Coworth Park, Ascot - hotel review

Charlie Teather

While it may seem inevitable that the luxe likes of Paris, Beverley Hills, Milan and LA play host to some of the Dorchester Collection's most distinctive hotels, the location of their only country outpost is a little less predictable.

A mere 45 minute drive from central London, Coworth Park is nestled just east of Ascot and set across 240 acres of picturesque Berkshire parkland.

The hotel has traditionally attracted a well-heeled crowd with their sights set on the polo fields, but an eco-luxury spa and the restaurant's newly-awarded Michelin Star have broadened the hotel's appeal.

Where is it?

Almost unrivalled in the UK among fellow rural retreats for ease of access, Coworth Park is located just off the M3. Ascot, Virginia Water and Sunningdale are the closest railway stations, while central London is just a 45-minute journey by car. Heathrow airport is also just a 20 minute drive away.

Style

Built in 1776, Coworth Park has had many incarnations since.

Having previously housed Lords and Ladies before being transformed into a Roman Catholic convent school in the late 1950s, its modern-day embodiment as a luxury hotel is so well-suited that it's hard to believe it wasn't built as such.

Grand but not grandiose, the hotel has an exquisite yet comforting country house feel. Cream and gold tones run throughout, with the copper bathtub in a number of bathrooms providing a style highlight.

The grounds are immaculately maintained and decorated with benches, lanterns and brass sculptures. The festive season sees the trees adorned with delicate lights which serve to only amplify the hotel's enchanting feel.

Which room?

With stables, Mansion House rooms, suites and - of course - the Dower House, there are almost too many gorgeous spaces to choose from. For special occasions with the family, the privacy of the Dower House's 3 bedrooms, kitchen and dining room provide the perfect option.

We stayed in a junior suite in the main Mansion House and it was faultless. Bursting with rustic charm and with a view over the 240-acre grounds, we were greeted by a four-poster bed bigger than any I've seen.

And while the mini bar, comfortable sofa, television and enormous wardrobe were all wonderful, it was the suite's bathroom that sold it thanks to a roll-top copper tub sitting proudly in the middle of a spacious marble bathroom boasting private loo and shower cubicles and his and hers sinks.

Food & Drink

With a Michelin Star in his back pocket, Restaurant Coworth Park's executive chef Adam Smith has rendered the hotel's gastronomic offering more special than ever. But while a menu of Braised Turbot, Lobster and Herb Crusted Lamb was no doubt tempting, a private event taking place meant we headed to the hotel's more casual, brasserie-style restaurant.

Relaxed and rustic, The Barn is just a short stroll from the main Mansion House and adjacent to the converted stables. From the comfort of our wooden table perched just next to the roaring fireplace, we ordered our food and let the excellent sommelier choose our wine.

Perfectly fried in delicate breadcrumbs, we started with wonderfully light pork croquettes on a bed of bright green lovage mayonnaise, radish and apple. Less light - and perfectly so - was the fillet steak, which arrived alongside a hearty portion of chips and veg, as well as a mushroom sauce accompaniment almost as heavenly in richness as the subsequent steamed chocolate pudding.

If you still have an appetite the next morning, breakfast in the hotel restaurant cannot be missed. With endless options, guests can choose from a selection ranging from Natural yoghurts, granolas and cured meats to Blueberry pancakes, Smoked Haddock and a Full English.

Facilities

While the drawing room, infectiously friendly staff and golf buggies on demand are all major highlights, it is the hotel's spa that is its main draw. An architectural wonder submerged into its landscape, the space incorporates eight treatment rooms (including two doubles), a manicure/pedicure salon, a relaxation room, The Spatisserie, a heated indoor pool with underwater music, a steam room and a sun terrace.

Having soaked up as much of the space as we could in a day, we headed for the treatment rooms for a massage.

I opted for the Orange Blossom Sensory Experience, which was both relaxing and awakening in bizarrely perfect measure. My therapist, Angelique, expertly worked her way around my body's tense knots and winter-beaten skin via a therapeutic foot cleansing ritual, a lymphatic dry body brush and an energy balancing scalp massage. A full body meditative massage was then given using the most heavenly-smelling Kerstin Florian Neroli Orange Blossom Oil.

Once the treatment had finished I floated in my newly-uplifted zen-like state to the relaxation room where I met my friend who had experienced the Insomniac's Dream massage.

Having had trouble sleeping for over six months after a sudden and tragic loss in the family, she fell asleep that night before I'd even turned out the light.

Best for

Couples, friends or solo travellers - anyone who needs a moment's peace in idyllic surroundings within an hour of London.

Details

Rooms from £318 per night. Blacknest Road, Ascot SL5 7SE, Berkshire, England. 01344 876 600, dorchestercollection.com

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