Escape the big smoke this autumn with a relaxing weekend away at the historic Down Hall Hotel
Words Joy Montgomery
DOWN HALL HOTEL
Dating back to 1322, the historic Down Hall Country House Hotel and Spa makes a striking first impression. Sitting on 110 acres of gardens and woodland near Bishop’s Stortford, the hotel is only 45 minutes from central London, so ideal for a weekend away.
Embracing the traditional opulence of manor house style, the recently re-furbished hotel offers romance in abundance – chandeliers, oil paintings and decadent furnishings aplenty – alongside all the mod cons and comforts of a contemporary hotel. Our modern yet cosy room (one of the hotel’s 99) is a peaceful sanctuary, with a luxurious marble-clad bathroom and views over the stunning gardens.
The rooms are clearly the standout feature of the refurb and we enjoy the expert balance of traditional heritage fabrics and classic wooden furniture with design-led accents and plush comforts.
The brand new Eden Spa is one of the highlights of the weekend. Compact yet beautifully designed, facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room, wellness power showers, relaxation and treatment rooms. After sampling each of the spa’s areas, we opt for the back, face and scalp treatment with hot stones: a decadent 90 minute treatment with the spa’s expert beauty therapist. We are quickly transported to blissful realms of relaxation.
The Grill Room is the hotel’s AA Rosette awarded restaurant specialising in Anglo French cuisine. Despite being slightly distracted by the restaurant’s placing (next to a busy thoroughfare intermittently filled with passing wedding guests) we were blown away by the food. Highlights included an octopus carpaccio starter with burnt lemon mayonnaise, a main of pork belly with mash, butternut, quince, sprout leaves and crackling, and a beautifully presented pudding of milk chocolate delice.