I live in West London but whenever I consider a weekend break I turn right instead of left at the end of the road. That takes me to central London with the thronging crowds, fuss and rush. Lots of excitement, it’s true, but it hardly constitutes relaxation, and perhaps if I turn left there could be something remarkably different.
Surrey’s stylish Brooklands Hotel is how management describe this facility. Well, I have heard it all before and have so often been disappointed and have come away from what should have been a calming interlude with a mind full of self-doubt regarding my sense of good taste. Hotels with contrived edginess or faux-Victorian charm have never quite worked for me. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Brooklands Hotel honestly was stylish and absolutely fit for purpose.
The hotel has contemporary class writ large. Its tapered columns and sweeping lines remind me of the Bauhaus movement which actually fits well with the era of the original Brooklands racing track and Art Deco. Its entrance is lofty from a distance but acquiring more human proportions close-up. It has recently added 11 new bedrooms and renamed four of the hotel’s super suites, and those suites are huge and well-appointed.
Brooklands Hotel is closely associated with the iconic race track which was opened in 1907. So closely associated that the window from my suite overlooked the aforementioned circuit. A quartz and granite outline of the original track runs through the reception and art-deco motifs have been introduced. There is a striking Charlie Whinny wood sculpture in the atrium which has been inspired by the curves of the race track.
The suites are sumptuous at Brooklands and my wide terrace offered uninterrupted views of the modern Mercedes-Benz World race track as well as the famous bank of the original. The skid pan acted like a slippery magnet for amateur thrill-seekers trying their hands (and feet) at Brooklands and a completion of a round or two would indeed be something of which to brag to the grandchildren! There are 131 bedrooms here and the hotel can boast some of the largest rooms of any UK hotel. Every guest can enjoy light and airy rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, many of the rooms offering panoramic views of the neighbouring Mercedes-Benz World race track.
The ‘Selwyn Edge’ Suite was mine, for the night at least. It’s named after a racing driver as are all the suites. In June 1907, Selwyn Edge broke the 24-hour distance record, driving a 60 hp Napier Six, at Brooklands. In 1922 he returned to Brooklands in a Spyker, setting a new “Double 12” world record at an average speed of 74.27 mph for the aggregate 24 hours.
This suite was furnished and decorated in muted tones and with furniture that would have complemented any high-end 1930s apartment. A propeller plane in shiny steel was just what one would see gracing the desk of an industrial mogul in old black-and-white movies. One decorative touch that completed the elegant statement.
One might be tempted to linger on that balcony but the spa is waiting with treatments aplenty, and loungers on which to, well, lounge. There is a well-equipped gym for those with temple-like bodies and a café for the rest of us. Brooklands is one of those hotels that offers couples with diverse interests a unique escape. The men, and lots of women too, will want a little time behind the wheel while others will be content to unwind with some pampering and a good book.
Brooklands Hotel has excellent facilities including the AA Rosette-winning ‘1907 Restaurant Bar & Grill’ headed up by celebrated chef Norman Farquharson, making this hotel something of a mini resort. Not only does Brooklands have easy access to the Mercedes-Benz World race track but the Brooklands Museum is just a few minutes’ walk away and that will likely be popular with everybody.
I am impressed by Brooklands Hotel. It has accessible charm, thoughtful accents, beauty and great amenities. The food is outstanding and service is friendly. One can truly step away from the cares of the world here while glimpsing a corner of another age of fast living.
Main Hotel Number: +44 (0) 1932 335700
Reservations: +44 (0) 1932 335710
Meeting & Events: +44 (0) 1932 335720
Visit Brooklands Hotel here
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018