Embracing the boundless freedom of the open road, our Editor in Chief, Laura Bartlett, embarked on an exhilarating road trip that will forever be etched in her memory.

Picture her, with the wind in her hair and the tunes echoing through the open car windows, as she set out on an unforgettable adventure with the roof down, embracing the exhilarating feeling of the open sky above.

Join us as she recounts the captivating tale of her journey, a road trip that unfolded into an extraordinary odyssey through the heart of the British Isles…

The Road Untraveled: Laura’s Solo Expedition Across the British Isles

In a whirlwind adventure spanning three blissful days, I embarked on a captivating road trip, exploring the hidden gems of the British Isles. My journey began at the enchanting Sopwell House, a luxurious haven nestled amidst the serene Hertfordshire countryside.

From there, I ventured to the idyllic Talbooth House and Spa, before concluding my expedition at the exquisite The Athanaeum in the heart of London.

Each destination, a unique masterpiece, was a part of the prestigious PoB Hotels collection, offering an unparalleled experience of luxury and tranquility.

Discovering PoB Hotels: Crafting Bespoke Road Trips and Unveiling Unique Experiences

PoB Hotels, a symbol of luxury and sophistication, meticulously curates a selection of the finest independent hotels across the British Isles.

Each property, handpicked with meticulous care, represents the essence of refinement and exclusivity, combining unparalleled comfort with unmatched hospitality. What sets PoB Hotels apart is their dedication to providing personalised experiences, allowing travellers to create bespoke road trips tailored to their desires.

With the foundation laid by POB Hotels’ commitment to personalised experiences, I took the reins and crafted my own bespoke road trip, tailoring every aspect to cater to my specific needs and desires.

Guided by the promise to open doors to inspiration, what PoB Hotels stands for, I meticulously designed an itinerary that resonated with my longing for unique and immersive encounters.

Day One: Embracing Tranquility at Sopwell House Mews Suites

As I stepped into the tranquil embrace of Sopwell House Mews Suites, I was instantly captivated by the blend of classic Georgian elegance and the intimate charm of a family-run retreat. Nestled within 12 acres of lush landscapes, meticulously designed by the RHS Chelsea gold medallist Ann-Marie Powell, this sanctuary became my home for the first leg of my journey.

Sopwell House, renowned as a popular wedding venue and spa destination, offered more than just accommodation; it was a symphony of natural beauty, luxury, and hospitality.

The landscaped gardens, a testament to Powell’s artistry, unfolded before my eyes, adding an extra layer of enchantment to my stay. Each corner of this oasis whispered tales of romance, making it a perfect backdrop for weddings, while the spa facilities promised rejuvenation and relaxation, making it a coveted destination for spa enthusiasts, like me.

In this idyllic setting, my bespoke road trip took on an ethereal quality, making every moment spent here a cherished memory.

Arriving at Dusk: A Serenade of Sunset and Solitude

Upon my arrival at the Mews Suites at Sopwell House, the golden hues of the setting sun painted the sky, casting a warm, enchanting glow over the surroundings. As I checked in, I felt an immediate sense of tranquility, knowing that I was about to embark on a truly unparalleled experience.

The timing was perfect; right as the sun dipped below the horizon, I found myself in the embrace of privacy and seclusion. With the keys to my suite in hand, I ventured into the private garden, where my eyes met a sight of pure bliss.

A personal hot tub nestled amidst the verdant foliage awaited me. As I stepped into the warm water, I was enveloped by the soothing jets, melting away the remnants of travel fatigue.

Surrounded by nature and serenity, I marvelled at the sky, tinged with hues of orange and pink, witnessing a symphony of colours as day transformed into night.

In this blissful solitude, I cherished a moment that was entirely mine. The gentle evening breeze kissed my skin, and the ambient sounds of the countryside provided a melodic backdrop to my thoughts. It was a pause, a stolen moment of quiet indulgence under the vast canvas of the evening sky.

The magic didn’t end there. Retreating to the interior of my suite, I found myself captivated by the elegant feature fireplaces, the lavish four-poster bed inviting me to unwind, and the luxurious in-room bath promising more pampering moments ahead.

The self-sufficient high-end kitchenette was a delightful surprise, granting me the freedom to craft culinary delights or simply revel in the comfort of my own space.

As I soaked in the ambiance of my sanctuary, I realised that this bespoke road trip had gifted me not just a journey through the British Isles but a collection of moments, each more enchanting than the last.

Culinary Delights at Omboo: A Gastronomic Journey through Asian Spice Routes

Dining at Omboo, the culinary jewel of Sopwell House, was an exquisite experience that tantalised both the taste buds and the senses. As I settled into the vibrant atmosphere, I was enveloped in the brilliant vibe of the place, an ambiance that encouraged relaxation and genuine enjoyment.

As someone who chooses sobriety, I appreciated the thoughtful touch of a ginger ale served in a wine glass, perfectly complementing the fragrant Asian flavours that filled the air.

Inspired by the spice routes of Asia and the Far East, Omboo offered a unique culinary journey, where sharing was not just a dining style but a philosophy. The menu, a vibrant tapestry of mouthwatering creations, was served in a sharing style, allowing me to explore a variety of fragrant Asian flavours.

The black cod, delicate and perfectly cooked, melted in my mouth, while the sushi, fresh and expertly crafted, offered a delightful contrast of textures. Each bite was a revelation, a celebration of the diverse and bold flavours inspired by the spice routes.

Dining solo at Omboo transformed into a delightful experience of camaraderie with the welcoming staff, who embraced me with genuine warmth. They not only ensured my dining experience was exceptional but also played the role of companions, making me feel like I was among good friends.

The staff went above and beyond, even capturing the moment by taking a photo of me, allowing me to cherish the memory of this exceptional experience.

Omboo offered more than just a meal; it was a celebration of culinary artistry and the joy of savouring life’s finer moments, shared in the company of kind-hearted individuals.

My time at Omboo was a testament to the innovative spirit of Sopwell House, where every dish served was a masterpiece, and every moment shared was infused with the spirit of exploration and delight.

Exclusive Amenities and Tranquil Ambiance

During my stay, the communal garden area became my sanctuary, where I could lose myself in the serenity of nature. The Hydro Pool, with its inviting waters, became my haven of relaxation, melting away the stresses of everyday life.

As a guest of the Mews Suites, I had complimentary access to all the Spa facilities at Sopwell House, including The Club at Cottonmill. The new Spa Gardens, Deep Relaxation Room, Whisper Room, and Garden Room were meticulously designed spaces offering cutting-edge fitness experiences and world-class treatments by renowned British brands.

Everywhere I turned, tranquility permeated, turning my stay into a blissful retreat. One thing I can assert with absolute certainty is that no description, be it the content on their website or the photos shared by guests on social media, truly captures the essence of Sopwell House.

To say my experience at Sopwell House Mews Suites was unforgettable would be an understatement. It was a serene getaway where luxury knew no bounds and relaxation was truly an art form.

As my stay at Sopwell House concluded, my road trip was far from over.

Stay tuned for my adventures at Talbooth House and Spa and The Athanaeum, as I continue my enchanting three-day journey through the heart of the British Isles.

Head over to plan your own PoB Break, and discover PoB Hotels’ bespoke itineraries.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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