Thought it was impossible to relax in the country and enjoy the best of the city? At Laura Ashley's new countryside hotel The Manor, you can indulge in a tranquil setting surrounded by nature, while taking in splendid views of London. On a clear day you can even see as far as Canary Wharf, The Shard and the BT Tower from this rural gem, hidden in the Hertfordshire countryside.
Nestled among 10 acres of sprawling woodland and landscaped gardens in Elstree, the British design house's hotel offers an enchanting escape from the capital, with warm and luxurious interiors, beautifully preserved Tudor features and a cosy yet classy atmosphere.
The exterior of the 49-room hotel is remarkable, with The Manor housed in a former Tudor residence dating back to 1540. Once inside, expect the creaky floorboards you want to hear in an ancient building, original dark wood beams and intricately carved fireplaces. Laura Ashley has retained most of the Tudor features including some of the wood which is said to be from ships used in the Spanish Armada, while adding its signature country chic and contemporary style - think statement lampshades, luxury wallpaper and sumptuous beds with Laura Ashley bed linen, of course.
What's to love?
If you're a fan of Laura Ashley's homeware stores, you'll probably fall in love with every piece of furniture you see during your stay at The Manor and leave with the idea of redecorating your home. From vintage-style mirrors to chestnut coffee tables you'll want to order from one of the brochures placed around the hotel, this is a hotel for interior lovers. And when we weren't admiring the elegant style, we were admiring the views - from the garden, the terrace bar and our rear-facing room.
Whether during summer or winter, don't miss a walk around the gorgeous garden. The giant outdoor chessboard is a fun way to test your strategy, while the lawn is a superb spot for afternoon tea when it's warm. The topiary garden boasts unusually-shaped perennial trees and the climbing roses create a scene straight out of the Secret Garden.
This place is perfect if you...
... fancy a weekend away from London but don't want to spend hours getting there. The Manor is just 20 minutes from town by rail and just nine miles by road. It's ideal for a relaxing UK break and boasts roaring fires, an intimate bar and an upstairs lounge to spend a lazy day indoors if it's raining. The hotel is also a lovely spot for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner if you fancy somewhere to stop but not stay.
Where to eat
Dining at the hotel restaurant is a special experience. The Cavendish Restaurant is the most stunning space in the hotel, featuring dark Tudor beams, fresh white walls and a lavish space to sample exciting food. The dinner menu offers a combination of British and Malaysian dishes. The varied options include local beetroot and vodka home cured salmon with dill-infused oil, and wok-fried flat rice noodles with king prawns, sambal and bean sprout.
Best room in the house
There are 49 rooms at The Manor including standard and feature rooms, plus junior suites and superior rooms. The Deluxe Rooms are beautifully decorated with warm hues throughout, velvet sofas and beautiful scatter cushions. Each is individually styled and is named after different areas of London. We stayed in Piccadilly, which boasts an impressive view of the garden and twinkling lights of London at night, warm oak furniture and a large, contemporary bathroom.
Rooms start from £150 per night. A Deluxe Room costs from £240 per night including breakfast.
Laura Ashley The Manor, Barnet Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3RE. Phone: 020 8953 8227. Visit lauraashleyhotels.com/themanorelstree
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