Hotel and Venue review- Stoke Park Hotel and Spa.

So do you remember in Bridget Jones where she and hotty-Mc-Hugh go boating on the lake? Remember the four-poster bed in the hotel when she puts on that bunny costume?

Course you do.

Far from simply being a set piece, Stoke Park Hotel and Spa is famous not only from featuring on numerous block-busting cinematic delights, but also from being ridiculously fabulous.
At five-stars and deserving no less, it sits in the the Berkshire countryside and is a feast of beautiful-ness with its gardens and lakeside views.

When asked to review this magnificent hotel with it's Bridget Jones mini-break, the first thing I did was pop on the DVD and prepare....So needless to say I arrived that Thursday afternoon in style.
If by 'in style' you interpret that to mean 'determined to be as Bridget-esque as possible'.

So with my silk scarf and twin-set I rolled up (in my clio....more fondly imagined to be an open top sports car) and insisted that Mr Whim Biscuit capture the moment of me pretending to be wind-swept (please note I made him wear his silliest Xmas jumper so he could be Darcy also- I wasn't going to leave him out was I?).

Now we are a normal average hardworking couple, and I feel it is important to state this because amongst it's more obvious qualities, this hotel has something that is so much more difficult to find. It is welcoming and friendly and makes you instantly feel like you belong.
Now I have stayed in some hotels where my excitement bubble has been burst by a distinct resonating feeling of not fitting in because my Gucci dress is more Primar-ni than Gucci, so this wonderful and comforting welcome-ness was great. The staff were friendly and helpful, giving us maps for their recommended 'Heritage walk' around the gardens, and helped us relax after our drive with a lovely cup of tea by an open fire.

While the room was being prepared we toured the building, noting where good ol' Darcy walked down the stairs, and then running up said stairs so I could pretend that I was them and feel very important. We then were showed all the beautifully decorated meeting rooms and eating areas, before actually going in the room, 'The Pennsylvania Suite', where Bridget stayed- and it is I assure you as opulent as it seems! (I didn't get to sit on the bed....but I really wished I could....).

(Oh good grief I sound mental).

Now Stoke Park kinda has two-hotels more or less next to each other.
It has the Mansion, where the rooms "are all individually designed and furnished with fine art, priceless antiques, large comfortable beds, en-suite marble bathrooms, HD TV, iPod dock, tea and coffee facilities, SPC Skincare products, WiFi and most have open fires."

Also the Pavillion, with all the same comforts but with a more modern decor "carefully chosen furnishings, equisite marble and fabrics are of the highest and most luxurious quality. The bespoke furniture is handcrafter in the UK with additional antiques sourced from the Far East. The walls are aborned with hand-made mirrors as well as moder, iconic artwork, including oil paintings, large photographs, Andy Warhol lithos and film posters."

Whilst we were in the Mansion, we noted that we thought having the contrasting styles was a brilliant concept, as both were as luxurious as each other but it meant that if you wished to, you could have a different stay each-time.

The Bridget Jones mini-break includes-
  • One night's accommodation in a Mansion or Pavilion Room (upgrade to Pennsylvania Suite £130 per person)
  • Bottle of chilled Chardonnay
  • Three course dinner
  • Full English or Continental breakfast
  • SPC Aromatherapy Back Massage 25 minute per person
  • Prescriptive Manicure or pedicure
  • Bridget Jones's Diary DVD to take home
  • Complimentary use of Health and Racquet facilities
    (indoor swimming pool with hydro-seats, state-of-the-art gymnasium, multi-surface tennis courts, steam rooms, dance and fitness studio)
*Upgrade to the actual four-poster suite used in the film, voted 'the most Romantic Hotel Room in the UK' by Sunday Times Magazine (subject to availability) for £290.
From £245.00 per person (offer based on two people sharing).

We stayed in the Coke-Suite named after Sir Edward, and as you can tell by below, it is simply glorious. Beautiful and tasteful, it is an encapsulation of wonderment and romance. The terrific interior design is complimented by elegant details to make your stay the best it could be. From chocolates to coffee table books, and all the extras in-between. The bathroom again, is superb. Marble, his and hers sinks, roll top bath etc etc. What more could you wish for....oh right....yeah....a balcony.
Our (yes for our room only) private balcony that is more room sized than anything, that showcases views across the grounds and impressive golf course. We even took our complimentary Chardonnay out there and had a dance to celebrate how impressive it all was (ok, I danced and Mr Biscuit laughed at me).

