Inspector visits Buckinghamshire hotel with ‘impressive gardens’, but he doesn’t really like his ‘charmless’ room or the ‘soulless’ restaurant
- The inspector stops at the Horwood House hotel, which has more than 150 rooms
- His dinner, bed and breakfast package at the newly refurbished hotel costs £ 139
- Remember … the inspector pays his way – and says it like it’s …
Horwood House is a magnificent mansion built in 1911 with a long road, mullioned windows and impressive gardens. It once belonged to the De Vere group, when it was mainly known as a conference hotel. In 2019 it was bought by Karim Kassam, the director of Ziz Properties, for £ 15.5million and several more millions were spent.
Mr Kassam says he wants to attract the “leisure market”, but I’m afraid that is a lost cause. The various red brick extensions and wings are so ugly that you feel sorry for the main house which presides over such an unfriendly sprawl.
When I arrive after dark in a taxi from nearby Milton Keynes station, the driver pulls up to the front door but everything is locked and dark.
“Horwood House (pictured) is a magnificent mansion built in 1911 with a long road, mullioned windows and impressive gardens,” writes Inspector
Reception has been moved around the corner behind automatic sliding doors, where golden radiators and laminate floors give way to a modern version of swirling rugs, with signs everywhere telling you how to get from A to B.
The sad truth is that signs are useful because there are so many hallways, so many little stairs, so many identical tight turns.
There are over 150 rooms; a spa (with indoor pool and gym) and ten “event spaces”. My dinner, bed and breakfast package cost £ 139 which is good value, except that the room, while spotlessly clean, lacks charm. It reminds me of an airport hotel – and there is always something disheartening about anti-theft hangers.
An outdoor terrace at the hotel. There are over 150 rooms at Horwood House, as well as a spa and ten ‘event spaces’
Horwood House Hotel, Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire, MK17 0PH.
Doubles are priced at £ 87.
For more information call 01296 722100 or visit horwoodhouse.co.uk.
There are two restaurants but only one is open for dinner. It’s a canteen-style space with no soul and clatter, but the main horror is my salt and pepper squid, which looks like it was thawed out of the freezer and microwaved. The tomato salsa that accompanies it has a strange aftertaste.
I retreat to my room and sleep soundly before taking a morning walk in the gardens. Percy Thrower (Blue Peter, Gardeners’ World) grew up here because his father was the head gardener.
Breakfast is served in Restaurant 1911, where you help yourself to coffee from a vending machine and a Spartan buffet is offered. I order scrambled eggs on brown toast. The eggs are powdered but the coffee is surprisingly good.
Mr. Kassam had the courage to do it. Hopefully the corporate world will come to the rescue.