The Grove, Hertfordshire
The lowdown A veritable smorgasbord of luxury set in 300 acres in Hertforshire, The Grove almost has its own little micro-climate. And make sure you check out the Secret Garden with the more-than-life-size topiary giraffe (don’t all five-star hotels have them?) and the faux beach. We played beach volleyball on December 25th. Within the main building itself the library and assorted sitting rooms (one with white baby grand piano) are beautifully decorated and very difficult to tear yourself away from.
The rooms Try and stay in the astonishingly luxurious Mansion House rooms and suites that are situated in the main Grade II listed building. If they are full, then settle for accommodation in the newer West Wing. Perfectly comfortable, they do the job but perhaps are not quite so characterful! Either way though, the bathrooms are fabulous and if you are staying with kids, the hotel leaves a box of toys in the room for them to play with (just in case they get bored of the flat screen TVs, iPod doc and dvd players).
The spa Loved it. Indeed I had one of the best body massages I have ever received. The Sequioa Spa uses Espa products and has a range of facials, hot stone and Ayurvedic treatments to tempt you from the restaurant. This is a BIG attraction at The Grove. The men come to play golf, the women to “spa”. Even if you aren’t into treatments, the vitality pool is worth a dip (as if the fabulous kids' pool which is the warmest I have ever had the delight to swim in).
The golf What can I say? This hotel is a golfer’s dream and the course is kept in championship condition all year round. And they accept non-members too.
The food With 70 chefs at their disposal, The Grove’s food shouldn’t disappoint. And it doesn’t. Fine dining in Colette’s restaurant (with produce straight from the Secret Garden), hearty family friendly fare at The Stables and finally the best buffet in the world at The Glasshouse. Yes, I know the term “buffet” doesn’t usually gel with the idea of a five-star hotel, but trust me. This works.
Exhibition If you're thinking ahead, don’t miss The Grove’s outdoor sculpture exhibition, “Expressions of Movement”, which will include 57 pieces of sculpture which have been inspired by the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. The exhibition is running from 1 May to 30 September 2012.
The details The Grove, Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG. Room rates start from £310 per night, based on two people sharing, including breakfast and VAT. For more information, visit thegrove.co.uk or call 01923 296 010.
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