A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a night away at the luxury hotel The Grove, a golf, spa and beach resort in the Hertfordshire countryside by Lee Cooper, and I loved my relaxing break so much that I thought I would share some pictures I took.
As a five-star hotel you would expect The Grove to be fancy, and it is, but what surprised me the most was just how friendly the resort was, and how even though it is huge with more than 200 room it felt boutique in its quirky appearance with art installations in the corridors of cows, rubber ducks and even feathers – and its picturesque location really made my overnight stay feel like days it was so relaxing.
Located just 30 minutes outside London, this hotel is a perfect hideaway to recharge your batteries, and with 300 acres to explore you will definitely find a quiet spot to relax. What I loved about this hotel, other than the amazing service and gorgeous room, had to be the incredible gardens, pieces of art dotty around the estate, and the fact that it has an urban beach complete with volleyball, an outside swimming pool, lawn croquet and table tennis all hidden behind the walled garden.
There is something special about The Grove, they really have thought of everything from making the rooms feel homely complete with arm chair, a large TV and a desk for doing work, stocking up the bathroom with cosmetics from The White Company, and even coming into my room to turn down my bed and put a pair of slippers out – which was a lovely touch after a long day.
It is the grounds of this hotel which I enjoyed the most, it was lovely to walk around the well-kept gardens, the lovely water installations, and be surprised by random pieces of art including a sculpture made out of recycling, a metal skeleton figure, and a gorgeous glass tree that looked simply divine in the sunshine.
As well as taking walks around the grounds, I also enjoyed the facilities at the Sequoia Spa, which has an extensive treatment menu using ESPA products. As I was driving back soon after my appointment I didn’t want to go for a uber-relaxing massage or a facial, I will definitely have to go back to experience those, instead I went for a luxury pedicure complete with a leg message, which was the perfect end to a night away.
Granted this isn’t a cheap break, rooms are around the £300 price bracket per night, but if you are after a relaxing hideaway close to London with someone to walk, enjoy the picturesque views, maybe enjoy a round of golf or even indulge in a spa treatment or two I would most certainly recommend it as a luxury treat.
I think I will have to try and find an excuse to go back as I would love to try their afternoon tea – I heard only good things while I was there but didn’t have the chance to taste for myself.
For more pictures of my stay at The Grove, Hertfordshire head on over to my Facebook page.
**Fashionista Barbie was a guest of Lee Cooper**
[Pics: all by me, Fashionista Barbie]
I adore the Art Deco era, whether it is in fashion, art or architecture, and one of the best things about the sleepy North West seaside town of Morecambe, that my Mum now lives in, has to be the Art Deco features along the seafront, in particular the gorgeously restored, The Midland Hotel.
A while back when visiting my Mum, and while the sun was shining, we decided to take a walk along the promenade, take some pictures and enjoy afternoon tea at The Midland Hotel’s Sun Terrace Restaurant, which looks out across Morecambe bay.
I love an afternoon tea that masters the fine line between traditional and modern and I think The Midland does that really well. Priced at only £16.50 for the traditional afternoon tea, it is not only excellent value but absolutely delicious. It comes with a selection of finger sandwiches, which for veggies like Mum and I was egg mayonnaise and watercress and cucumber and cream cheese, this was followed up with a gorgeous platter of cakes including a glazed fruit tart, a chocolate éclair and a piece of carrot cake. Finishing off the afternoon tea were some of the best scones I have ever tasted, which were made even nicer with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam.
But afternoon tea is much more than just the food, the service, the setting, the crockery and the tea selection really plays a big part and The Midland completely won me over. From the traditional bone china to the seaside view, everything about this afternoon tea was luxurious, and was topped off nicely with one of the best Earl Grey teas I have ever tasted.
I would totally recommend the afternoon tea if you are in the Morecambe area, and I hope one day I get to stay in the hotel as I would love to see inside one of their luxurious suites!!!
