Get In The Grove: A Relaxing Minibreak Destination Less Than An Hour From London

The key to a happy marriage, loo seat wars aside, is taking an opportunity once in a while to escape. Together. And so, children firmly in the custody of grand parents I pointed the now eerily quiet people carrier north. Our destination: The Grove, and a review-slash-minibreak to recharge batteries in a luxury hotel with an email OOO set and Whatsapp temporarily deleted.

The Grove mixes five star luxury and corporate excellence with surprising tranquillity for a venue that is so easily accessible from the Metropolis. Within moments of exiting the busy motorway, we were enchanted by the grandeur and natural beauty of the English countryside. And soon we were driving up the long winding driveway, over the hump-back bridge, to the great Mansion, once the seat of the Earls of Clarendon. 

The Grove Hotel Review: Room

The Earl and Countess would be impressed by the extraordinary number of dedicated and attentive staff ready to greet us. And the house now stretches from the original Grade-II listed manor through the vast modern west wing extension – with its famous Glasshouse buffet restaurant and stylish Sequoia Spa – all the way to the Stables, converted into a fine dining restaurant and golf club house.

an email OOO set and Whatsapp temporarily deleted…

Pleasantries signed off and key card collected, we made our way upstairs. Our room was in the centre of the West Wing, the modern bit of the hotel. A bonus, because it means the room has been designed for luxury, rather than being shoehorned into old servant quarters or similar. It came with its own private balcony overlooking the formal gardens and golf course. And, crucially, it felt wonderfully quiet and secluded, our own little private oasis to rest in.

Every detail of the room was meticulously curated. Like the super-king bed, flawless in both look and comfort. Or the James Bond-style automated lighting and air conditioning with touch sensors to adjust. And, of course, a well-stocked mini bar with luxury extras. The spacious, sparkling white bathroom added to the overall sense of indulgence and sanctuary.

Every detail of the room was meticulously curated…

After exploring the vast walled garden we realised two things. One, our three kids would love this place! It’s full of all kinds of activities suitable for every age. And two, the overwhelming relief that they were 30 miles away, at home with Granny & Grandpa!

Because we enjoyed a long walk round the 300 acre parkland (head South away from the roads and back along the canal), followed by a two hour swim, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, shower routine in the extensive spa, after which we walked in bath robes back to our room to get ready for dinner. We effectively crammed about two years’ worth of child free fun into a single afternoon.

The Grove Hotel Review: Bath
The Grove Hotel Review: Pool

There’s no shortage of alternative eateries at The Grove. From international cuisine at The Glasshouse to an Indian banquet at Madhu’s. Not to mention pop-ups at The Potting Shed’s latest pop-up or sushi in the Lounges. In the end we found ourselves wowed by the waiter service restaurant at The Stables.

We effectively crammed about two years’ worth of child free fun into a single afternoon…

The starters we had would rival any Michelin Star restaurant. I had the melt-in-the mouth hay-smoked venison carpaccio and my wife the malt-roasted scallops. Both were flavour explosions! As was her slow-cooked lamb, while I went traditional with fillet steak and chips.

We were so full we should have left the desserts, but fortune favours the brave. Nevertheless, the tarte tatin defeated us. We left feeling like well plumped aristocrats from a Hogarth etching. The Clarendons would be proud!

After a long, comfortable night’s sleep we discovered the breakfast buffet deserves its legendary status. Overflowing with an abundance of delicious treats, it was almost overwhelming in its variety and quality.

A long, comfortable night’s sleep…

So we focussed our efforts, plumping for French toast made with brioche, pastel de nata (best we’ve had since that bakery in Portugal) and eggs cooked to order by your very own chef. I went for the eggs royale which lived up to its name. And, clever hack, if you are a coffee snob and care enough to avoid a machine-made latte that ticks the box for many, ask the barista in the café area to make a bespoke flat white for you!

Final top tip if you have the time, book yourself a late check-out (1pm). Not having to rush from comfort and serenity meant we were genuinely refreshed and ready to be reacquainted with parental and work responsibilities.

Find it: Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire, WD3 4TG
Click it:
‘Gram it: @thegrovehotel

The Grove Hotel Review: The Stables

Finally, if you enjoyed Alex’s review from the Grove Hotel (or even if you didn’t) check out our other reviews here!

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