an impeccable team of attentive staff, whose warmth and step-ahead-of-you mindset lowers guests’ shoulders and make them feel genuinely looked after. From the moment guests arrive, every need is anticipated and met with grace, ensuring a Earl-worthy seamless stay. With an innate ability to make guests feel like friends, the staff’s commitment elevates each stay to an extraordinary level of personalised luxury (the sort honeymooners will relish in the aftermath of all that wedding stress).
The classically-dressed rooms and suites (‘chambers’) at Cliveden are a fusion of classical elegance and contemporary comfort, adorned with antique furnishings, wood panelling, cornicing galore and and sumptuously regal fabrics. What sets Cliveden’s rooms apart from other British country hotels is an unapologetically traditional leaning, one that still draws in the modern crisp linens and somehow never looks tired, but is confident in its velveteen, silk and austere portrait identity. Meanwhile, the Spring Cottage, hidden away in the sprawling gardens, offers that extra dose of seclusion and privacy for newlyweds (just with the Cliveden’s slick service on tap).
Food and drink
Couples will be spoiled for choice with the fabulously gilded-mirrored-chandeliered Residents’ Bar, and two restaurants, each with its own distinct charm. Executive Head Chef, Christopher Hannon brings culinary delights to The Cliveden Dining Hall where innovative (and exceedingly elevated) dishes are crafted from locally-sourced ingredients. Round off any walks through the grounds with afternoon tea in the elegant Great Hall, oozing history and architectural splendour. The charming Astor Grill offers a more relaxed ambiance, serving up delectable grill classics with plucked-from-the-garden salads in a cosy courtyard setting. And for a delightful start to the day, breakfast at Cliveden promises a veritable feast.
The spa experience transcends mere pampering, and sends guests into a happy stupor, where cortisol is shown the door. It’s all whites and creams, with light-filled rooms and extraordinarily comfortable loungers and armchairs. As one of the country’s most revered spas, the treatment list is long and well thought through, with blissful full body massages and invigorating facials, all administered by skilled therapists (many with state-of-the-art technology. The pillar-framed indoor pool is ideal for lengths or just wallowing in and watching the amber lights reflected across the surface, while a jacuzzi, steam room and large infra-red sauna are particularly appealing in the cooler months.
The infamous outdoor pool (exactly where Secretary of State for War, John Profumo began his scandalous affair with Christine Keeler) is set within a beautiful walled garden with an array of stylish loungers and deckchairs all under the gaze of the impressive golden clock tower.
Cliveden House Hotel spins quite the narrative. With origins dating back to the 17th century, this regal estate has been at the heart of several historic milestones, welcoming renowned personalities, royalty, and artists alike.
The estate was originally built by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham in 1966 for his mistress. Passing through the hands of illustrious figures, it became the residence of the Astor family in 1893, who hosted numerous esteemed guests from Winston Churchill to Charlie Chaplin. During World War II, the estate served as a refuge for children escaping London’s bombings and then in 1961 became the setting for the Profumo affair, one of the biggest scandals in British political history. Today, meticulously preserved and lovingly restored, Cliveden stands as an icon of timeless elegance, welcoming guests to be part of its extraordinary saga.
Echoes of its (and Great Britain’s) decadent past resonate throughout every exquisitely-adorned room, jewel-like corridors, and its magnificent gardens.
From its pivotal role in political intrigue to being the muse of literary luminaries, Cliveden’s history unfurls like a tapestry. Its allure lies not only in the splendid architecture and breathtaking views but in the palpable energy of a bygone era.
Club rooms from £445, Deluxe double rooms from £665, Lady Astor Suite from £1,565.
Cliveden House is a Relais Chateaux property. To book go to: https://www.relaischateaux.com/gb/hotel/cliveden-house/
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