Originally opened in the 1930s, The Midland Hotel stood in ruins for a number of years until development company Urban Splash lovingly restored it to its former glory and added a few modern touches to the Art Deco hotel and re-opened it in 2008.
There are a number of special elements to the design of this building that I adore, from the decadent seahorses standing tall at the front of the building to Eric Gill’s Neptune and Triton Medallion peering down from the top of the spiral staircase. It is because of buildings like this, designed by architect Oliver Hill that makes me love architecture; I just love how he designed this curving hotel to complement the prom, allowing guests to look out over the bay. They really don’t make buildings like this anymore.
I have stayed in fancy hotels before but none quite as special as the Soho Grand Hotel in New York. Not only is this a very cool hotel, the location is perfection right in the heart of Soho, just round the corner from Canal Street subway which means you can get anywhere, but it was the exquisite decor that knocked me out, I loved the luxurious fabrics mix in with the industrial touches, everything about this hotel from the very helpful staff to the fashionable crowd makes it a great base to take in New York.
I am not joking when I say that the Soho Grand Hotel attracts the fashion elite, the concierge was telling me that the hotel was buzzing during New York Fashion Week where a number of designers held presentations, parties and stayed. They are also hosting the British Fashion Council when they come to New York in November with their London Show Rooms. The hotel also attracts a few rocks bands, apparently one was staying while I was there I didn’t recognise them and I didn’t catch their name *bad groupie*, even Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson frequently stay over, and the barman was also telling me Alan Cummings held his Halloween party here last year and it was “off the hook”!!!
Seriously this Downtown hotel seems to attract a very hip crowd, while I was getting a bite in the lounge area a lot of fashionable folk whizzed through for meetings, lunch and a general catch-up, a great place to people watch.
I loved the lounge area, filled with comfie sofas and leather armchairs, and decorated beautifully with birdcages filled with Christian Louboutin shoes and shoe boxes. It took me three times seating in this area to realise that they were actual Louboutin red soles!
On the first night, which so happen to be the last day of summer, we all chilled out down in The Yard nibbled on french fries and I had the most amazing Pimms cocktail. My pictures are all poor, I blame poor light, tiredness after the flight, oh and the alcohol!!
I have to admit now I didn’t actually spend a lot of time in the hotel, hence no pics of the gym, or much of the inside other than my room, I didn’t even get a spare moment to find the pantry, which is on ever floor to get a tea or coffee. But what I did see I loved it was such a cool place to relax in after a long day and my room was perfection, even if I was a little scared of falling out of my huge bed!!
My view wasn’t the best, I over looked some office block, but the other girls got views of the Empire State building, so if you stay here request a higher floor as they offer the best window glazing opportunities my sixth floor room not so much.
What I did love about my room was the bathroom, if you felt the tweetie bird was something new think again, it seems that Saul Steinberg, a cartoonist for The New Yorker in the 1950s had the idea first. His designs were on the wallpaper and shower curtain and I am going to get my picture blown up for my bathroom as I love it so much.
I even got a rubber duck, LOVE!!!
I have spoken about my love of bathroom goodies before, well the Soho Grand have the best from the amazing Malin + Goetz – I adored my rum shampoo and body wash, and I have to admit I sneakily brought my set home with me.
The Soho Grand also has one of the quirkiest mini bars I have ever seen, I seriously was worried I would get the munchies and need these gummy bears.
I have to give it to the Soho Grand I haven’t raved about a hotel so much in a long time. I loved my short trip to New York and in-part that was because the hotel was so amazing. There is so much more to this hotel that I didn’t get to explore, like you can have a complimentary goldfish to look after during your stay, I would have loved the time to take the bikes out, or even enjoy a beauty treat at the Privé Salon maybe I can do that on my next visit.
One last thing that more hotels should take note of, the Soho Grand offers free wi-fi throughout, which for me is a must as I use my smartphone all the time, and generally my laptop is near by.