Hotel Of The Week: Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire

Slap bang in the middle of London's commuter belt is a country pile fit for a king. Literally. For Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire was once home to an exiled Louis XVIII...

Louis XVIII slept here - what more do you need to know? After all, there can be few better recommendations than a royal seal of approval. Two hundred years on, Hartwell House, a 17th-century stately home in the Vale of Aylesbury, still offers truly grand lodgings.

A Grade I-listed building, it is set within 90 acres of parkland originally laid out by James Gibbs and later revamped by Richard Woods, a disciple of Capability Brown. The work of both men can still be seen.

The house itself reveals both Jacobean and Georgian influences, and in the public rooms - the great hall and morning, drawing and dining rooms - guests can admire the exquisite decorative plasterwork and panelling, fine paintings and antique furniture.

The comfort factor

Pass through the dramatic great hall and up the sweeping staircase (with its rather eerie Jacobean carved figures) to 28 of the main house's 33 spacious bedrooms and suites. All are elegant, light and bright, with high ceilings and large windows and a busy mix of fine fabrics and furniture. You could lose your loved one in the huge, squidgy bed. (Some rooms have four-posters.) Homemade shortbread and a selection of fruit add that personal touch, while TV and DVD (with free film hire) bring facilities bang up to date. A further 16 rooms are housed in Hartwell Court, a former riding school. And the recently renovated Old Rectory adds another four bedrooms within the grounds.

The bathroom

Not quite as special as the bedrooms, but they serve their purpose. Regulation fluffy white bathrobes are supplied; Penhaligon is the choice of toiletries.

The food and drink

Delicious seasonal menus feature dishes such as poached fillet of brill with lemon grass, noisettes of Chiltern Valley lamb, and stuffed saddle of rabbit. The service is impeccable, though, chaps, you will be greeted a little frostily if you aren't wearing a jacket. The three-course set menu costs £38 per person without wine. An à la carte menu is newly available.

The people

These days, exiled kings don't visit so often, but there is still an air of wealth about the crowd - well-bred and well-dressed in country tweed.

The area

Just a short walk from the main house is the Hartwell Spa, which houses a good-sized swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, small but well-equipped gymnasium and treatment rooms. The grounds contain two all-weather tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a lake, a spectacular Gothic church and many fine examples of 18th-century statuary. Waddesdon Manor, home of the Rothschild family, is around the corner, as are Woburn Abbey and Blenheim Palace.

The access

Full wheelchair access. Children over the age of eight are welcome - but they are rare. Dogs can stay in Hartwell Court.

The damage

Double rooms cost from £280 per night. Hartwell Court offers suites from £380 per night. All prices include a continental breakfast. Until the end of August, the hotel is offering a one-night Ruinart Summer Break for £300, including accommodation in a double room with dinner and breakfast, and half a bottle of Ruinart Brut Rosé champagne. The price goes up to £340 on Saturdays.

The address

Hartwell House, Oxford Road, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP17 8NR (0800-089 3929; pride ofbritainhotels.com).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
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

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice