Hotel review

Berkshire Hotel review: Inspector thinks The Retreat in Elcot Park near Newbury will be a hit

Despite being woken up at 8 a.m. by two diggers building the outdoor pool and ‘painfully slow’ service at breakfast, the inspector believes this Berkshire hotel will be a success.

  • The retreat at Elcot Park is halfway between Newbury and Hungerford
  • It has 55 rooms, two restaurants, a chic spa, a wine shop, a bakery and a café
  • Remember, the inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is

There is a specially ordered map in the reception area. It has the brand new Retreat in Elcot Park in West Berkshire at its centre, with sister hotel The Miter in Hampton Court to the east – and will soon show the group’s latest acquisition on Rutland Water.

Suffice it to say, Hector Ross’ Signet collection is on the rise; its Canadian backer splashing the cash admirably, defying the recession.

The retreat, halfway between Newbury and Hungerford, is a colossal undertaking. As well as the 55 rooms (the house once belonged to Lady Shelley, mother of Percy, the poet, and was later a ramshackle Mercure hotel), there are two restaurants, a chic spa with hydropool, gym and plunge pool salt (open next weekend); a wine shop, bakery and cafe, hairdresser and nail bar (all open on Wednesdays) and 16 acres of land.

The inspector stops at The Retreat, halfway between Newbury and Hungerford. ‘In addition to the 55 rooms, there are two restaurants, a chic spa with hydropool, gym and salt float tank (opening next weekend); a wine shop, a bakery and cafe, a hairdresser and nail bar (all open on Wednesdays) and 16 acres of land,” he explains

Arrived last Friday, an open fire blazes in the hall, a huge dog basket faces it. original art; portraits on the wall near the wide staircase; color keys.

‘Would you like a glass of wine?’ asks a friendly man who later meets and greets our bags in the bedroom, which has bold wallpaper, a striped headboard, and an antique chest of drawers.

All comers are offered a free drink – a generous touch after enduring the Smart Motorway works on the M4.

A photo of the posh Sutton Suite from The Retreat.  Double rooms are from £180 B&B

A photo of the posh Sutton Suite from The Retreat. Double rooms are from £180 B&B

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Retreat at Elcot Park, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG20 8NJ.

Such. : 01635 800520 or go to retirementelcotpark.com.

Evaluation:

The dining room in the Orangerie is not finished, so we eat in 1772 (the year the original house was built), where there is a long welcoming bar. But it’s way too bright and the pianist is playing way too loud.

Nothing to complain about the food. Some of the pan-Asian dishes have migrated through the lobby, which isn’t a bad thing. The ‘cauliflower crispy popcorn’ with teriyaki and soy, and the Japanese chicken spatchcock are superb.

We are woken at 8am by two diggers building the outdoor pool and think it would be wise not to charge full price (£240 in our case) while part of the garden is still a building site .

Service at breakfast is painfully slow. Teething problems, no doubt, and I suspect the young and ambitious Mr Ross will soon be eradicating all the wrinkles – and The Retreat will become a big hit, both with locals and wealthy Londoners who may come from the capital to less than 90 minutes.

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