As we had arrived mid-afternoon, we had our spa treatments scheduled in shortly after, so I quickly checked how prickly my legs were (those of you who read my Elemis day spa review will remember my terror at realising I had forgot to shave before the masseuse had to do her massage, so I was still mortified by this embarrassment).
Contented, we went to reception where we noted though the glorious entrance that it was raining. Not a problem. Why worry about messy rain hair when a mini-bus will escort you to the next building.
Words do not describe how pampered we felt when we were driven all of 100-feet just for our comfort.

The spa itself is as luxurious as the hotel, as expected. It's the spa mentioned in the Pantene know....they say it's endorsed by Stoke Park Spa and the woman swishes her hair about, so we thought it had to be pretty great after all that.

....and it was.

Now since I am a sporadic nail-chewer, and Mr Biscuit had to ask me what the difference is between a manicure and a pedicure to begin with, I had asked for us both to have the pedicures alongside the back-massage. We changed into our robes and slippers and waddled into the relaxation area with complimentary tea and nibbles. Very zen. Very feng shui.
Then, escorted into our treatment rooms we transended into bliss and enjoyed our massages and pedicures utterly and completely.

Mr Biscuit insists that you know how manly this was, and how much he enjoyed it. This is because as a man that thinks washing your face with anything but soap is ludicrous, he really did not have a clue what to expect and probably thought he was going to end up with sparkly toes. He notes that we has never felt more comfortable and the staff were so friendly that when he came out and I was sat with my magazine, he actually berated me for never explaining to him properly how amazing spas were. I replied that I assumed this meant I was allowed to try all my creams and face-packs on him when we got home.

With a couple of hours before our late evening dinner, we took to the facilities- namely the pool. He splashed about for a while without me because the beauty therapist who did my pedicure had put the fear of God in me that I would ruin my new coral toe-nails if I skipped about excitedly. So I skipped about excitedly with bits of tissue between my toes for twenty minutes before I couldn't resist the steam room.
On a separate note about steam-rooms, I am still not sure what steam-room clothing etiquette is. There is always some others lounging in there in the buff, and I suddenly feel very over-dressed in my swimming costume. Ah well.

Giddy with elation, we retired to our room to beautify and dress up for our dinner, because when you are going to the hotel's 2-AA Rosette awarded restaurant 'The Orangery', you kinda wanna look glam.
The menu is varied and exquisite, and the epitome of fine dining. From sea-bass to fillet steak there will be something to suit you and the service is impeccable, particularly when you consider that I probably was awkward with my order when I asked for my starter of mixed pate's and asked if they could possibly not put any Fois gras on my plate as I thought it was mean. Mr Biscuit squirmed and kicked my foot, but the waitress was nothing but accepting and courteous. It reminds me of a time I was in Covent Garden and I asked for the lobster spaghetti but only if the lobster was already dead because some other diner ordered it and they could use some of that. Obviously I didn't wish for a lobster to end it's lobster-y life just because! Except my waitress there gave me an aspirated groan, and I bet that if I was at Stoke Park they would have been nice about it. Sigh.

Breakfast is also provided, and you have a choice of continental or English Breakfast, and the choice is ridiculous!
We put our order on the door to be collected, and discovered to our surprise the next morning that we perhaps ordered a tad too much. Just remember that when it takes a couple of waiters to deliver it all to your room in the morning because you might have accidently ticked most of the boxes in the choice selection, you will be embarrassed. Because it's not like a silly buffet that comes on a single plate, but actually is very generous in size and the fruit plate is a proper fruit plate, and the smoked salmon with scrambled egg is not just a side note to your breakfast but a full size portion in itself. So yes, silly us indeed.

Although check-out is around midday, we took the opportunity to pack our bags in the car before ensuring we didn't miss out on the scenery set in the 27 hole park-land golf course. The heritage walk was just what we needed after a morning swim (especially to work off the breakfast), exploring the 'Capability' Brown designed gardens, and lakes (by the way, you can't row on the lake. I asked. Apparently that was just for Bridget Jones....disappointment much?!?!). Yet all in all it literally was the perfect ending to a perfect mini-break, and whilst we write this now, Mr Whim Biscuit and I completely agree...we just can't fault this.

With impressive backdrops and impeccable decor, why not hold your wedding at Stoke Park? With it's convenient location just over half and hour away from London, and next to Windsor Castle, it is the ideal venue for any couple determined for decadence and wonderment.

So go, stay, relax, and adventure!