This weekend I treated my boyfriend to a special birthday and Valentine’s getaway in the leafy picturesque surroundings of Elstree in Hertfordshire. The Manor hotel, situated in the suburbs of London and covering over 10 acres of land, stands at an impressive 477 years old and is full of character and filled with love. Over the years I had heard fantastic reviews of this hotel, from the quality of the food, particularly the extremely popular afternoon tea service, to its stunning exterior and interior design – every room in the boutique hotel is specially themed and individually styled using Laura Ashley products.
The hotel is built in an ideal location – it is just a short distance away from the local train station which is a mere 20 minutes away from central London, but far enough away to enable a relaxing stay that feels as if you’re in the Midlands countryside. It is also great for those who love to take a casual stroll as it is only 5 minutes drive away from Aldenham Country Park.
We stayed in the ‘standard double’ room and is priced in the region of £99 for a one-night-stay, which is a fantastic price for the picturesque landscape that greets you left, right and centre. The other rooms available in the hotel are more expensive – the highest price being from £209 – however they are well worth the money if you can afford to fork out a small fortune. For example, the ‘Premier Suite’ comes with large four-poster bed, a sofa area and more floor space, allowing for a more luxurious stay.
The view from our room looked onto part of the main garden with views of beautifully tended greenery and fields as far as the eye can see. The chess board painted onto the grass with 16 life-size pieces is a great quirk and would be perfect on a gorgeous summer’s day, sipping on Prosecco and soaking up the rare English sunshine. They even cater for weddings, and this location would be a stunning place to wed the love of your life (start saving Callum…).
Yes – I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic (if you haven’t already guessed)
The hotel room comes with everything you could possibly want – a comfortable bed, free wifi, a flat screen TV (covering all the channels you need) and drinks and nibbles for the room. This includes tea and coffee, cookies and for coffee lovers, an all singing and all dancing coffee machine. There is also room service and dry cleaning facilities, as well as a gym on site if you’re that person.
The food did not disappoint. The à la carte menu is fairly priced for the quality served: a 2 course meal totals £27.50 per person and for a 3 course meal it is £35 per person. (They often have deals on this if you book to stay at the hotel, so keep your eyes peeled).
For the entrée, my boyfriend had foie gras which he thoroughly enjoyed and scraped the plate clean. I opted for a poached duck egg with bacon lardons. Duck egg is something I hadn’t tried before so I decided to be adventurous – it was definitely the right decision to make.
For the main course, my boyfriend chose to go for duck, which came with parsnips, potato and a rich red jus. I opted for pan-fried whiting, which was accompanied by parsnip puree, cabbage and crispy bacon – again, it was divine.
We each had a bite of each other’s meals because we’re that type of couple – we never get the same meal so we can try new meals together (it might sound a little bit weird but it’s a great idea because you get 2 meals in 1 sitting – or maybe we’re just greedy…). After the meal, we were both left with highly satisfied stomachs, and agreed the flavours complemented each other superbly on every single dish.
The dessert was the winner for us both though. The pair of us are very much foodies with a sweet tooth and a strong taste for flavour, so naturally my boyfriend chose a lime meringue tart with mojito sorbet, and I opted for panna cotta with salted popcorn and caramel – currently an obsession of mine at the moment.
The hotel has two bars on offer, both similar in design and taste. The LA bar is elegant and furnished with a collection of velvet armchairs and a menu of anything from the finest wines, beers and whiskey, to creative handmade cocktails. The second is The View, which is very much the same, offering panoramic views of London and the beautiful hotel garden. However, on clear days, views can extend as far as Canary Wharf and the famous skyscraper, the Shard. Sadly for us, it was too overcast and it was snowing, so visibility was poor, but I imagine the views would be stunning on summer evenings.
Breakfast was provided in our package and we were given the opportunity to have breakfast in bed, which of course we accepted. The contents available for breakfast were wide-ranging from a light continental breakfast to a classic fry-up. I was trying to be healthy and opted for scrambled egg on toast and English breakfast tea, and my boyfriend had a full English with apple juice. (When ordering the night before, you choose a time slot for the food to be delivered to your door. We chose between 9.30 to 9.45 – we’re not early birds – and it was delivered promptly, dead on cue, at half nine).
If you want a romantic weekend getaway, then this is the place for you.
All in all, I would highly recommend this hotel, whether it be for a spot of afternoon tea, a sip of wine in the evening or a weekend getaway. It’s faultless in every aspect, from the distinctive unique design, to the fantastic food, to the exemplary customer service. Booking was made simple and upon arrival, the receptionist Joanna made us feel welcome and at ease. The same goes for the hotel staff, including the waiters and waitresses, as well as the maids and bar staff. Thank you.