A regal affair to remember at Cliveden House

12th September 2017

Cliveden House has been winning accolades continuously in the last few years and is widely regarded as the top hotel in the UK. It's not difficult to see why after their multi-million-pound renovation was completed recently that saw the installation of their state-of-the-art spa facilities. In its illustrious three hundred and fifty-year history, it has seen countless characters pass through their hallowed doors including every British monarch since George I as well as Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw and infamously, John Profumo.

Since Iconic Luxury Hotels added Cliveden to their portfolio in 2012, they have steadily gone about restoring the country estate hotel to its former glory. On our recent visit, there was a hive of activity from American and Asian tourists visiting the hotel, no doubt looking for the ‘Downtown Abbey' experience, but also plenty of UK visitors exploring the splendid National Trust gardens that have been expertly manicured.

With only forty-eight bedrooms and suites, this is all about a personalized experience. The Buckingham suite we stayed in had the perfect mixture of heritage and modernity. It included an iPad where you can order room service directly, a state-of-the-art coffee machine, a luxuriant rain shower mixed in with fine European fabrics, antique furniture and a sumptuous, handmade king-sized bed. With jaw-dropping views to the immaculately maintained gardens, this is a royal experience we can all aspire to.

Their headline restaurant, André Garrett at Cliveden is a foodie haven, which matches the upscale nature of the establishment. The spectacular eponymous dining room harks back to a bygone era with glamorous chandeliers and silver service fit for a palace. Chewton Glen twice-baked Emmental soufflé comprised of layers of rich, indulgent flavours and the smoothness of the cheese helped to create a velvety texture to the dish, whilst sea bass ceviche really exhibited that nothing beats letting fresh quality products speak for themselves.

Main courses continued in a similar vein with fresh produce matched with two to three key ingredients: Meaty Cornish turbot was given a citrusy zing with lemon. Homemade Linguine might seem deceptively plain but when it's top-notch quality, all you need is some extra olive oil and Primavera.
Tarts are all the rage at André Garrett and they are made with expert precision as witnessed by the beautiful patterns on the lemon and yoghurt tart with toasted meringue and the regal crown-shaped raspberry tart.

There are numerous gems in the Cliveden crown, but one that you will struggle to find elsewhere is their champagne cruise along the Thames. The stunning scenery evokes the Canadian countryside rather than an area within a short distance from Heathrow airport and the bottomless Moët & Chandon champagne top-ups do mean that the forty-five-minute journey seems far too short.

The breadth of sporting activities on this country estate is commendable. You might be driven by the assistant general manager to their exclusive retro-tennis courts or you can work off those calories accrued at André Garrett by swimming in their heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools. They also have state-of-the-art infrared saunas that help with releasing toxins and losing weight.

Hidden behind their garden wall is the latest addition to the Cliveden estate, a modern-day, cutting-edge spa with unparalleled luxury. They have developed their own range of products that shines a bright light on British ingredients. Scents are created based on famous past residents like Nancy Astor and all treatments are carried out on a sumptuous water mattress. We enjoyed a recharging, invigorating warm-oil massage, which successfully married Eastern and Western techniques and also a hydrating mineral wrap, which meant our skin was baby-soft and silky smooth upon leaving this temple of relaxation.

You might have certain preconceptions of Cliveden House after reading this review, but I can guarantee you, they will surpass your expectations in every way. Cliveden House is so magnificent, I would say the title of ‘Best Hotel in the UK' for once might be an understatement.
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