There’s Something for Everyone at a British Country House
The country house is a quintessential part of the British landscape. But the country house hotel is a more modern innovation than you might think.
Take a drive in the Great British countryside and you won’t be able to go for long without seeing a looming country house that looks to have been plucked straight out of a Jane Austen novel. It is as much a part of the nation’s landscape as the pub, duckpond and village green.
Of course, in Austen’s day, you were either one of the “haves,” who took such style and opulence for granted, or the “have nots,” who could only dream of what life was like in the big house. Today, however, things have changed and houses like this beautiful country house hotel in Hertfordshire have opened their doors to allow guests to spend a few days in the lap of luxury.
A 20th century innovation
Given that properties like this often have a history that goes back hundreds of years, it might come as a surprise to learn that the first hotel of this kind opened for business as recently as 1949. Francis Coulson, who must have been seen as the Alan Sugar of his generation, leased a dilapidated Victorian Villa in the Lake District, refurbished it on a shoestring budget and let his flair for hospitality and fine dining do the rest.
Before you could say coq au vin, other owners of stately residences who were struggling to make ends meet in the post war years, saw the potential in what Coulson was doing. Today, there are hundreds of country houses, each with their own unique character and offerings, to choose from.
Thus, while the houses might be old, the concept is relatively innovative, and this is reflected in the broad range of activities and experiences that are available.
Old world luxury
The single thing that all country house hotels have in common is style and luxury in a beautiful country setting. From the moment you drive through the gates, it is like being transported to another time. Most have extensive and well maintained grounds that are perfect for afternoon tea on the lawn or perhaps a gentle game of croquet.
Moving indoors, no two country houses are the same. Each has its unique rooms and features and, more importantly, its own story to tell.
Any time of year
The beauty of this sort of getaway is that it is something the English climate cannot spoil, and is a perfect idea for a winter break. What can be better on a cold winter’s night than to sit with your loved one in opulent surroundings before a roaring fire, secure from the biting wind and driving rain outside?
Some modern pampering
Just because the house is old, you are not restricted to fireside storytelling to while away the hours, fun though that might be. Most country house hotels combine the old fashioned style and hospitality with modern service offerings such as a health club, spa and gym, as well as the all important WiFi, just in case you want to stay in touch with the outside world!