For our anniversary this year, my wife and I had managed to convince her parents to look after our young children for two nights, and so we were looking for a hotel where the surroundings would be beautiful, the food and service excellent, and ideally where spa facilities were on offer for additional relaxation. We chose Stoke Park, but as it is effectively a 'hotel-cum-golf club' we were a little nervous. We needn't have been at all. It proved to have been a sensible choice from the first moment we arrived.
We were too early to check in (about noon), but the man on the desk (whose name may have been Brock?) was extremely friendly and helpful, and wished us a Happy Anniversary as soon as we gave our names - well prepared. He gave us passes to the spa, a whole host of ideas of places to visit, and promised to phone as soon as the room was ready. True to his word, a phone call arrived at about 2.45pm and we soon discovered that we had been upgraded from our original room. We stayed in Lane Jackson (all the rooms are named after important figures from the history of the original country house), at the front of the building, overlooking the practice green and part of the golf course. You might prefer a side room overlooking the lake, but it was still lovely. The room was large, sumptuous, and benefited from a large terrace balcony with seating and table - a nice plus, given the relatively good weather. The bathroom was very large with a pedestal bath - though with all that space it had a strangely small shower.
We were welcomed with an ice bucket containing a bottle of chilled Chardonnay (courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith who we booked through and who I'd definitely recommend) and an anniversary card from the hotel.
Whilst my wife enjoyed an Indian Head Massage I relaxed in and by the pool, which was big enough to properly swim in, rather than just splash around. Dinner the first evening was in San Marco, and the food was excellent - in fact, better than first impressions would suggest. The bright colours, modern décor and seating booths are more suggestive of a chain Italian, but the food was certainly far higher quality than that. (Though to be fair, far higher price too...) Be warned - if you have the gnocchi starter to yourself, you'll struggle through the main - it was enormous.
We didn't have breakfast in the hotel - we went into Marlow and had brunch both days at a little café called Fego which was superb.
The one area where the golf clubhouse/hotel dual role did impact was in the bar. My wife didn't really want to sit in amongst a large number of golfers who'd come in after their rounds, and so we didn't use it at all during our stay. It wasn't that they were golfers specifically, but the groups were typically male, and it's a different vibe than if it were just couples relaxing in their hotel bar. But that was really the only time we felt the overlap. We also spotted a couple having some lovely looking bar food in the lounge area, so there is still much to recommend it.
When we arrived back to our room in the afternoon on the second day (our anniversary itself), there was a lovely treat of a pair of cupcakes on a plate with 'happy anniversary' inscribed in chocolate. It's a small gesture, but was a lovely surprise and really added to our experience.
Dinner that night was in Humphry's (booked through Mr & Mrs Smith as the online booking service through the hotel's site suggested no availability), and although the décor is very traditional country house and a bit dated (fabric wallpaper, heavy monochromatic floral curtains, small chandelier, very faint piano muzak), the food was exquisite. The card from the chef was a nice touch, and our decision to switch tables was warmly welcomed. We started with cocktails, had a bottle of wine, three courses and spent £200, and felt that it had been worth every penny. The lamb was divine, and the chocolate box dessert with salted caramel sauce was also heavenly.
In general, I'd recommend the hotel for the kind of 'special occasion' couple of days. It's got a very relaxed feel, the staff are excellent, and we were made to feel very welcome. Stylistically it's a little dated - but it's a country house-style hotel, so it's not unexpected. I suppose it's because it feels a bit '1980s country house', rather than authentic 1900s country house. That said, it's not tired, or in any way shabby - everything was in excellent condition and perfectly clean. The 'Pavillion' hotel rooms (in a separate, modern building above the pool and spa) will probably offer a different experience, but I didn't see them.
I'd certainly stay there again, though next time I might bring my golf clubs and try to get on what looks to be a really lovely course.
Thanks Stoke Park - we had a wonderful and memorable anniversary.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Stoke Park is Europe’s leading Hotel, Spa and Country Club Resort conveniently located 35 minutes from London and only 7 miles from Heathrow. Situated in leafy Buckinghamshire, Stoke Park is set amidst 300 acres of glorious parkland, lakes and gardens. With 49 exquisite bedrooms, a 27 hole Championship golf course, award winning Spa, 13 tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gymnasium, one will certainly encounter the ultimate Stoke Park experience. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Ebookers, Hotel.de, Agoda, Odigeo and Priceline so you can book your Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Stoke Park Hotel Stoke Poges
- Stoke Park Poges
- Stoke Park Hotel Poges
- Stoke Park Country Club, Spa And Hotel Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom