In the early days of the BOOT I was asked by Guillaume Thevenot at hotel-blogs what the top three hotels were that I had stayed at. It was an easy choice at the time -Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast, Queensland Australia, Banyan Tree, Bangkok, Thailand and Le Meridien Piccadilly, London, England.
But I now have a new clear and unambiguous winner of the BOOT's top choice award. Last month I spent an amazing weekend at The Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire England.
The first thing that strikes you about this hotel is the arrival. A long drive up an entranceway lined with green fields, trees and (I'm serious) wandering pheasant. The approach is rounded out by the building itself. A magnificent example of your ideas of a what an English country estate should look like. A beautiful front view on a water feature, side areas with manicured lawns and fountains, an entrance way with high arches, columns and waiting attendants. Beautiful. The hotel conversion has only just be completed so the facilities are all near perfect and new. High ceilings, large rooms, huge bathtubs, period but comfortable furniture...everything you could need to sink into the world of a luxury weekend in the country. Facilities are rounded out with a top class swimming pool, fair sized gym, near perfect croquet lawn (what a view) and a number of bars, high tea lounges and dining areas.
I looked for some areas to imperfection and found only one. The restaurants and food service areas (like the rest of the hotel) are new. As a result they have a few teething problems around getting good out one time (and accurately). This was annoying at meal times but did not detract from an amazing experience and would expect it to improve as the staff get used to the new set up. The prices are not cheap and this one was on my own dime. But it was a fantastic experience and re-defined in my mind the whole concept of spending a weekend in Luton.