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Hartwell House
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All reviewsafternoon teathe main housecountry housepublic roomssconesnational trustbeautiful groundsspecial occasionstately homefour postersteam roommain restaurantrelaxing breakhistoric buildingamazing hotelstaff were attentivebirthday treat
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Reviewed 5 March 2012

After researching quite a few spa hotels within easy reach of London - we finally settled on Hartwell house, and I'm pleased we did.

We took advantage of the 40% March discounted room rate (making it £174 per double room per night rather than the much more pricy £290). A good deal to snap up while it lasts.

The sweeping driveway and imposing building make for a truly spectacular first impression and the grand fireplaces, huge antique mirrors and opulent furnishings inside match these expectations.

The staff are attentive, polite and make a huge effort in their professionalism. It is a formal atmosphere, but it's still friendly and not intimidating. Some comments on here have talked about a 'stuffy' vibe - I'd say this is a little unfair. It's a grand old manor and the staff just try to uphold a level of formality and decorum to match the setting and make it feel like a special place.

Room was large with a very comfortable bed and nice view. Very quiet. Breakfast was excellent on the saturday morning, cooked freshly on order. Sunday breakfast was a buffet instead and wasn't quite the same quality of cooked breakfast - but still very nice.

Spa was lovely, not sure what the negative comments are about. Great pool, jacuzzi and excellent outdoor hot tub. I agree, the steam room looks a little grotty, but it still worked perfectly well. I had a 25 minute massage by Lisa which was very good indeed, if slightly expensive.

If I was to be picky, these would be a few minor negatives: no tea making facilities in the room, dinner was nice but I thought it was overpriced, and lunch in the spa cafe was quite poor unfortunately (what seemed like tinned soup served without bread).

Aside from these few small gripes, it was a lovely weekend in a gorgeous, well run hotel. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jowie81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

I have just returned from a perfect relaxing short break at Hartwell House. My room was absolutely amazing - everyone I have shown the photos to says "Wow"! As soon as you arrive down the sweeping driveway there is a sense of calmness - the hotel is set within parkland with a lake to the front. The interior of the hotel has to be seen to be believed - it abounds with elegance and style from a bygone era - but having said that there are all the modern comforts one would expect. There are a number of lounges and it was great to come in from the cold and sit by the log fire and relax, with nothing other than the sound of the grandfather clock ticking away in the background. The staff were always on hand to assist and the food was a culinary delight. There is a spa on site housed in a separate building and it was great sitting outside in the hot tub and relaxing in the indoor swimming pool. Overall this is the place to go if you need to recharge your batteries and want peace and quiet. It was hard to leave when it was time to return home.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Denise T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

My sister and I have just returned from the most wonderful short break which was so much better than we ever could have imagined. Hartwell House is perfect if you want total rest and relaxation and peace - it really can't be faulted. The historic surroundings are magnificent - walking down the sweeping staircases to sit by roaring fires in rooms with high ceilings - it is like being transported back to much gentler calmer times! The house is exceptionally clean - the food in the main dining room was incredible - even for vegetarians - we were offered three alternatives - much better than anywhere else we have stayed where this is made such a big deal of! The staff are the best I have encountered - they are polite and so helpful - nothing was too much trouble for them - our bedrooms were amazing - with big deep old fashioned baths - If you want less formal food then there is a cafe spa for light lunches - if you want to celebrate a special occasion - or want to escape the madness of the world this is the place for you! Other reviewers have said expect a formal tone - I agree that there is a quiet respectful way - but not at all stuffy - the staff make you feel very relaxed and welcome - we were very sorry when we had to come home!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Pepper11134
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We have visited Hartwell House several times and have always enjoyed our time there. As you sweep down the drive into view of the hotel it certainly has the 'Wow' factor. This is definitely a more traditional hotel (the history of the building is extremely interesting) and the grounds are lovely.
The bedrooms we have stayed in over the years have always been comfortable and roomy with antiques and antique furniture in place. Although the bathrooms are not in the modern style there are great shower pressures and lots of big fluffy towels and bath robes.
The food at Hartwell is exceptional. The afternoon teas are extremely popular so it's best to book, at least at weekends. The food in the main restaurant has always been outstanding with intense flavours and sauces and wonderful presentation. This is formal dining but the staff are friendly and helpful as well as being extremely efficient. There is an extensive wine list with a wide price range.
The spa doesn't really match the quality of the hotel. As mentioned in other reviews, the ladies changing facilities are not great. The pool is ok and there is a hot tub outside, but we didn't try that so can't comment. However, the steam room although large had what appeared to be rust stains coming down the walls. The jacuzzi didn't have good water pressure jets despite trying to adjust these and the gym room is poorly equipped. The Spa Cafe has a bistro style menu. The food there was ok but not exceptional.
Overall we always enjoy visiting Hartwell House and for us it is a 'special occasion' hotel. By our usual standards it is expensive but we feel it is worth it for the atmosphere, the food and the sense of leaving reality behind as we drive across the bridge into the grounds.

Room Tip: The rooms in the main house are more expensive but obviously more convenient for the restaurant. Rooms in Hartwell Court (a two minute walk up a slope) are cheaper, and a couple of them are up a fairly steep set of stairs so if mobility is a problem you should be aware of this.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mabel58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

Hartwell House was perfect for the quick getaway we wanted. For comparison I would highly recommend looking at Lucknam Park near Bath as it offers very similar accommodation with more and nicer amenities.

Tone: Expect a formal atmosphere where everyone is speaking in hushed tones and respecting one anothers privacy while enjoying a truly idyllic setting.

Staff: The staff were faultless.

Accommodation: We stayed in one of the royal four poster rooms (#12) and found it to be very comfortable and well appointed overall. The sofa could use restuffing or replacing as it's fairly saggy and worn. The reception rooms in the main house were large with games to play or magazines to read.

Food: Dinner was very good and of a caliber you would expect. Breakfast could have been better. The scrambled eggs were a bit strange and the buffet selection could have been more varied. The dining room itself seemed a strange choice in a house of this size as it was small and with fairly limited light/views. Food in the cafe was nothing special but was fine.

Pool/Spa: The pool is large and well heated with a depth of 4'6" throughout. There was also a hot tub perched above the pool. The gym equipment was fairly poor but there are free weights and several machines. The changing areas were the biggest downfall. They truly need an upgrade and a rethinking of the space. There is only one toilet in the womens changing room and it's in a repurposed broom cupboard - and you really can tell! They didn't even bother to change the door. The room itself is just a bit tired and awkward. For a hotel of this caliber they really should do better. For spa services I had the pedicure and pregnancy massage from Nadine. She was excellent and I couldn't recommend her more highly. My husband had a full body Swedish massage which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Lucknam park is another excellent choice if you are looking for a country house getaway and they offer a nicer pool, horseback riding and far prettier grounds and gardens. Their restaurant has a Michelin star rating although I found the food to be a bit fussy for the sake of being fussy. If you don't mind going west a bit I would overall recommend Lucknam but for a closer to London option Hartwell House is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

Room Tip: Four poster bed rooms are worth the upgrade. The Hartwell suites located in the converted stables allow dogs.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank SaltyDog79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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