24-Hour Room Service: Lucknam Park, Chippenham, Wiltshire

Lucknam Park stands majestically at the end of an improbably long avenue of lime and beech trees. During the Second World War they were deployed as camouflage for parked Spitfires, although Lucknam's history goes back much further than that. It is a grand Palladian house – too homely to be called a mansion – that somehow looks as though there was a coherent grand design, but there wasn't.

A wealthy Bristolian called James Wallis built the central part of the house with the fortune he made from importing 7,000lb of tobacco from Virginia to England in 1680, and I rather hoped to spot his ghost puffing away in defiance of the hotel's strict no-smoking policy.

Of the many reasons to go to Lucknam, not a few involve physical exertion – its 500 acres of spectacular grounds offer wonderful walks, and there is a widely admired equestrian centre. But my wife and I holed up indoors, lingering for hours over Sunday lunch in the country-house genteel surroundings of The Park restaurant. Lunch, which cost us £35 per person for three courses, was irreproachably sourced from local producers, hence some slightly disconcerting name-checks on the menu.

I had "slow-cooked Burford Brown egg, truffled baby artichokes and leeks, Parmesan and Richard Vine's shoots" followed by "sirloin of Tim Johnson beef" – all credit for Messrs Vine and Johnson for their excellent shoots and top-notch beef.

The Park also has a fantastic wine list, brandished by a French sommelier whose effervescence, had it come in a bottle, would have soaked not just our table but all tables nearby. "Peach, lychees, apricot, it is, as you say in England, top banana," he enthused about our choice of white wine. And when we selected a glass each of dessert wine he bounced over like Tigger to explain that it came from "shrinkled grapes".

Captivated by him, and by a palpable feeling that cutlery had clattered through the ages in this room (the cheese trolley looked as though it had seen action in the Crimea), we took so long over lunch that we left scarcely any time to digest it all before heading to the spa for our late-afternoon massages. In fact I had a horrible feeling that when the masseuse started on my abdominal muscles, she might have been able to identify Richard Vine's shoots. My wife, sensibly, had a facial.

The spa, at the back of a charming walled garden, opened only last November, and is incredibly swanky, very hi-tech and minimalist without looking like a Swiss sanatorium, as these places can. It also has an adjoining brasserie with a wood-fired pizza oven, not that we thought we'd need to eat for another 48 hours. However, of course we demolished room-service sandwiches that night followed by a huge breakfast the next morning, served by our favourite waitress, who came from Germany and pressed us to try a "smurfy", which we took to be another local Wiltshire speciality until she came back with a smoothie.

LOCATION

Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham, Wilts (01225 742777; lucknampark.co.uk ). The hotel is six miles north-east of Bath, outside the village of Colerne, just off the A4 between Bath and Chippenham. Once there a car is scarcely necessary.

Time from nearest mainline station: Bath is easily accessible by train (0845 748 4950; nationalrail.co.uk ) and a taxi from Bath Spa station costs between £17-£20.

COMFORTABLE?

Goodness me, yes. We were upgraded to the fabulous Tower Suite, which is one of only two so-called grand master suites, and has an opulent marble bathroom big and splendid enough to hold a G8 summit.

In the bedroom, a television the size of a small cinema screen rose out of a reproduction bureau, once we'd found the right button to press.

There wasn't anything on telly worth watching, but it was nice to watch the TV going up and down.

Standard and de-luxe rooms are smaller versions of the same thing, full of conventional country-house frills with a few slick nods to the 21st century. They are all decorated differently.

Freebies: Anne Semonin soaps, shampoos and beauty products. And lots of lovely fruit.

Keeping in touch: There is complimentary Wi-Fi in every room, and a computer with a printer available for the use of guests. But surely the point of going to Lucknam is not keeping in touch.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Tower Suite starts at £950 per night, room only. Standard rooms cost from £280, room only. Or you can take a mid-week break, styled a Luxury Escape, which costs £345 per night for two people sharing a standard room for a minimum of two nights, and includes full English breakfast, a one-hour spa treatment for two, as well as champagne and chocolates on arrival.

I'm not paying that: Try the Methuen Arms Hotel (01249 714867; methuenarms.co.uk ) in nearby Corsham – where the Duke of Edinburgh used to play skittles when he was a trainee naval officer stationed nearby. It offers double bedrooms from £75. The price includes a full English breakfast.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style