In the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ lives that many of us lead, time is probably the single item that we crave most. Time to just sit and do nothing. In the middle of nowhere. With no-one (except perhaps a choice loved one!). So when we do have that spare couple of days to ourselves, there’s nothing better than finding a quiet country retreat in which to relax and unwind.
Head down to The Grove though, and you’re head is going to be spinning faster than it was already. Less than an hour away from the bright lights of London, this hotel has got more options than Starbucks; with so much temptation to do so many things, my problem was where to fit in the ‘me’ time!
Set within 300-acres of park and woodlands, the Grove is a mix of traditional elegance and hip, contemporary design. The use of a rich palette of colours and textures, as well as a liberal smattering of antiques and fine art brings a light-hearted and fun feel to the 18th century manor. This unique ethos also continues through to the 227 individually designed rooms. The West Wing rooms feature a blend of contemporary style and comfort, whilst the Mansion suites are all about decadence, with many featuring open fires and four-poster beds; musically gifted guests can even have a room with a piano!
In terms of facilities, there really is nothing that The Grove is left wanting. Having hosted The World Golf Championships 2006, The Grove’s 18-hole golf course is widely regarded as one of the finest in Europe, with greats such as Tiger Woods having played on it. The hotel also has an award winning spa with a range of treatments for those after some good old fashion pampering, whilst tennis courts, swimming pools and bike rides are also available. They’ve even built a beach, with a beach volleyball set-up, for when the sun decides to make an appearance!
Colette’s is The Grove’s three rosette award winning fine dining restaurant. Start off with a couple of cocktails in the intriguing and fun bar area, filled with colourful oversized furniture, and you immediately realise you are about to experience something a little bit out of the ordinary. By contrast the beautifully restored 18th century dining room provides a far more conventionally elegant setting, complemented by stunning views across the rolling lawns. However, don’t let the grand surroundings intimidate you. Colette’s is as easy going a fine dining restaurant as one is likely to come across, with friendly staff and an relaxed dress code.
Impressively, however, it’s the food that manages to be the star of the show. Having created a modern European menu with some spectacular and adventurous twists, Colette’s young head chef, Russell Bateman, is surely one of the top rising talents in the restaurant industry. Dishes like the Roast Scottish scallops with peanut puree highlight his ability to pick and cook the absolute finest ingredients around. However, it’s dishes like Sweet Fois gras yogurt with pickled carrots & coriander that demonstrates absolute understanding of flavour and proves to be a totally inspiring experience.
Other Dining Options
From fine dining to a pub lunch, The Grove ticks all the boxes. Colette’s handles the former and they also have what is probably the finest buffet ever in the form of The Glasshouse restaurant. From sushi and pizzas to traditional roasts, everything in the restaurant is freshly made by an army of chefs waiting to tempt you with their delights. Finally, head to The Stables, where the all-day restaurant serves homely comfort food in rustic, country pub like surroundings.
Cuisine type: Modern European
Dinner for two: 3 courses for £62/head 6 course tasting menu at £77/head
Hotel rooms price: around £280, including breakfast
Hertfordshire, WD3 4TG
Tel: 01923 807807