REVIEW: STOKE PLACE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE | ESCAPE THE CITY AND RETURN WITH CLARITY
After weeks tied to my corporate responsibilities in zone 1, I decided to book a weekend away to Stoke Place, a delightfully historical country house set against a backdrop of luscious natural beauty. Thirty minutes from Central London and easily accessible by train / Uber, this country house hotel is an excellent option for those who wish to experience the countryside vibes without the excruciatingly hot journey down several monotonous motorways.
The historical mansion house was originally built as a family home by royal chef Patrick Lamb in 1690, after earning his fortune cooking extravagant feasts for the British royals and aristocracy. Fast forward to 2018 and the country house now features an effortless combination of modern luxury and classical style for guests to enjoy all year round. Nature lovers will fall in love with the property's sweeping gardens, constructed by legendary landscape designer, Capability Brown, at the height of his career.
With twenty eight acres estate of stunning parkland, the house and grounds are a sight for sore eyes from the moment you enter the pristine and expansive drive way. Those with a penchant for period dramas / classic novels will get the 'Pemberley shivers' upon arrival - utterly delicious! With thirty nine unique and beautifully decorated bedrooms as well as wedding and event facilities, this is an ideal destination for weddings, conferences, business trips and romantic weekend breaks.
After my quick and easy check in with friendly hotel staff, I entered a bright and beautiful second floor bedroom with high ceilings, a four poster bed and a free-standing bath with views of the garden and lake beyond. I was pleasantly surprised by the neutral decor (I am not partial to a barrage of quaint / noisy patterns) and later discovered the joys of such a wonderful bathing spot.
Being a sunshine hedonist, I wasted no time in my room and found my way to the terrace for a G&T, notepad in hand. A group of businessmen were discussing their latest deal on the table next to mine and I decided to call my business partner to comb through one of our new and exciting projects. Perhaps it is the peace and quiet, or maybe it is down to the grandeur of the setting that productivity is rife down on the lawn?
Dinner time soon arrived, prompting me to trade my notepad for a large glass of Merlot and a 3 course dinner in the country-inspired-but-extremely-modern-and-fabulous dining room. I had the pleasure of being served by a staff member who wowed me with stories of South African adventure, survival tips and historical knowledge of the brilliant county of Bucks. Service like this is one thing that keeps people returning to Stoke Place time and time again.
Never quite ready to fall asleep at 10pm, I headed to The Butterfly Bar in search of a cigar and some aged whisky on the rocks (my countryside excursion must-have). The bar is decked out with stylish and colourful design notes, an extensive drinks menu and various comfortable seating arrangements. Large bay windows allow sun and starlight to flood into the room and the outdoor terrace is a great spot for drinks and alfresco dining when the British weather permits.
It was an absolute delight to spend some time on the peaceful lawn, star-gazing in a Montecristo / Glenmorangie haze of joy. The calmness that Stoke Place emits is second to none and suitably atmospheric.
I returned to my room and enjoyed a bath with a herbal tea and a Napoleon Hill novel for company, whilst engaging in a spot of indoor stargazing (something you may only find yourself doing a handful of times in this life). This successfully triggered a peaceful night's sleep and when the morning came, I was feeling calm for the first time in weeks. One night at Stoke Place brought me all the mental clarity I needed to successfully implement some fresh inspiration and new found ideas upon my return to London.
I would like to extend a genuine thank you to Stoke Place and team for reminding me that the regional counties are beyond beautiful and very much worth exploring. City folk are gently encouraged to pause in the chaos to breathe in new life and are encouraged to appreciate fresh, locally grown ingredients in a romantic countryside setting.
"Those shining stars, he liked to point out, were one of the special treats for people like us who lived out in the wilderness. Rich city folks, he'd say, lived in fancy apartments, but their air was so polluted they couldn't even see the stars. We'd have to be out of our minds to want to trade places with any of them." — Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle