If you’re looking for a romantic break, or some quality time with girlfriends, then look no further than Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire.
Set in over 350 acres of beautiful land, the estate boasts a 27 hole Championship Golf Course and a truly glorious Spa, completed by sumptuous rooms, delicious restaurants and lounges, and extensive leisure facilities: all only 35 minutes from London.
From the moment you sweep up that famous drive, passing gently sculptured fairways on either side, complemented by the tranquil lake and Memorial Gardens, you have crossed into elegance, sophistication and splendour. Then you are met by The Mansion house itself, one of the last truly majestic British buildings open for public use, and lovingly restored to reflect all aspects of the estate history, which stretches back for over 1,000 years.
Through The Mansion doors you are greeted by friendly staff, who will take you through to The Orangery where you can enjoy a chilled glass of something bubbly and take in the views. The Mansion boasts 21 rooms ranging from ‘bedrooms’ to ‘suites,’ all with traditional decoration, sumptuous furniture, and marble bathrooms with roll-top baths. The Dining Room is also situated here, offering contemporary British cuisine, whilst The Orangery offers comprehensive breakfast and lunch menus.
Situated beside The Mansion is The Pavilion building, opened in 2008. This building offers a further 28 rooms, again ranging from ‘bedrooms’ to ‘suites,’ decorated in a more contemporary style, with marble bathrooms, 42 inch HD LCD TV’s, mood lighting and magnificent views of Windsor Castle. The Pavilion also hosts the swimming pool, San Marco Italian Restaurant and SPA SPC. The Spa is a beautiful combination of modern and tranquil surroundings, with an extensive range of treatments including:
The Active Glow Facial, combining a kiwi seed and pomegranate scrub, lymphatic drainage and pressure point scalp massage to detoxify and leave you with a radiant, glowing complexion. £80, 55 minutes.
The White Chocolate Wrap, a decadent and soothing treatment to leave the skin nourished and replenished. A layer of pampering oil and white chocolate cream is applied to your skin, your body is then cocooned in heated fleeces, whilst you receive a luxurious foot and scalp massage, then a relaxing full body massage to leave you nourished and calm. £110, 85 minutes.
The Aromaheat, uses Hawaiian, Balinese and Thai massage techniques to relax and restore tense muscles. A heated herbal poultice, full of active ingredients, is rolled along the body to create full relaxation, whilst warm essential oils are drizzled on for a pampering massage. £110, 85 minutes.
If your looking for something a bit more active, then you can either hit the gym or head towards the Stoke Poges golf course, complete with driving range, putting green and short game practice area. Designed by Harry Shapland Colt and opened in 1909, the course is famous in golfing quarters, selected by Golf World in 2006 as one of the ‘Top 100 Courses in the World,’ a considerable honour when there is estimated to be over 32,000 courses world wide. If golf is not your thing then how about tennis? Stoke Park boasts 13 tennis courts, including six Wimbledon specification courts, which play host to the annual Boodles Tennis Tournament, past players including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Britain’s very own Andy Murray.
If all this is still not enough to tempt you, Stoke Park has also been the location for several major films over the last 60 years. James Bond famously played Golf upon its hallowed greens against the cheating Goldfinger in 1964, whilst Daniel Craig dramatically enters after Colm Meaney’s summons “I’ll see you at Stoke Park at 3.00″and is eventually shot on The Mansion steps in Layer Cake. For us ladies there is perhaps the slightly more memorable scenes of Bridget Jones’s Diary, where Bridget accompanies Daniel Cleaver on a romantic mini break: firstly frolicking about on the lake, then retiring to the grand Pennsylvania Suite.
There are several break packages to choose from, all include the regular DBB however there are some tempting additions:
The Bridget Jones’s Mini Break: Includes Chardonnay, chocolate dipped strawberries and a DVD of the film.
The Sophisticated Girls Night: Includes champagne, a Facial or Massage and a group makeup or perfume blending demonstration.
Rest, Relaxation and Revive: Includes a Hot Stone Massage, Active Glow Facial and Therapeutic Hydrotherapy.
My Trip Itinerary:
I stayed in an Executive Room in The Pavilion, a beautiful modern yet homely room with exceptionally comfortable furnishings, marble bathroom with heated floors large bath and shower, and a fantastically large TV. (£325.00 per room.)
I ate in the San Marco Restaurant, choosing the Baked Cambozola, Grilled Skate Wing and Strawberry and Vanilla Crème Tartlet, all of which was delicious and correctly proportioned. (£32.50 with soft drinks, DBB included in most rates.)
For Breakfast I chose The Orangery, which offers both continental and full English, in a relaxed atmosphere with attentive and helpful staff. (Included in the rate.)
For my pampering session I chose the Active Glow Facial with Bee. She was conscientious and friendly, whilst the facial was, it has to be said, divine: leaving me thoroughly relaxed and my face soft and fresh. (£80, 55 minutes, and well worth it.) 10/10 for all aspects of the SPA, which was voted one of the Top Ten British Spas by both Tatler and The Daily Telegraph.
I then sampled afternoon tea on the lawn, overlooking the famous Repton Bridge, lake and Memorial Gardens. It was a lovely, and substantial, treat complemented by the beautiful surroundings and warm sunshine. (£25, for two to share.)
I would not hesitate to enjoy a break there with my girlfriends again, and would strongly recommend it for those looking for a break away in a peaceful and friendly environment.