The Beaverbrook Estate is vast. The main house (to be completed as a hotel of distinction later in 2017) is baronial. But there is another hotel which is part of this well-appointed complex and it’s unique.
The Garden House is on a more human scale than the main house which was once the home of Lord Beaverbrook, one of the most influential men of the last century. He was a friend of the likes of Winston Churchill, Nye Bevan and Joseph and Rose Kennedy, parents of President J. F. Kennedy. Lord Beaverbrook was a newspaper magnate and was called the “First Baron of Fleet Street”. His home matched his status and the flint-built Garden House was occupied by his son.
This truly is a ‘garden’ house. It was originally a small building (in comparison to the mansion up the road) but has been extended, although it still retains the character of a cosy cottage. Many of the public rooms are intimate, giving the impression of home rather than hotel. Yes, perhaps that’s the charm of the Garden House. One has the sense that one is staying with friends. Granted, those friends have impeccable taste and have spared no effort to provide their guests with every amenity. There are only 11 bedrooms in the Garden House so guests have the best of personal service from friendly and attentive staff.
There is nothing that shouts ‘corporate’ at the Garden House. The rooms have high-end toiletries, fluffy towels and dazzling bed linen, just as one would expect. But there are bespoke luxuries such as lots of vintage books, bowls of fruit, and perhaps a bottle of sloe gin. Each room is totally different so every stay (and one stay will never be enough) offers a new discovery. There is also a beverage station on the landing with coffee, tea, snacks and some worthy whiskies.
The Garden House welcomes its guests as trusted friends and it evidently attracts those who appreciate both ambiance and amenity. Shelves are covered with antiques and curios, and walls display more beauty in the guise of paintings and mirrors. There are sofas and armchairs around an open fire which adds a gorgeous aroma of home …or at least the home that so many of us dream of. Designer Nicola Harding has created a hotel which has the personality of an evolved house, with items which reflect its Victorian origins but avoid the stuffy or banal.
It isn’t so much that the house has a garden; rather, the garden has a house. There is a walled vegetable garden which will tempt any horticultural wannabe away from the comfort of the fire. There is year-round interest with budding fruit trees in the spring, abundant vegetable beds during the summer, autumn colours towards the end of the year, and winter will encourage a look into the glasshouse. The kitchen garden isn’t just for the visual pleasure of guests: the produce is used in the popular restaurant and also the cooking school.
The estate covers 400 acres of beautiful grounds and woodlands. There is an area designed especially for the younger members of the family. There is a woodsy adventure waiting for them and far enough away from the Garden House that anxious parents don’t feel obliged to be constantly shushing. The parents can sit and keep an eye on the explorers and enjoy their own quiet few moments among well-established shrubs and trees. The golf links will likely appeal to those who have a boot full of clubs and who are looking for a little gentle exercise.
There isn’t a secret to this Garden House. It is simply perfect in every regard. There is attention to detail, great amenities, and modern convenience in a timeless environment of natural charm. It’s not been opened too long but one could believe it’s been around for ages – not as a hotel but the abode of someone with a generous heart, zest for warm hospitality and fine taste in everything. This hotel could become a habit!
The Garden House
Surrey KT22 8QX
Phone: +44 (0)1372 227670
Hotel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018