Coworth Park, Ascot, opened last September; it is the eighth property in The Dorchester Collection. William Sheppard, wealthy past head of the British East India Company, originally opened the estate located at the edge of Windsor Great Park in 1776 and it has since been owned by 17th Earl of Derby Earl Stanley, Sir William Arbuthnot and other lords and ladies. Over 20 years ago the first grounds, stables and croquet lawns were added when W. Galen Weston of Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason bought the property.
New owners, equine-themed renovation
The Brunei Investment Agency acquired the property in 2001 (it also owns the Dorchester Group) and renovations on the Georgian manor and grounds began in 2008 with the goal of attracting an A-List international clientele.
Award-winning interior designer Martin Hulbert has clearly succeeded.
Today Coworth Park is a five-star country-house hotel with 70 guest rooms and suites, eco-spa and heated pool. It is the only UK hotel with its own polo grounds. There is a heli-pad, too.
In the renovated hotel and its contents, equine influences abound, from paintings to sculptures. The hotel showcases the finest British craftsmanship accented by contemporary sculptures, often by local artists. The estate’s “so very British” character is achieved through use of natural pigments and dusky colours. Textile coverings include wool, cashmere, mohair and linen. English smoked oak floors are decorated with beautiful accent rugs.
Coworth Park stables can now house up to 30 horses with self-contained groom’s accommodations. The hotel presents interesting polo tournaments and equine training on-property.
Guest rooms are luxurious yet simple. The Fairway Suite holds two large copper bathtubs as the suite showpieces, each with a copy of The Book of Idle Pleasures at the side to further encourage relaxation.
“I want it to be a house full of friends,” explains Martin Hulbert. “It’s the English country house that rewrites the rules.”
“We welcome muddy boots,” he adds.
“A hotel should be inspiring, have a sense of discovery and magic,” insists Martin Hulbert. “It should not be a home from home—would you come if it was?”
The bar, three restaurants and spa eatery continue the equine theme, with tack and rosette installations throughout.
With unbridled passion Head Chef Olly Rouse leads the kitchen team at restaurant John Campbell at Coworth Park. Chris Meredith is executive chef of all restaurants, in-room dining and banquets. Scott Turner is food and beverage manager.
John Campbell at Coworth Park is under the guiding eye of the eponymous John Campbell, who specializes in creating product-driven seasonal locally-sourced ‘shire dishes matched with an international wine list. Specialities include Rabbit ragu, ricotta gnocchi and fennel. Pollock, choucroute, farfelle and cauliflower. Finish with Gariguette, lime and tarragon.
The Barn bar and restaurant is informal with wooden tables and a copper-pan ceiling sculpture.
The Bar has stone floors and comfy seating with views over the meadows. In fine weather, eat outside on the terrace where ducks and swans roam freely by the river lined with plants and herbs that scent the air. Starters include Salad of Windsor Ham Hock, Jersey Royal potatoes, parsley, honey, and mustard. Coworth Park beer battered fish and chips; crushed peas and Barn Fishcakes are delicious mains. Treacle Tart, Black Forest Hay chocolate gâteaux, milk ice cream. Eccles Cake, organic Mossfield or British Cheese Board complete the meal.
The Drawing Room offers light refreshments throughout the day and two sittings for afternoon tea service. There is also an afternoon Champagne Afternoon Tea menu.
The Spatisserie is the spa eatery with a menu with vegetarian and special-dietary selections but also Champagne on ice, which can be served by the pool, fitness or restaurant spaces. Prefer smoothies? Try Beetroot and Orange, perfect after exercise.
On the roof find THE SPA, a fragrant herb garden of thyme, lavender and camomile that only enhance spa treatments that use top-of-the-line products from Carol Joy London, Kerstin Florian, Aromatherapy Associates and 100% organic treatments by Dr. Alkaitis.
Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SLS 75E, UK
T: +44 (0) 1344 876 600
F: +44 (0) 1344 876 660
From £235 per guestroom based on a stable superior double room per night inclusive of Full English Breakfast
Family Time: from £495 for two superior stable rooms (two rooms for the price of one) and includes full English breakfast for the whole family, welcome bottle of champagne on arrival, daily access to Coworth Park Kids. Valid until 4 September 2011. Based on two adults and two children (rates exclusive of VAT and subject to availability).
Town & Country: from £890 (+VAT) spend one night at The Dorchester plus one night at Cowarth Park. Includes breakfast and transfers between hotels.
Wentworth Golf Club: from £565 (+VAT) per night includes champagne on arrival, spa treatments, English breakfast and a round of golf for two on the East or Edinburgh course.
20 minutes from Heathrow Airport (by car)
45 minutes from Central London (by car)
Taxi Service: +44 (0) 1784 471111
Places of interest to visit nearby:
Magna Carta Memorial
Lucy Fisher River Boat Trips on the River Thames
Ascot Race Course
The Savill Gardens
Wentworth Golf Course
Theatre Royal Windsor
Mercedes Benz World
Need to know:
Dorchester Collection opens its ninth hotel, 45 Park Lane, London in September 2011 with CUT Steakhouse by super-chef Wolfgang Puck.
Meanwhile back in Paris:
Restaurant Guy Savoy, Paris 17th
Guy Savoy’s 3-star Michelin rue Troyon restaurant presents Summer Selection until August 31st. 5 courses – 5 wines – 150€. Lunch Tues-Friday. Dinner only Saturday. Shut Sunday.
Book online at Guy Savoy.com
La Compagnie de Bretagne, Paris 6th
Breton-born architect-designer Pierre Yves Rochon just put the finishing touches to a stunning old house opposite Convent des Cordeliers. Chef Olivier Auffrey together with Olivier Roellinger want to showcase the best of Brittany (20 different types of organic cider, charcuteries, cheese, etc.) in a sensational neo-traditional crêperie on three floors. Expect wafer-thin galettes of smoked mackerel, potato and herb vinaigrette, grilled sardines, citron confit or langoustine, fennel and peanut followed by rhubarb and Mexican vanilla crêpe or caramel beurre salé.
Compagnie de Bretagne is the new convivial meeting place where seasonal products are transformed into delicious crêpes. Do reserve, the joint is jumping déjà. Shut Sunday.
Expect to pay from 3.40€-18€.
MiniPalais, Paris 8th
MiniPalais is the chic summer address for people-watching on the covered terrace of the Bar à Champagnes. Veuve Cliquot flows from 6PM-midnight in exciting colors and cocktails while Pierre-Yves Plat plays Tea for Two or Moonlight Sonata. There’s a brief menu en cas including sardines millésimés beurre d’algues, tartare de boeuf and Vitello Tonnato. Lunch is a steal at 28€ and no matter the weather, on the terrace you’re outside/inside even if it rains.
Margaret Kemp is a Cordon Bleu graduate who spent a year traveling the world, working and watching in the kitchens of top chefs from Sydney, Australia via Bangkok, Hong Kong, California, New York and France. She reports for BonjourParis on the latest European trends, restaurants and hot spots.
Favorite foodie books at our BonjourParis Amazon.com Boutique:
1. A Gourmet Tour of France: Legendary Restaurants from Paris to the Côte d’Azur
2. Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France [includes Michel Troisgros, Gagnaire, etc.]
3. Great, Grand & Famous Chefs and Their Signature Dishes [includes Troisgros, Bocuse, Ducasse & Robuchon, etc.]
Hotel Le Mathurin is a 4-star hotel located in central Paris, near La Madeleine, Opéra & upscale shopping. Stylish guest rooms decorated with the finest furnishings & contemporary marble bathrooms. Spa with a jacuzzi & hammam. Eligible for the best-price match guarantee from Booking.com.