West Lodge Park Hotel
I can't remember the last time I drove down such a magnificent drive, certainly never one that has led me to a hotel. Approaching West Lodge Park Hotel, down the long and winding tree lined drive, is like arriving at a large stately home. The hotel sits majestically amid thirty five acres of stunning grounds and gardens, nestled in the heart of Hertfordshire, just a short drive from London.
Built in 1838, this wonderful four star hotel has been successfully run by three generations of the same family since 1945. The hotel boasts the highest AA quality rating of any four star hotel in the North London area. It is also the only hotel in Hertfordshire with an Arboretum, which alone attracts over 10,000 visitors a year, all eager to view the glorious assortment of 800 varieties of tree.
The hotel has a total of fifty nine high standard, luxury bedrooms, ranging from Classic singles through to Executive doubles, and culminating in the 71 square metre Hadley suite, with its two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Guests can select their preferred bedroom when completing their booking online. Standards are high at this hotel, which can clearly be seen in the décor and furnishings, and in the impeccable service guests receive from the hotel's dedicated staff.
My wife and I arrived mid afternoon for our one night stay, this meant we had plenty of time to settle into our room and acquaint ourselves with our 'home' for the next twenty hours or so. On our arrival at West Lodge Park, so taken were we with the beautiful grounds, that even before checking in, we felt tempted to explore further whilst the sun was still shinning on this lovely November afternoon. The gardens looked spectacular, the trees starting to carpet the ground with their colourful Autumn foliage were splendid in the fading light of day. Wildlife was also in abundance with various birds, including a pheasant, and several playful squirrels accompanying and entertaining us on our walk.
Soon the lure of dinner, and the evening chill, tempted us inside. On approaching the entrance we were pleasantly surprised to find the door being opened for us by a smartly dressed gentleman who then showed us the way to reception, and kindly offered to carry our bags for us. At reception, a very polite young lady checked us in and gave us directions to our room.
Guest rooms have names as well as being numbered, our room was number 63 and named Firebrace after a previous owner of the house. Overlooking the terrace and grounds, our room afforded us some beautiful views, which we enjoyed from the comfort of our quaint and characterful cushioned window seat. The room was very tastefully decorated, including a display of very interesting wall-mounted photographs. The Bedroom and bathroom are separated by a small hallway with separate doors to both rooms, and another door leading to a good sized walk-in wardrobe which also housed the mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge with complimentary water, safe, iron and ironing board. The bathroom included a bathtub with overhead shower, and complimentary toiletries. Furniture within the bedroom included a large, very comfortable double bed, bedside cabinets, coffee table, two easy chairs, and a dressing table and chair. Complimentary slippers and dressings gowns are also included for guest use during their stay.
Dinner that evening was served in the Mary Beale Restaurant, a delightful dinning area, tastefully decorated and with a very friendly, welcoming ambiance. We chose our three courses from the Table d' hote menu, both tempted by the delicious hake for our main course, which was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth, simply divine and bursting with flavour. The Food and service was faultless. Near to the entrance of the restaurant is a very well stocked bar and comfortable lounge area, refreshments can be taken here as well as al fresco on the terrace. Breakfast the next morning was also served in the Mary Beale Restaurant and included a combination of self service and served food and beverages, a mouth-watering and ample array of both hot and cold food and drinks were available to enjoy.
There are many fine paintings on display around the hotel, most notably in the beautiful function rooms and around the magnificent main staircase. This wonderful collection of art, mainly from the late seventeenth century, feature many paintings by Mary Beale (1633-1699). Mary Beale was Britain's first professional female painter. With the impressive collection of artwork and the ornate décor throughout West Lodge Park, one could easily forget that this is a hotel, it has much more the feel of a private home about it, making it so easy to feel relaxed and enjoy the experience.
With several function and meeting rooms, the hotel also caters for conferences, weddings and private functions. The hotel currently accommodates around 50 weddings a year, proving that this wonderful hotel is a perfect choice for that very special day.
To occupy guests during their stay there is a putting green and croquet, and of course the stunning Arboretum and gardens. Guests staying at West Lodge Park also receive free membership to a top local gym and leisure club, as well as 15% discount off treatments at Champneys in Enfield and Go Ape in Trent Park. Horse riding is available locally, and those wishing to play a round of golf need look no further than the Trent Park Golf Club.
With central London only 12 miles away and easily accessible by train or road, West Lodge Park is a perfect alternative to an inner city hotel, close enough to the city for convenience of accessibility, but far enough away to feel like a real country retreat. My wife and I had a wonderful stay, we were only sorry that we could not stay longer to fully enjoy all that this truly lovely hotel has to offer. Maybe next time!
Full postal address: West Lodge Park Hotel, Cockfosters Road, Hadley Wood, EN40 0PY
For more information, please visit: www.bealeshotels.co.uk