With 4 July as the official date that UK hospitality can reopen its doors, many hotels have been making extensive preparations to make their establishments Covid-19 safe. For travelers looking for weekend breaks or holidays with social distancing ensured, a countryside hotel is ideal. And many of these properties are offering special reopening deals, such as extra nights for free.
The Pig at Bridge Place, Canterbury
The Pig hotels are a group of six UK country house hotels with a focus on gastronomy and sustainability. They describe themselves as “restaurants with rooms,” with their onsite kitchen gardens supplying much of what their chefs require. And unlike most grand country house hotels, the Pig hotels offer more accessible room rates starting from around £145/night. The Pig at Bridge Place, near Canterbury, is the latest addition to the group. An excellent weekend getaway, less than an hour by train from London, this 17th-century red-brick manor house, is set in five acres of rolling green landscape. The main building retains many of its original fixtures and fittings, including Jacobean panelling and secret stairways. Accommodation includes seven bedrooms in the main house, twelve spacious rooms in the Coach House, two family friendly lodges and The Barn, a rustic two-storey hideaway in the old stables. Also, seven charming, double-bedded Kentish Hop Pickers’ huts on stilts alongside the river, have each been made from reclaimed materials. The Pig’s chefs work closely with the kitchen gardeners to create menus of simple British garden food. Anything they can’t produce themselves, they source from producers within a 25-mile radius. On reopening, The Pig at Bridge Place will follow stringent safety measures, while maintaining a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The Pig Bridge Place will reopen 4 July, with the first night free for NHS workers; a night of celebration as part of the #treatourNHS initiative to thank NHS workers for everything they have done during the pandemic.
Coworth Park, Ascot
Coworth Park, part of the Dorchester Collection, is a luxurious countryside hotel on the borders of Windsor Great Park, less than an hour from London. This former 18th-century manor house is just up the road from the famous, 300 year-old Ascot Racecourse. For walkers, Coworth offers 240 acres of parkland while across the road is Virginia Water, a man-made lake with hiking trails around it. Windsor Castle, the residence of Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s oldest occupied castle is also nearby. The hotel’s 70 rooms, including 16 suites, are in the main mansion house building and in a renovated stable block nearby. And for guests who want their own house separate from other guests, the Dower House, a three-bedroom, grade II-listed Georgian residence has its own kitchen, living room and garden. Coworth Park also has tennis courts, an equestrian centre, a spectacular spa and three fine restaurants (including one with a Michelin star). All Dorchester properties, including Coworth Park, are following a 10-point Covid-19 safety checklist, starting with staff having received training on their new health and safety standards and including things like hand sanitizer in touchless dispensers throughout the hotel, hourly cleaning and sanitizing public spaces and back of house, plus social distancing measures in restaurants, bars and spa. It’s also good to hear that The Dorchester Collection has guaranteed uninterrupted, protected salaries and the future jobs of all 3,600 employees throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Cliveden House, Taplow
Cliveden House, a privately owned five-star hotel set within 376 acres of National Trust grounds and sister to the popular Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa in Hampshire, was the home of Lady Nancy Astor, the American-born, first female MP in the UK’s House of Commons. The house dates back to 1666 when the Duke of Buckingham built Cliveden as a hunting lodge to entertain his friends and mistress. Nearly 300 years later, in 1961, another powerful man, John Profumo, the Conservative Secretary of State, met Christine Keeler, the rumored mistress of a Russian spy and began the affair that rocked British politics. The 47 rooms including 15 suites at Cliveden are each named after famous visitors, all filled with antiques and some with four poster beds. Extra Covid-19 measures to reassure guests include enhanced cleaning, disinfection, staff will use hand sanitizer every 20 minutes and staff and guests will have temperatures checked on arrival. For the reopening, Cliveden is offering three nights for the price of two.
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Heckfield Place, a former Georgian family home in the Hampshire countryside just outside of London, was painstakingly restored to its original state and opened in 2018 as an elegant countryside hotel. Set in 438 acres of park and farmland ideal for exploring, the house itself is warm and welcoming. There are 45 rooms, including six suites and five treatment rooms at the Little Bothy Spa. Produce is picked fresh from their gardens and farm to serve in their restaurants Marle and Hearth, with menus overseen by superstar Chef Skye Gyngell (Petersham Nurseries and Spring restaurant in London).
Beaverbrook, Leatherhead, Surrey
Beaverbrook, an opulent late-Victorian mansion turned luxury hotel with a lovely spa and two excellent restaurants is only twenty miles from London in the hills of Surrey. Set in 400 acres of beautiful grounds and woodlands, Beaverbrook, originally named Cherkley Court, was once home to British-Canadian newspaper mogul Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, who entertained many powerful and fascinating guests in the first part of the 20th-century. The eighteen rooms and suites in the main mansion house are all spacious with king-sized beds or four poster beds and some, have fireplaces and private terraces with views over the gardens or the rolling hills of the North Downs. Each room is individually themed on former famous guests. For instance, the Elizabeth Taylor suite that features a double shower, installed to accommodate Taylor and Burton who enjoyed showering together. The extensive grounds outside allow for lovely walks and easy social distancing from other guests. The hotel also has a three bedroom Coach house and a Garden House, both of which can be booked for private use. One of Beaverbrook’s special reopening offers is a three night stay for the price of two nights (until 17 December).