The Dorchester Collection’s country hideaway near London combines serenity with spa and some brilliant cuisine
15 minutes from Heathrow Airport, less than an hour from central London, this country house is set in a sprawling estate of parkland, lakes and polo fields. You feel like you are in the deepest rural idyll.
What to do?
A more pertinent question is, what not to do. There is, just across the way from the main house, an extensive spa with a swimming pool and hydrotherapy. There is an equestrian centre linked to the polo fields – come at the right time of year, and you can see the British royals play their favourite sport. Otherwise, you can ride. There is an all-weather tennis court, archery, and extensive grounds to get lost in doing long walks. In short, all the benefits of an English country house hotel without having to take a helicopter or drive several hours to get there from civilisation.
What to eat?
Not so long ago, the cuisine was the question mark hanging over almost any British hotel outside London. Michelin-starred chef Adam Smith shows at Coworth Park how things have turned full circle.
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Particularly admirable is what we would call his concept and execution platform. Across the menus in the different venues, it seems the dish is conceived, and can then be executed in different ways: traditional, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
There is no primacy of any style. Ingredients are piercing and local. It’s thoughtful and contemporary. Cooking thought leadership at its best. The main restaurant, Woven, has a delightful, classic modern feeling in its decor: no tablecloths, but as formal as you want it to be, with clever and expensive lighting.
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The other restaurant, The Barn, is a more informal, but still highly polished and sophisticated offering. We would go to the former for dinner, and the latter for lunch. Or perhaps the other way round. Who knows.
The decor in the rooms is perfectly judged, for where we are: not trying to be deepest wooden beam country style, but not city imposed on a rural dwelling either. Bathrooms are huge, beds almost as huge, and there is all the glitz you would expect of a luxury hotel.
Rates: From £570 per night (approx. €654/$700)
Book your stay: dorchestercollection.com/ascot/coworth-park