Berkshire hotel review: Inspector thinks The Retreat at Elcot Park near Newbury will be a hit
Despite being woken at 8am by two diggers building the outdoor pool and breakfast service being “painfully slow”, the inspector believes this Berkshire hotel will be a success.
- The Retreat at Elcot Park is midway between Newbury and Hungerford
- It has 55 rooms, two restaurants, an elegant spa, a wine shop, a bakery and a coffee shop.
- Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is
There is a specially commissioned map in the reception area. It has the new Retreat at Elcot Park in West Berkshire at its centre, with sister hotel The Miter at Hampton Court to the east, and will soon show the group’s latest acquisition at Rutland Water.
Suffice to say, Hector Ross’s Signet collection is on a roll; its Canadian backer blowing the cash in admirable, recession-defying ways.
The Retreat, halfway between Newbury and Hungerford, is a huge undertaking. In addition to the 55 rooms (the house belonged to Lady Shelley, mother of Percy the poet, and was later a dilapidated Mercure hotel), there are two restaurants, an elegant spa with hydro-pool, gym and salt flotation tank (which will open next weekend); a wine shop, bakery and cafe, hair salon and nail bar (all open Wednesdays), and 16 acres of land.
The inspector calls The Retreat, halfway between Newbury and Hungerford. ‘In addition to the 55 rooms, there are two restaurants, an elegant spa with a whirlpool, gym and salt flotation tank (opening next weekend); a wine shop, a bakery and cafe, a hair salon and nail bar (all open on Wednesdays), and 16 acres of land,” he explains.
Arriving last Friday, an open fire burns in the hallway, in front of a huge dog basket. original art; portraits on the wall next to the wide stairs; splashes of colour.
‘Would you like a glass of wine?’ asks a friendly meet-and-greet man who then carries our bags into the room, which has garish wallpaper, a striped headboard, and an antique chest of drawers.
All arrivals are offered a complimentary drink, a generous touch after enduring Smart Motorway works on the M4.
An image of The Retreat’s elegant Sutton Suite. Doubles are £180 B&B
The Retreat at Elcot Park, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG20 8NJ.
Tel: 01635 800520 or visit retreatelcotpark.com.
The Orangery dining room is unfinished, so we eat in 1772 (the year the original house was built), where there is a long, cozy bar. But it’s too bright and the pianist is playing too loud.
I have no complaints about the food. Some of the pan-Asian dishes have migrated to the other side of the room, which is not a bad thing. The ‘crispy cauliflower popcorn’ with teriyaki and soy, and the Japanese spatchcock chicken are excellent.
We are woken up at 8am by two diggers building the outdoor pool and thought it would be wise not to charge full price (£240 in our case) while part of the garden is still under construction.
Breakfast service is terribly slow. Teething problems, no doubt, and I suspect any problems will soon be ironed out by the young and ambitious Mr Ross, and The Retreat will become a huge hit, both with the locals and with the wealthy Londoners who may arrive from the capital in less than 90 minutes. minutes.