Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons needs no introduction.
As arguably the most iconic gastronomic destination in the entirety of the UK, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel is on everyone’s bucket list – and if it isn’t on yours, I’m confident it will be by the time you reach the end of this article.
Since having a baby last year, I’ve begrudgingly accepted that ‘nights away’ will never be the same again, which is exactly why we decided to ship our beloved offspring to the grandparents and enjoy some much-needed respite at one of the UK’s most exquisite hotels.
Blanc’s French-inspired Oxfordshire manor house was the most welcome retreat for this pair of frazzled parents seeking plush accommodation for a rare lie-in, incredible food we could actually savour without interruption and beautiful grounds for a buggy-free meander. Thankfully, Le Manoir offered it all – and then some.
We felt the tension leave our bodies as we drove up to the postcard-perfect, quintessentially British manor house with immaculately manicured lawns and Japanese ornamental gardens. The staff are incredibly welcoming and surprisingly unpretentious. We were led straight to our room, Blanc de Blanc, a serene one bedroom garden suite located in the Garden Courtyard, which takes inspiration from Raymond’s travels around France. With its natural white textures, fresh orchids, ornate mirrors, 17th and 18th century furniture with classic armoires and drapes, and Branche d’Olive toiletries, our room was quintessentially Provençal. As you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre, every detail is high-end, be it the Dyson hairdryer, complimentary melt-in-the-mouth lemon cake or flat screen TV in (yes, in) the bath.
If wellness is your jam, Le Manoir offers a range of amenities and activities that can be incorporated into your stay to curate the perfect, personalised retreat such as traditional meditative tea in the tranquil Japanese Garden, yoga mats in each room to allow guests to unwind and recentre, in-room treatments including facials, massages, reflexology and health boosting IV drips in partnership with digital beauty concierge, Ruuby, and an extensive pillow menu to be tailored to guests’ preferences and sleeping positions (yes, really).
Following a suitable soak in the roll top marble tub, we enjoyed an early evening tipple in the winter dome, which makes for the perfect Instagram feed fodder and a fantastically festive experience. The twinkling fairy lights adorning the winding pathway leading to the dome itself are reminiscent of a trip to Narnia (or what I’d imagine it to be). Inside the dome, you’ll find cosy tartan blankets to wrap up in, a roaring fire, cards, magazines and – I save the best ‘til last – mulled wine on tap. After a few competitive, mulled wine-fuelled rounds of Sevens, we made our way into the main house for our dining experience.