Macdonald Windsor is a contemporary style boutique hotel found in the heart of Windsor, which exudes warmth from the moment you walk through the revolving doors off the high street. A welcoming fragrant aroma carries through the cosy lounge decorated with quirky lanterns and paintings, to the reception area where friendly, courteous staff await. It comes as no surprise that this young, five years old hotel, has already acquired numerous awards including most recently the Hotel Cateys Award for Front of House Team. Having a narrow frontage, the hotel has done well to use an open plan layout, from reception the hotel’s bar can be seen which leads on to the popular Caleys restaurant, which is a great space and has lovely windows at the far end which brings in lots of natural light.
Being in the Royal borough and in close proximity to the Castle there are many quirky aspects to the hotel which have a Royal theme. From the crown shaped topiary at the entrance, to the crown candle holders in the lounge, and paintings around the hotel. Even the drawer lining paper in the bedrooms has a crown print!
The AA four red star Macdonald Windsor Hotel is opposite the Guildhall where Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, got married and is directly across from the majestic Windsor Castle. It has the perfect location to watch the Royal Guards when they march up the high street to the Castle. This happens daily at around 10.50am and then they walk back past the hotel around 11.20am. This is probably the only place where you can see the guards so close (as compared to in London) and is a fabulous experience.Macdonald Windsor is only forty minutes by train from London and is a perfect place for a break in the beautiful royal borough. On the former site of the famous Caleys department store, which had received royal warrants from the Queen mother and the Queen, this hotel has been designed by award-winning Amanda Rosa and is a lovely home away from home.
The rooms have been decorated to immaculate standards with a clean, fresh contemporary look which blends well with the Georgian elegance of the hotel. Crisp white Egyptian linen, flat screen Tvs, fluffy pillows, bathrobes and slippers, Bose Ipod docking station, complimentary mineral water and wifi! The bathrooms have underfloor heating, drench showers and Arran Aromatics toiletries.There are 120 rooms which include six suites and a feature rooftop suite, The Pearl, which is where Anomalous London stayed. A large hallway, separate lounge area, super king size bed and a private balcony offering the perfect view of Windsor Castle and the historic Royal town. Staying here you would never want to leave!
Serving the finest cuisine in Windsor, Caleys offers not only the best quality steaks in the area but also a great selection of seafood. Using only the freshest ingredients, each dish is exquisitely presented including the bread selection. There is a roof top herb garden maintained by the kitchen team and the hotel has also kept some bee hives, with in-house honey being made in the very near future. Highly recommend the barbeque ribs with whisky honey glaze where the meat is cooked to perfection and slips off the bone very easily only to melt in your mouth. The grilled lobster was also impressive.
Served in a unique wooden stand the tea treats are neatly displayed in each compartment. Fresh farmhouse bread is used in the finger sandwiches, sweet treats including macaroons and signature Caleys mess. The sticky toffee pudding was yummlicious! The tea selection is from the East India company with a good variety of black, green and white tea to try.
A royal residence for over 900 years, the castle is set within the 5,700 acre Windsor Great Park. Entry to the castle allows access to St George’s chapel which is regularly used for ceremonial occasions, such as the Order of the Garter, the state apartments and the gallery where unique works of art from the Queens collection are displayed for the public to view. Admire the skill of the workers who restored St George’s Hall ceiling and redesigned the private chapel which took five years to complete after the infamous fire took place in 1992. Make sure to keep time to view Queen Mary’s dolls’ house. The finest dolls house in the world, designed by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, everything in the house was built one-twelfth normal size and took three years to build. It has electric lighting, running water, marble stairs, silk curtains and even the Crown Jewels.
Founded by Edward III in 1348, The Order of the Garter is the oldest, most senior British Order of Chivalry. Its function is a mark of Royal favour and the twenty four knights are personally chosen by the Sovereign to honour those who have served them, held public office or contributed in a unique way to national life. They include foreign monarchs and previous Prime Ministers. Each knight displays a banner of his arms in St George’s Chapel, together with a helmet, crest and sword and an enamelled stallplate. St Georges Chapel took fifty years to build and was started by Edward IV in 1475.Ten monarchs are buried in the chapel including the Queen’s parents, George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.Having visited the Castle and on return to the hotel a staff member at Macdonald Windsor shared a fascinating story. Robert Cary the concierge at the hotel mentioned that his family had a crest in St George’s Chapel. When Queen Elizabeth I died, the royal ring had to be cut from her finger and dropped outside to a knight who rode for three days to King James in Scotland to present him with the ring and say “You are now the King of England.” The knight’s name was Sir Robert Cary. For this unique deed he was awarded a knighthood and the Cary family have a crest in the Chapel.
Take a walk across the Windsor iron bridge, which was built in 1822, to Eton where the oldest, most famous school can be found, Eton College. Founded by King Henry VI in 1440 with unique school buildings of exceptional architecture, is where 19 British Prime Ministers have been educated, including David Cameron and where the Royal Princes William and Harry studied.
Macdonald Windsor has a unique Room 15 environmental policy where the hotel commits to reduce its carbon footprint. Four dedicated 'Green Rooms' each room 15 over four floors, only uses eco-friendly products and showcases energy efficiency throughout, such as having the guest directory on a usb stick, solar powered Ipod dock and recycled glasses to name a few. An electric car charger point has been installed at the hotel and it is the only one in the whole of Windsor.
Steeped in over 1,000 years of history, walking around is the best way to appreciate this historic town. Try and spot various quirks based on royalty and the castle around the town centre. Windsor prospered under the reign of Queen Victoria and she used Windsor Castle as her main residence. The Queens statue at the bottom of the Castle was presented to her by the town to mark her Golden Jubilee in 1887.
A two minute walk from the hotel is the famous Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, the only Royal Park to be managed by the Crown Estate. There are set guidelines which are posted at various points around the 5,000 acres of parkland. It is from the Castle gate at the beginning of the Long Walk that the royal apartments can be seen. The Long Walk is less than three miles long, and ends at the statue of King George II in Snow Hill. This path is used by the royal family on their annual visit to the Ascot races in the summer.
Come out of the hotel and turn left, five minutes down the high street take the narrow passage past the King & Castle pub, there’s a blue plaque on the wall which calls it the King Edward VII gateway. Stairs here lead down to Alexandra Gardens, the Goswells and the river. Alexandra Gardens is the riverside garden dating back to 1902 which was formed to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra. The Goswells is the area found below the castle walls which in Victorian times was a slum area. In order to preserve the views of the Castle from Alexandra gardens, it is now a part of the National Trust. The Diamond Jubilee Fountain commissioned to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012 can also be found here and is of a unique design taken from the Crown Jewels.
Walking along the river, Hawker Hurricane, a full size replica of the plane designed by Sir Sydney Camm which was the first RAF fighter to have an enclosed cockpit, is strategically placed with excellent views of the castle.
The Castle is best seen from the river and there are many options to either paddle boat, row, take a motor boat or a guided tour.