Last weekend we spent a weekend at Belmond le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons hotel. I loved that we could just drive there and I didn’t need to worry about the quantity of my packing. I just simply packed whatever I thought I might feel like wearing. No worries about the size of the suitcase, no worries about the extra weight. My husband was horrified when he was the one carrying my suitcase to the car as the weight was absolutely not proportionate to the number of days we were going to spend there. Anyway after couple of hours in Friday traffic, we arrived to this idyllic English countryside hotel, just half an hour from Oxford (about one and half hours from central London).
As this hotel is very famous for its two Michelin star restaurant, I will also share with you my thoughts on that. I will do that in a separate post, so that I don’t overwhelm you with too much information at once.
Belmond le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons design
Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons hotel is best described as classic Jacobean manor house with a traditional English interiors in the common areas. On the ground floor, you could find the main Raymond Blanc restaurant which has two rooms. The orangery and a bit more formal looking, but smaller room. There are also 3 other rooms, where you can have a coffee, tea or drinks in the evening. Two of them feature fireplace and plush sofas and armchairs where you can just sink in and enjoy your aperitifs. These two rooms were my favourite part of the hotel. You almost feel like at home.
The gardens of the hotel are one of the highlights. Part of the garden was in gorgeous Japanese theme, with old lakes and little wooden bridges. Other part was full of flowers that reminded me a little bit of an French Provence and another part was full of vegetables and herbs. The hotel tries to grow as much as they can, including mushrooms and this fact is very much reflected in the every course of the Raymond Blanc restaurant.
All the rooms are slightly different so it is worth checking in advance which one you are booking. All of them are quite big in sq metres however it also depends on their layout. Our junior suite was on the second floor (no lift) and even thought it claims to have 35 sq m, it felt somewhat small and the wooden beams (my least favourite feature of any house) and angled roof made this look even smaller. The room was a bit too dark, but overall it was quite charming.
I loved the freestanding bath with a view to the garden and the tailed floor. The only really weird think was the position of the two sinks. They were uncomfortably low and above them were only two magnifying mirrors. Bigger, normal mirror was only on the wall, which was not ideal. There was a dressing table, but with lack of natural light I prefer to use bathroom.
Service and facilities
You won’t find a gym, pool or spa there, but you can book a cookery class or even a gardening course. As I mentioned above, the gardens are one of the highlights of Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons. When we arrived, the service was a bit dozy. We had to wait quite a while before someone came to the check in desk as well as the wait for the luggage to appear in our room was far too long. This experience of the arrival to the hotel was a bit of a downfall and we were worried about the rest of the stay. However the service after that was excellent. Very knowledgeable and professional with a friendly chat there and there. Little things like valet parking or bringing you coffee to your room before breakfast definitely made up for the wobbly start.
Would I stay again?
To be absolutely honest, I am not sure. I felt like the rooms are far to expensive for what it is (£ 746 for junior suite). The restaurant was worth going to (full review coming next), but comparing to some excellent hotels around the world which cost similar price for junior suite, I just think this was not at the same level. What I see is, that the restaurant is the driver for the hotel and because of it, people are willing to spend the money for the night as well.
Have a chic day
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