Set on a 470-acre estate in the Surrey Hills, Beaverbrook offers a bucolic escape for the modern bon vivant. With a history as beguiling as its spa is impressive, this luxurious country house hotel makes us wish walls could talk…
Standing proud amid the Surrey Hills just 20 miles from London, Beaverbrook could tell tales for days thanks to its most famous former resident, Lord Beaverbrook, a politician, publicist and close confidante of Winston Churchill, who famously said of his controversial ally, "Some people take drugs, I take Max".
Hosting a little black book of high society throughout the 20th century - the wartime PM, Rudyard Kipling and Ian Fleming among them - Beaverbook has today been reimagined as a sumptuous country house hotel which continues to attract the beautiful (but probably fewer damned) for a weekend of bucolic luxury.
Throw in striking contemporary artwork, a Japanese restaurant and an impressive spa, and there is little reason not to recommend Beaverbrook for a quintessential out-of-town escape. It's no surprise that it's become a go-to getaway among aspirational southerners.
We slept in the main building, where 18 classically decorated rooms - think floral headboards with sweeping curtains to match, oak dressing tables, Narnia-esque wardrobes, large fireplaces, chintz lampshades and standalone bathtubs - are each named after esteemed guests.
Families should head to the suites in the Coach House for interconnecting rooms and a pet-friendly stay, while the 11 rooms in the Garden House are the place for a homely weekend enjoying England's pastures green.
What's for breakfast?
Taken in the pretty ground-floor dining room with seemingly endless views over the rolling hills, the breakfast menu offers spruced up versions of the usual suspects such as poached duck egg with avocado or Dorset porridge with berry compote, alongside a selection of cold-pressed juices.
How about lunch and dinner?
The Japanese restaurant in the main house is a nod to Beaverbrook becoming a definitively 21st-century stay. It may sound incongruous having an Asian restaurant in an English country hotel, but it is undeniably good.
Let staff guide you through a menu featuring tacos, seafood tempura and sushi before turning your attention to the robata and Josper grill for black cod or wagyu beef, followed by yuzu meringue pie.
There is also an Anglo-Italian restaurant at the Garden House, offering seasonal plates of pasta, risotto and fish of the day as well as a glorious afternoon tea.
If you're after a light bite, head to the deli in the Coach House.
Is there a bar?
Yes, the Parrot Bar must've been one of the most Instagrammed drinking parlours of the past year. This 1920s darling is all dusky-pink walls, topaz-blue velvet bar stools, ornamental bird cages, jewel-toned cushions and an impressive art-deco bar, at which you should make like Gatsby et al. and order a mint julep.
The spa is exceptional, featuring indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, as well as various rooms offering conventional treatments and those more unusual (we had a rather eye-opening naturotherapy consultation). There are also plenty of snug enclaves, should you wish to relax with a book.
Things I should know
The hotel offers a range of entertainment and activities such as croquet, petanque, fishing, clay-pigeon shooting and cookery classes.
Within a short walk I can find…
It's a 470-acre estate... pack a picnic and get exploring.