Tag Archives: Cliveden

Cliveden House hotel and spa: an luxury classic with a scandalous past

Throughout my stay at the rather fabulous Cliveden House Hotel, there was one question which I found almost impossible to answer. Would Cliveden still be as fabulous if it wasn’t, well, Cliveden?

Would it seem as special if it were just a very nice 17th century country house in which Winston Churchill and Noel Coward hadn’t stayed, for example? Would its gardens still be as pretty if you weren’t thinking that Lady Astor had strolled these very grounds with George Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin?

And would the beautiful outdoor swimming pool in the walled garden still be quite as marvellous to swim in if – well, you get the idea.

cliveden house hotel reviews
It’s Cliveden House Hotel, and it’s rather grand

The thing about Cliveden is that it is almost impossible to judge it on its own merits by separating it from its quite incredible past. The Great Hall with its portraits and grand fireplace is stunning, but it feels even more so because you know that some of the most accomplished people in recent history have discussed art and politics over cocktails exactly where you are sitting.

The swimming pool would be a talking point in its own right, but it is particularly amazing to swim in because you know it is where John Profumo met Christine Keeler and precipitated a whole chain of events which scandalised the nation and eventually led to the fall of the Government. Continue reading Cliveden House hotel and spa: an luxury classic with a scandalous past

Valet parking – it’s supposed to be great but makes me panic

This is probably one of those things that Americans are much better at than the Brits (they certainly have more practice at it), but valet parking always sends me into a panic.

valet parking
Las Vegas, possibly the epicentre of valet parking…
valet parking
… while in the Cotswolds, valet parking is on a smaller scale

On the face of it, arriving at a hotel and having someone offer to park your car for you is a pretty great idea. You can forget about driving round the block umpteen times to track down a parking space, or trying not to scrape against a nearby wall as you shoe-horn your car into the last space in the car park. Then, when it’s time to depart, you can just hover with your bags by the front door while your car is magically summoned for you.

In reality however, when I arrive at a hotel, I’ve usually been charging along a motorway or winding county lanes for several hours and my head is still somewhere on the M4. Someone dashing out of the front door and offering to take my car off me just completely throws me. What’s worse, is that the car is usually an utter tip.

valet parking cliveden
My arrival at the rather posh Cliveden hotel. The man who is to park my car is kindly disguising his horror at driving such an embarrassing car…

Continue reading Valet parking – it’s supposed to be great but makes me panic