This magnificent privately-owned country house hotel is set on a 65 acre estate overlooking the Chiltern Hills and the River Thames.
Only an hour’s drive from London, this Grade II listed Tudor mansion can be found between the pretty village towns of Marlow and Henley. This venue, which only opened as a hotel over twenty years ago, is steeped in history and was a popular resting place for nomadic tribes and Danish adventurers, hence the name Danes-field House.
During WWII the house was used as an intelligence section of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Reconnaissance and Photography section and was the headquarters of the Allied Central Interpretation unit. Books have been written about this and the reality that it was here, in this ornate manor, within picturesque surroundings, that air photography from above enemy territories was analysed, to influence the Allied operation of the war and lead to its final victory. Winston Churchill’s daughter, Sarah, was amongst the many women of the aerial intelligence team.
After the war, Danesfield continued to be used by the RAF and was regarded as the finest officers’ mess in the country. Much of the venue remains as it was back then and has many quirks about it.
The Great Hall with its intricate wood panelling, huge tapestries and paintings, has a lovely grand fireplace at the far end and a billiard table in the Minstrels Gallery overlooking the hall. The cosy bar now has the Orangery adjacent to it overlooking the patio and topiary gardens. Walking around the grounds the various historic events which have taken place here can be vividly imagined.
Recently popular with celebrities and pop group One Direction, who arrived by helicopter as the venue has its own helipad. This was the chosen venue for the infamous George Clooney and his Buckinghamshire bride Amal Alamuddin for their wedding reception. Bespoke George and Amal cocktails, which were served at their reception, are now a permanent feature on the cocktail list. Danesfield House is an enchanting resort to venture to for a mini-break.
Danesfield has 65 rooms of which 13 are suites, traditional in design and have classic four-poster beds, which first gained popularity in the 15th Century England. The oak beds are exquisitely draped and are the epitomy of romance. The rooms in the main wing are named after little villages from the surrounding Buckinghamshire county. Views are either of the gardens and river or inner courtyard. All rooms are individually furnished and have interesting artwork. A few novel contemporary rooms have been introduced at Danesfield, which have been designed by Phillippe Starck. These quirky rooms have a common black and white colour scheme and have modern updated bathrooms. Anomalous London stayed in a classic junior suite, pictured here. This overlooked the topiary gardens, with views of the Chiltern Hills. Spectacular sunsets were witnessed.
Lunch is usually served in the Orangery and Dinner in the Oak Room. There is a set menu for lunch and a la carte for dinner. Headed by Chef Billy Reid, a variety of classic British cuisine is served with great execution. There is a great choice in meats and fish. The lobster with truffle mayonnaise was delicious, seen in this picture. In the warmer months, guests may eat out on the terrace.
This is served either in the Orangery overlooking the lovely gardens or in the spa. There is special ‘Tea Time’ treat where Danesfield Afternoon tea can be had with a 25 min mini treatment at the spa. The Aromatherapy associates aching foot relaxer is a good choice to have prior to indulging in sumptuous afternoon tea. A variety of black, green and scented tea is available, including some healthy detox teas! If requested in advance, homemade sugar free and gluten free biscuits and cakes are available as is sugar free jam.
This award winning spa has a 20m ozone treated pool, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the gardens. Roman mural paintings adorn some of the walls and there is a large Jacuzzi set adjacent to the centre of the pool. Quirky jets of water arise from the bottom of the pool at various points, making it a fun swimming experience.
Conveniently placed by the poolside loungers are ‘bell buttons’ which can be used to get the attention of a waiter who can bring over some refreshments. Various latest glossy magazines are also strategically placed for your convenience. The sauna is especially quirky, with a large window overlooking the grounds. This makes the heat more enduring and not so intense with natural daylight shining through. Gowns and slippers are provided to each guest and there are plenty of towels available as is required.
There are 8 treatment rooms at Danesfield and the spa is associated with three leading beauty brands, Aromatherapy associates, Darphin and Moroccon Oil, thus providing a host of treatments to choose from. The therapists are all well trained and can suggest suitable treatments depending upon the clients requirements.