On the doorstep of London, just outside St Albans you’ll find Sopwell House. With over 300 years of history set amongst 12 acres of relaxing Hertfordshire countryside, this country house hotel has 128 rooms and suites for a wonderfully relaxing mini-break. As you walk through the hotel corridors you’ll find shirts from international and premier league football teams adorning the walls, signed to the hotel to mark their stay and showing that they know how to look after VIP guests.
On a rainy Wednesday we pulled up to Sopwell House, entering into the glass, Grand Design esq lobby which blends modern hotel design with the aesthetics of a country house hotel. It’s where the beautiful interior design first shows off its tricks. Sumptuous, relaxing and tasteful.
We are show to one of the private Mews Suites, a short stroll from the main hotel. We scan our card at the entrance and two gates open, think Jurassic Park but without the dinosaurs, into a beautifully landscaped garden created by RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Gold award winner Ann-Marie Powell. A water feature greets us as we wander past the hot-tub and lounging areas, exclusively for those in the Mews Suites. This luxury development within the hotel is a walled garden of luxury.
We opened our private gate, past our private outdoor seating area and entered our room, The Orchid Suite. Again the design here is everything, we’d have happily taken home a style guide to try get the look at our own flat. A huge bed greeted us, flatscreen TV with Sky Plus, fancy coffee, a fireplace that ignites at the touch of a button, everything felt sculpted to create the ultimate cosy room, from the soft furnishings to underfloor heating in the surprisingly large bathroom.
We could’ve ensconced ourselves in the room for days but there was more of the hotel to explore including its two bars, two restaurants and spa complete with 14.5 metre swimming pool and gym. We walked around the grounds, finding our way due to a lack of signposting. There seemed to be a lack of information about the gorgeous grounds which was a shame as it’s a truly beautiful part of England.
As is so often the way when relaxing in luxury time quickly passed and we found ourselves in the imaginatively named. The Restaurant. Relaxed and sophisticated head chef Gopi Chandran has picked up two AA Rosettes and upon tasting the food it’s easy to see why. A selection of amuse bouches arrived swiftly including a sumptuous parmesan custard and the French inspired menu included a strong selection of tasty dishes. The Escabeche of Cornish Mackerel was a light and refreshing started, the Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly with Cider Jus was melt in the mouth delicious and at £39.50 pp for three courses mid-week it is an incredible bargain.
Bellies full, comfort at optimum levels we found ourselves back in our little home away from home drifting off to the most blissful of sleeps, and at the end of the day, what more do you want from a luxury hotel than the feeling of relaxation.