The hotel: More hamlet than hotel Le Manoir has grown into a beautiful haven of cream stone and manicured gardens.
The room we stayed in: The Arabesque suite was as luxurious as you could want a suite to be. With a sitting room, equipped with comfy sofas, up to the minute magazines, bottled water, fruit, chocolates and sugared almonds all on offer.
The bed: a full superking-sized bed with all manner of lighting gizmos to create different moods. These I found were easier to operate before the wine and the cocktails.
Bedding: 400 thread count sheets and pillowslips. Down or anti allergic duvet and pillows can be requested. There is a small vial of mist provided to spritz your pillows
Noise: I think we were last to bed and heard nothing until we woke in the morning.
Absolute peace and quiet.
Light: See above. You could set the mood lighting in the room and there were lots of heavy curtains to create a womb-like atmosphere.
Clean?: Spotless with a super shiny bathroom
Bathroom: Mirrored throughout with tiny floor lights that come on as you walk in. I might have preferred not to have seen my 25 year old body reflected in all those mirrors but the feeling of wanton luxury was undeniable. There was a TV at the end of the bath, a separate shower cubicle and double basins.
There was a pretty cotton embroidered drawstring bag in which to take home your soap plus his and hers slippers in cotton bags too.
Other reasons to stay:
Raymond Blanc has been running the restaurant here since 1977 and the hotel since 1984. An early example of the country house hotel it still sets the benchmark for luxury and hospitality. The many, many staff are friendly, helpful and in no way obsequious.
The Michelin-starred restaurant has a variety of set menus, My advice is to choose from the a la carte section as the many extra courses can soon fill up even the most avid trencherman.
Don’t leave before breakfast. It is truly splendid with a large buffet selection offering such rarities as freshly squeezed pomegranate juice plus table service for the small but perfectly balance hot dishes.
There are lovely gardens to walk through, a Japanese teahouse to explore, Raymond’s greenhouse is open to you, the kitchen garden burgeons with produce and the many sculptures that dot the grounds add elements of surprise as you wander. There are bicycles to borrow should you feel more energetic.
The cost, which means this will have to be a rare treat.
Cost: As they say of yachts, if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it …. Rooms start at £500.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford.