luton hoo hotel and spa

Luton Hoo: a classic country house (with Hollywood glamour)

Facebook
Facebook
Pinterest
Pinterest
LINKEDIN
Instagram

It isn’t often you get to share a sink with Hugh Grant but the sign in our bedroom at Luton Hoo hotel and spa proclaimed it to be true: the rather quirky sink-in-a-cupboard in the corner was indeed the very same one that Hugh balanced precariously on in Four Weddings and a Funeral while some rather saucy post-wedding celebrations were happening in the room – our room! – outside.

luton hoo hotel and spa
The rather lovely Luton Hoo which has played host to everyone from James Bond to the Queen

While I was tempted to recreate Hugh’s famous perch, the fantastic view from our window was calling us out to go for a walk in Luton Hoo’s seriously large 1,000-acre estate. But then, as if by magic, there was a polite knock on the door and a bottle of champagne was delivered. That settled it. We would admire the view from afar, while pretending to be Hollywood stars ourselves.

luton hoo hotel and spa
Luton Hoo’s grounds are beautifully ornate by the main house but there is plenty of woodland and open spaces to roam around in too

Luton Hoo, it turned out, is no stranger to the big screen, having featured in a whole variety of features: as well as the mega-hit Four Weddings it can also be seen in War Horse, Eyes Wide Shut, Enigma and The World is Not Enough.

————————————————————————————
Check the latest price on Booking.com for Luton Hoo Hotel here
Compare latest prices for Luton Hoo Hotel click
 here 
To read more reviews go to Luton Hoo Hotel on TripAdvisor here
————————————————————————————

However for such a celebrity location, Luton Hoo is far from diva-like and is in fact an almost perfect rendition of a traditional country house hotel, which is only to be expected from a building whose credentials are so impeccable that Winston Churchill addressed a crowd of 110,000 after the end of the Second World War and where the Queen and Prince Philip spent part of their honeymoon here in 1947.

luton hoo hotel and spa

The staff are extremely welcoming and helpful, able to recite facts and figures about the history of the building at the drop of a hat (if you want them to) and the gardener came in very useful when I was trying to identify the strange half deer, half rabbit creature I had seen lolloping around the ground (it was a muntjac and seemed very much at home).

luton hoo hotel and spa
The grand Pillard Hall makes an impressive entrance to the hotel

Off the grand entrance hall there is a succession of lounges for tea and cocktails containing exactly the kind of cosy sofas and armchairs you want to find in a country house hotel, and my new favourite thing, a self-playing grand piano, which rather fittingly was playing the Downton Abbey theme tune when we arrived.

————————————————————————————
If you like grand country house hotels then you’ll love:
Cliveden House Hotel: the ultimate English county house
Lucknam Park: my very own Palladian mansion for the night
Hartwell House: a luxury stay with the Downton Abbey factor
————————————————————————————

It might be cheesy but I thought it was great, playing classical music over dinner, jazz numbers late in the evening and some more lively and upbeat numbers at breakfast the next day, and was so realistic that I caught myself several times about to applaud at the end of a piece.

luton hoo hotel and spa
Formerly a chapel and now the site of wedding breakfasts

There was no shortage of rooms to explore, from the wedding chapel and mirrored lounge downstairs which was laid out for afternoon tea, to the rooms upstairs including the Queen’s suite, and everything seemed extremely clean and well-looked after.

luton hoo hotel and spa
The internal staircase and backdrop to many a wedding photo
luton hoo hotel and spa
Set up for afternoon tea, the lounge with its mirrors and chandeliers is probably the most recognisable room from films such as Eyes Wide Shut and Four Weddings

Dinner was in the impressive Wernher restaurant, named after diamond merchant and art collector Julius Wernher who bought the building in 1903.  We were shown to a table in the bay window of the dining room, the perfect place from which to admire both the view outside and the opulent decoration inside.

luton hoo hotel and spa
The Wernher dining room

The menu was pleasantly brief, just four starters, four mains and four desserts, but a good selection of dishes and the descriptions were refreshingly straightforward, no gels, foams or ‘compressions’ here.

luton hoo hotel and spa
Mozzarella and basil arancini starter

We chose the crayfish and potted shrimp, and the mozzarella arancini to start, and the rib-eye of Casterbridge beef and the garlic and rosemary lamb to follow. Both starters and mains were perfectly nice if not spectacular, and the dessert trolley was a nice touch if perhaps laden with rather too many of each dessert, which made them looked rather mass-produced.

luton hoo hotel and spa
Meals on wheels…

Unfortunately the meal was almost ruined by the constant queries from the waiting staff as to whether ‘everything was alright?’ The staff might have been on high alert because my stay at Luton Hoo’s sister hotel Tylney Hall hadn’t gone too well so I’m prepared to given them the benefit of the doubt, but we were interrupted mid-chat or mid-chew at least a dozen times throughout the meal by the waitress, the wine waiter and the overall manager, often in rapid succession, several times each course, which ended up being somewhat oppressive.

It’s hard to say ‘please don’t bother us anymore’ without sounding diva-ish but as a hint to the waiting staff, if people are eating and chatting happily and not looking around the room trying to attract your attention, then you can assume that yes, everything is actually alright. But it soon won’t be if you keep asking…

luton hoo hotel and spa
The lounge where we had pre- and post-dinner cocktails and where guests were serenaded by the self-playing grand piano

It was with a sigh of relief we escaped back the lounge where the charming barman said hello, served us drinks and then left us well alone, saying he was here if we needed him. Bliss.

Our bedroom, the Lady Butter, was huge and very smart, with all the things you’d expect: an immaculate bathroom, a sofa, desk, coffee table, fridge, coffee-machine, and obviously, Hugh’s sink closet which turned out to be very useful to avoid fights for the bathroom mirror. It was also a nice touch having a detailed description of the history of the room (and its starring role in any films, of course).

luton hoo hotel and spa
Our bedroom was very large and had great views overlooking the gardens leading down to the lake
luton hoo hotel and spa
Hugh’s closet…
luton hoo hotel and spa
The view from our window (there’s a lake in the far distance)

Breakfast the next day, back in the Wernher restaurant, was fine with prompt and far less stressful service, and we walked off the Eggs Benedict and toast by heading down to the lake which turned out to be a lot further away than it seemed, due to the vastness of the land surrounding the hotel. (There is a massive ha-ha ditch between the lake and the hotel, but there is a (rather well hidden) path across which I found only on my way back…).

luton hoo hotel and spa
Luton Hoo has a fleet of taxis to run you around the estate

A nice touch at Luton Hoo is that even if you are staying for just one night, you can check out of your room in the morning but then spend all day in the spa, so you feel as if you’ve had a really long two-day break. Next to the golf course and clubhouse (I know very little about golf but the course at Luton Hoo is a highly-rated 7,107 championship course which meanders throughout the estate) the spa contains everything you need for a relaxing or energetic day, depending on how you feel, with an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms, outside loungers, tennis courts and a gym.

luton hoo hotel and spa
The swimming pool in the spa complex

We spent the day swimming, sunbathing, sauna-ing and then finished off with a visit to the 19th hole, where they had a special offer on coffee and muffins. It was certainly a wrench to return to the real world…

luton hoo hotel and spa
My little Fiat is ready for its close up…

Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa
The Mansion House, Luton
Bedfordshire, LU1 3TQ
Tel +44 (0)1582 698888

B&B in the main house ranges from £340 for a deluxe room, £600 for a master bedroom such as our room, Lady Butter, and up to £1,100 for a State Suite. Rooms in the Club House or Flower Garden start from £280. 

————————————————————————————
Check the latest price on Booking.com for Luton Hoo Hotel here
Compare latest prices for Luton Hoo Hotel click
 here 
To read more reviews go to Luton Hoo Hotel on TripAdvisor here
————————————————————————————Luton Hoo hotel is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels and Small Luxury Hotels of the World groups.

Get Free Email Updates!

Sign up to receive an email alert every time a brand new review is posted!

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
Facebook
Facebook
Pinterest
Pinterest
LINKEDIN
Instagram

Leave a Reply