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

Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own