The estuary county of Berkshire is home to many media personalities and celebrities, thanks to its convenient access (by road or rail) to the capital. Picturesque Thameside towns and posh villages provide a charming backdrop, while its top-notch restaurants make any stay here a culinary delight. It’s no wonder many of the rich and most famous in the land choose to spend time in Berkshire.
The Retreat Elcot Park
The Retreat Elcot Park is a newly re-imagined 18th-century country house hotel and spa set in magnificent grounds, located in the heart of the beautiful West Berkshire countryside. The hotel boasts 55 rooms and suites (including adjoining rooms – ideal for families) each of which is beautifully appointed and displays its own individual charm. Eating and drinking is a memorable experience here with two stunning restaurants offering exceptional quality food; the 1772 Brasserie and Yu, pan-Asian Restaurant. For more informal drinks, light bites, and Afternoon Tea, guests can make use of the Orangery and many other fabulous spaces around the hotel. Relax and unwind in the spa, make a splash in the heated outdoor pool and the hydrotherapy indoor pool, and get active in the gym, fitness studio, or even on the tennis court.
This was the grand hotel of choice for the Duchess of Sussex the night before her nuptials. The five-star mansion has often been a royal haunt. It dates back to the 17th century and was the home of the Astor family. Regal rooms are furnished with antiques and plush textiles, some with their own hot tubs and separate living areas. The Astor Grill and Cliveden Dining Room are refined grand affairs and afternoon tea is a speciality. Guests can also enjoy some pamper time in a spa located behind its walled garden.
Monkey Island Estate
Stay on a secluded private island once frequented by royalty, aristocrats notable writers, performers and artists. The 18th-century low-rise complex is made up of Grade I listed pavilions flanked by weeping willows, landscaped grounds and surrounded by the peaceful flowing water of the Thames. There are 40 guest rooms, the grandest being the Wedgewood Suite, designed by the award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design. Private residences, a spa, brasserie and two bars are also found on the estate.
River Arts Club
The River Arts Club is housed in a Victorian Mansion beside the Thames. Boasting private moorings and access to the river, the hotel overlooks the Guards Club Island – home to many species of birds. It’s situated close to Bray, a gastronomic village paradise, to which guests can travel on water via the hotel’s private launch. There are six categories of bedrooms, all with original artworks and some offering open log fires, park or river views, and terraces.
The Vineyard Hotel
Just a short drive from the racing town of Newbury lies The Vineyard Hotel. There’s a spa with hot tub, pool, steam room and sauna and innovative (part alfresco) dining at InsideOut. Wine is a big deal here with frequent tasting events – head sommelier Roland Bourger is a UK Sommelier of the Year winner and the cellar holds over 30,000 bottles. The rooms are classic and elegant, with four-poster beds and either balconies or patios in the suites.