Review; The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire – a tale of luxury

At times we need a getaway without the hassle of having to leave the country. To be at home but not at home. The Grove, London’s Country Estate is the perfect place for a weekend UK break in the charming Hertfordshire countryside. A short train ride from the centre of London, this trendy spa hotel offers an idyllic break for those yearning to escape life for a couple of days.

Driving along the winding driveway and over a tiny bridge towards the Grade II-listed building is an enchanting experience, not least because the only light visible for miles is the one illuminating the hotel. Concierge helps you out of your car, carrying your luggage into a marble lobby where staff appear as if from nowhere to tend to your every need. A welcoming, friendly and princely atmosphere is present from the moment you cross the threshold, reminding guests why Queen Victoria ventured here for weekend breaks.

The grounds

The 18th Century redbrick mansion house sits on 300 acres of lush, green landscape comprised of babbling rivers, rolling hills, woodland and an immaculate luxury golf course. Fill your lungs with fresh, countryside air while spending a few days relaxing in this 5-star destination. Don’t be alarmed to see wildlife roaming the grounds (no, not the tall hedge shaped like a giraffe) as these are regulars at The Grove and have come to call it home. In an effort to bring the hotel and the wildlife surrounding it into an even more harmonious relationship, The Grove has partnered with Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust to create a series of events showcasing the beautiful wildlife that calls The Grove home.

The rooms

Rooms in the main house are classic and ideal for a romantic getaway, while those in the more contemporary West Wing blend together classic features with modern twists. The dark velvet curtains lining the walls of the corridors create an ever-sultry vibe. Throughout the hotel, traditional features are jazzed-up with a splash of contemporary interior design, eccentric art and bespoke pieces, while hidden gems make for a surprise at almost every turn – keep your eyes peeled for the sandy beach and outdoor heated pool in the Walled Garden (they’re difficult to miss!).

Our room in the West Wing, with its modern four-poster bed, mustard sofa and deluxe bathroom, featuring luxury ESPA products looked onto a small, perfectly groomed courtyard through preserved Georgian windows – better yet, there was the added bonus of an ideally situated window seat for people-watching.

The restaurants

While staying at The Grove we dined at Colette’s, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. Greeted at the door by a charming Irish man named Tadgh, we were guided through a cosy, candlelit bar. Dark wooden and stone features gave the bar a private cellar-feel, while the restaurant itself is more of an understated dining room. The two are quite different in terms of atmosphere, but it works.

A running theme of sustainability and fresh, handpicked and homemade food exists throughout all of The Grove’s dining options but is championed by Colette’s. Chef Russell Bateman, resident chef of Colette’s since 2009, has brought 3 AA Rosettes to the restaurant and is no stranger to using local produce in his delicious creations. He executes beautiful, bold plates using the freshest of ingredients from the hotel’s walled garden. We opted for the à la carte menu and were overwhelmed by the amount of food (there were a few sneaky but oh-so tasty surprise dishes), but a large table next to us was tucking into the Prestige Wine Pairing menu which looked absolutely divine. Don’t miss out on the Inaya Chocolate Dome dessert – cameras and spoons at the ready!

Now, new for 2018, Russell has launched a carefully curated vegan ‘Nature Menu’ designed for all, and inspired by an increasing trend for plant-based dining. After listening to his diners, and experiencing first hand this change in mentality, the carefully created tasting menu, with seven new plant-based dishes, offers an imaginative selection of delicious and perfectly proportioned options, that are so often missing on restaurant menus. Amongst the dishes is the Kohlrabi Tagliatelle with Quorn, Carrot Ragu and Pine Nut Pesto, as well as Potato and Truffle Dumplings with Barbequed Leek, Tofu Sauce and Chive Oil.

Other dining options at The Grove include The Stable for those who enjoy gastro-pub fare, The Glasshouse for a feasting buffet and a regal afternoon tea offering in The Lounges. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast in bed, which is our favourite weekend dining option!

The spa

All guests are welcomed – and actually encouraged – to make full use of the Sequoia’s facilities for optimum relaxation during their stay. The spa offers an extensive menu of revitalising Natura Bissé and ESPA treatments. If you don’t have time to enjoy a spa day with the specialist therapists, spend the morning chilling in the striking black mosaic-tiled, indoor swimming pool or the poolside jacuzzi (another fabulous people-watching hotspot!)

The environment

New for 2018, a dedicated ‘Green Team’ is now on hand to ensure that alongside it’s sleek and stylish guest rooms, restaurants, bars and seriously spoiling spa, The Grove is not just a luxurious retreat, but one with a conscious culture – a place where luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. The group launched to share ideas, discuss progress and help implement new initiatives across Housekeeping, Food and Beverage, the Spa and Front of House. Training the other staff is also a key part of the programme, in a bid to further amplify their existing ethos to ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’.

All in all, a stay at The Grove is likely to propel you into a stupor of relaxation, as well as heighten your expectations for future hotel visits. A night at The Grove is more than just a hotel stay, however, it’s an experience. From the finer details that may go unnoticed by some, like the Green Team, to the elaborate offerings like Colette’s specially sourced vintage wine collection, The Grove leaves no page in the book of luxury hotels unturned because it has written the tale as time has passed.  A tale that seems so familiar to even new guests, it feels just like coming home.

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Thank you to The Grove for hosting us, we can’t wait to visit the hotel again as it’s definitely one of our favourites in the U.K.

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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