Growing up down south, I was always surrounded by acres of luscious green landscapes, golden sand beaches a stone through away, and an array of gorgeous stately home style hotels that made everyone’s stay a welcome treat. Living in London, I often find myself yearning for a bit of peace, combined with some rest and recuperation. Long walks through woodlands, an opportunity to catch up with my racket sports, spa treatments, the lot. That’s my happy. And it turns out, you don’t have to travel miles away to get there either. Nestled a few miles away from London’s Underground station, Uxbridge, resides the beautiful country estate, Stoke Park, home to the majestic five-star Stoke Park Hotel & Spa. To my delight, from leaving my house, to reaching the placid greens of the hotel’s driveway, only took 35 minutes. I swapped out the heavily combusted air for fresh oxygen, and tall skyscrapers for picturesque views. Bliss.
Driving through the hotel grounds, up to the hotel itself, I was in awe of the peace and serenity that filled the air. I had to pinch myself to ensure I wasn’t dreaming. The sun was shining, gleaming across the property, giving it a fairytale like feel — I knew I was going to be treated like a prince during my stay at Stoke Park. My Uber driver said “You’re going to have a fantastic weekend, by the looks of it”, and his words stuck with me as the helped me out of the car and handed my luggage over to the welcoming doormen.
As I stepped through the arched doorway, I instantly fell in love with the hotel. Swoon. I was kindly given a glass of bubbles to quench my thirst and find my bearings, before I was taken on a quick tour of the hotel and then to our room. And, let me tell you, the hotel was everything I expected it to be, and more…
Our room was based in the main part of the hotel, The Mansion, one of the original parts of the building. The room was fitted with a log wood fire, which can be lit on request, two large single beds that overlooked the acres of unspoiled, fertile golf course. Residing outside the long, paned windows, there was a duo of garden tables and chairs — the perfect spot to drink a glass of champagne during the summer months. It was so large, you could probably even fit a few sun loungers on it too and create your own private sunbathing spot. Truly glorious.
Stepping back into the bedroom, you can quickly find yourself in the bathroom. And, it was the biggest hotel bathroom I have ever seen — it was almost the size of the bedroom, which was already the side of a small London flat. Inside the bathroom, there were a duo of sinks, perfect for my best friend, Zoe and I, as we both find ourselves in front of the bathroom mirror for vanity sake. To the right was the most beautiful victorian style freestanding roll top bath, and across the other side there was the fitted shower, with a rain shower head. The room was perfectly lit, both naturally and fitted with numerous lights, but even with a candle or log fire burning, that would suffice to provide a cosy place to rest, since the room had enough snug features making it feel like home.
Spa & Other Facilities
The extensive golf course attracts many travellers to the country estate, but it’s wonderful that the hotel offers a range of facilities beyond its main attraction. Especially, for the likes of myself and Zoe who are into fitness, and playing racket sports, which I rarely find the time for. In the name of staycations, I often use the time to dive into (quite literally) what I miss out on day to day.
Zoe and I took advantage of the racket sport facilities and dusted off our tennis skills. Stoke Park have the option of hiring an indoor or outdoor court, but we chose to go outside and consume the fresh country air while playing instead. But it’s great to have the option to play your favourite sports throughout the year, come rain or shine with both indoor and outdoor facilities.
I was also booked in for a special spa treatment during my stay at Stoke Park, the Lava Rescue deep tissue massage. I would recommend this treatment to anyone visiting the hotel as it is one of the most invigorating massages, especially if you have bodily aches and pains. It was also very welcome after a couple of hours playing tennis too. The massage consists of hot and cold ceramic shells, which are activated using an enzyme present inside each shell. The shells are used to target the trigger points within the muscles, directly reducing inflammation, aches and pains throughout your body. I felt like a new man.
We decided to leave our trip to the pool, gym and steam room session to the following morning, as nothing beats an early morning workout on a Sunday prior to breakfast. We were delighted to hear the pool opened at 6am, ensuring we had plenty of time to complete our morning routine. The pool was heated to a suitable temperature, and the length of the pool was perfect to do a couple of laps, before hitting the steam room for a detox before sweating it out in the gym.
I often find that hotels don’t put much effort into their gyms. They are always squeezed into a small part of the spa area, with very few facilities. So, you can imagine my delight when I stepped into the gym at Stoke Park to see it was not only six times the size of your average hotel gym, it was split across two floors. Complete with all the exercise equipment you could possibly need, plus on-site personal trainers who are ready to help. One of the trainers asked if we wanted to check our fat to muscle ratio on their electrode scales, and we obliged. He took us through step by step, and then gave us a complete evaluation on how we could meet our goals going forward. I’ve not had such a positive experience in a hotel gym, ever. Hats off to the team at Stoke Park.
Dining at Stoke Park
The Orangery is the perfect spot for a spot of lunch, or a mid-morning or afternoon snack. With an array of great dishes served throughout the day on their all-day menu, you won’t go hungry. I stopped in at various points, for a coffee on arrival, and then Zoe and I stopped in for a quick lunch before our afternoon of sportiness. However, I was a little disappointed by the slow service. We found ourselves waiting for at least five minutes before being seated both times, and then our food and drinks came out 30-35 minutes after we ordered, only to find the order was completely wrong. It was a little disappointing.
However, breakfast is also served in The Orangery, and we had a much better experience. There was a large array of fruits, yoghurts, and hot food to select from the buffet. With the addition of ordering made-to-order dishes from the al a carte menu too. The views from The Orangery are second to none, which makes a window table even more enjoyable, especially at breakfast — dining with the morning light rays shining down across your face. Glorious.
Humphry’s is Stoke Park’s fine dining restaurant, and that’s where we dined for dinner during our stay. Elegantly set out, complete with dim lit lighting, it gave the restaurant a very soft, welcoming ambience. We were swiftly seated and were waited on hand and foot thereafter. The team couldn’t do enough for us — from being selected a lovely bottle of wine to accompany our dishes, to taking care of our dietary requirements with ease, it was an enjoyable experience.
Our meal began with an array of horderves, followed by our starters. I ordered the butternut squash gnocchi, served with a pine nut meringue, pumpkin caviar, dressed with a sage oil and crispy parmesan.
Zoe ordered the pan-fried scallops with compressed pork belly, parsnip puree and pickled radish.
For my main, I ordered the fillet of Brookfield Farm beef served with pomme puree, beef cheek, baby turnips, roasted shallots, finished up with a celeriac and bone marrow crumb.
Zoe ordered the pan-roasted hake served with lemon crumb, spinach, a lobster croquette, finished with a lobster and leek bisque.
Finishing with something sweet, I ordered the plum soufflé with plum sauce and Muscovado ice-cream. It was one of the best soufflés I have ever eaten. It’s a must try dessert if you ever find yourself dining at Humphry’s.
Zoe ordered the treacle tart served with a date and vanilla puree, citrus gel and whisky ice-cream.
Overall Impressions of Stoke Park
In one word, our stay at Stoke Park was fabulous. We were well looked after from start to finish, and despite a couple of minor blips, it was certainly outweighed with many, many good moments. I left our staycation at Stoke Park feeling truly revitalised, and ready to start a new week. Hands down, I would return to Stoke Park again, especially when I need another weekend of relaxation and recuperation as it offers exactly what you need and more. A huge thank you to everyone at Stoke Park for looking after us so well. We will be back!
You can find out more about the hotel here.
Until next time…