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Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire
We didn't want to leave. Our experience was flawless, from the genteel staff to the impeccable interior, to the gorgeous grounds, this is the epitome of old-school luxury. Previously a home, university, as well as a hospital, Cliveden is proudly drenched in history. Replicas of the original plates used by previous owners, the Astors, are used to serve afternoon tea. Like Lord Astor you can sit by the roaring fire in the Great Hall feeling both stately and at home. A National Trust property, as you'd expect the grounds are immaculate and inviting and they even have Hunters wellies to borrow or buy if you don't have walking boots with you. The excellent dining options and spa facilities make a trip to Cliveden even more memorable.
Childhood favourite, the Roald Dahl Museum, is close to the hotel so take the chance to visit again - you'll enjoy it just as much!
The bars and shops of Windsor, as well as its famous castle, are just down the road.
By car: around 1 hour 30 mins from London, 2 hours from Bristol and 4 hours from Manchester. There is free parking on-site.
By train: there are direct trains to Slough from London Paddington (13 minutes) and Oxford (36 minutes). The station is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
An idyllic romantic getaway, a pampering spa break, family gathering or even a solitary restorative stay; there is something for everyone. Sitting by the fire in The Boudoir reading a book is lovely - it was the ladies' room historically and is still adjoined to the mens' room, now called 'Tote'.
Service & Facilities
You'll be shown a bon bon trolley from which to choose handmade chocolates to go with your tea - even more impressive, they'll send up the exact same four you choose to your room, with your second pot of tea. You'd be a lucky dog to stay at the Cliveden - there's a designated canine menu in The Astor Grill, over 250 acres of National Trust woodland to explore and doggie amenities at the ready to ensure your pooch will be perfectly pampered.
- Two pools
- Tennis court
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
The Shrewsbury Deluxe Suite is our favourite room, clad in traditional toile de jouy print, with a spacious marble bathroom and large separate lounge which make it grand but homely. We love the antique leather topped writing desk too, with the update of a plug and USB socket hidden inside.
Club, Classic, Double Deluxe, Hot Tub, Mansion House rooms, Junior, Deluxe, Mansion House Parterre Suites
Facilities include: queen-size bed, ensuite bathroom with bath and shower, luxury toiletries, seating area, TV, free Wi-Fi, mineral water
Food & Drink
Former lady of the house Lady Astor was notoriously a non-drinker and so the non-alcoholic cocktail list is extensive, including a wonderfully punchy bright blue curacao cocktail named after her. The sole meuniere, carved in front of you, with accompanying sauce packed with lilliput capers and preserved lemon is the nicest we've had anywhere.
Cliveden Dining Room: three AA Rosettes, fine dining, innovative modern British cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner. Mains from £30.
Astor Grill: relaxed, refined bistro dishes. Open for lunch and dinner. Mains from £22.