British countryside bliss
Located just an hour’s drive southwest of London, Pennyhill Park beckons travelers who need a quick escape and have a taste of the British countryside. Despite its proximity to London, the overall atmosphere here is one of quiet indulgence and you’ll revel in the decadence of the 123 individually themed bedrooms (think vast four poster beds and velvet drapes).
The building itself is an unusual muddle of old and new architecture, and initially you may be left wondering where the original 19th-century manor house is hiding. Yet, while you shouldn’t come here expecting Downton Abbey, the seemingly endless expanse of stunning grounds and woodlands, the impressive onsite restaurants and extensive spa facilities more than make up for any loss of character the hotel has experienced over the years.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• If you appreciate natural beauty, you’ll love the dense woodland that sits directly behind the hotel. The best way to get there is via a seemingly secret pathway that takes you past the spa, between some outlying buildings and into the wild, where you’ll find any number of natural pathways perfect for easy rambles or trail running — just ask at concierge for directions.
• The spa at Pennyhill Park never feels too busy, thanks to eight indoor and outdoor pools and an impressive collection of hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms. The treatments list is just as extensive; indulge in an anti-oxidant-boosting aromatherapy body scrub and follow it up with some downtime in the outdoor heated pool at any time of year.
• The flavors you’ll enjoy at The Latymer restaurant, courtesy of MasterChef’s very own Matt Worswick, will provide a satisfying end to a day of outdoor pursuits and spa indulgence.
What to Know
• Opt for a suite in the main house to ensure your view overlooks the beautiful gardens. The Heywood is luxuriously furnished and sits on the first floor of the original building, offering that authentic country-stay experience.
• Pennyhill Park is the sort of hotel that comes into its own in autumn and winter, its vast rooms and open fireplaces inviting you to hunker down. For the ultimate cozy getaway, a pre-Christmas break (book in advance — it’s a popular time of year) will be magical.
• For those not driving, the closest railway station to Pennyhill Park is Bagshot, which you can reach via Waterloo Station in central London. The luxury hotel will be able to arrange a taxi to take you the rest of the way.
• To get the best out of Pennyhill Park, we suggest you consider staying in one of its luxury suites or junior suites. Beautifully carved four-poster beds, ornate furnishings and natural vistas will be your reward.
• The rooms at the country hotel are undeniably spacious. Double-height ceilings, huge roll-top baths and separate lounges create a wonderful feeling of abundance.
• To make your oversized, Egyptian-cotton-covered bed that bit comfier, you’ll have the chance to choose a pillow from six varieties before you arrive. It’s the little things.
• Pennyhill Park boasts two top-notch restaurants, The Latymer and The Brasserie, and a head chef that found fame on BBC1’s MasterChef.
• Book a table at The Latymer and enjoy seasonal dishes like salt-baked rutabaga and octopus as part of a spectacular 10-course tasting menu.
• For something more laidback and quintessentially British, take afternoon tea at The Ascot Bar. The Royal Afternoon Tea menu will see you sipping on sparkling English wine along with the classic cuppa.