As someone who provides help with planning holidays, it’s impossible to try all the places I come across in my holiday research, but The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire was one place I thought I’d just have to visit.
The Grove Hotel is an 18th century, luxury country estate in Hertfordshire that offers a mix of traditional and contemporary, or ‘grand and groovy’, as Martin Hulbert, the design director, says.
I’ve featured The Grove in Your Holiday Planner before (see UK family friendly hotels at Christmas time) and as they were running their Christmas activities throughout the week, we decided to stay for 4 nights in between Christmas and New Year to take advantage of the lower prices as well as the festivities.
The verdict: fabulous. It’s a great retreat for families and couples alike.
The contemporary with traditional design gives a lovely open, unstuffy feel so that you and the children are immediately relaxed as soon as you walk in. It’s also only at Junction 19 of the M25, so anyone arriving from London is going to love the short journey to this wonderful retreat.
Bedrooms: The luxury hotel is split into two distinct parts – the original mansion and the new wing. Our deluxe room in the west wing accommodated a family of four very comfortably and had a balcony that overlooked the gardens. All rooms have large flat screen plasma TVs and the deluxe bathrooms have separate power showers and free standing baths. Our children also enjoyed the extra touch of milk and cookies in our room every evening. The only negative is that wardrobe and storage space could have been better, especially for families.
Restaurants: The luxury hotel has three restaurants, from the à la carte Colette’s, to the chic Glasshouse serving buffet dinners – and The Stables, a relaxed and informal eatery with a bar serving wholesome food. We ate all our meals in either the Glasshouse or The Stables and couldn’t fault the food and service.
Leisure Activities: There was a whole programme of entertainment for guests staying over Christmas through to New Year, including Scaletrix, games rooms (with all the game consoles a child could wish for) and family Christmas games. The Grove also has two indoor pools – the largest is in the Spa and a smaller one for younger children in the Kids Club. In the summer, there is also an outdoor pool in the lovely Walled Garden, which also unexpectedly houses a beach.
As a luxury family friendly hotel, there really is something for everyone. Golfers will love the fact that Tiger Woods has played at The Grove’s golf course. We swam every day in the Spa, borrowed bikes to explore the grounds, played tennis, snooker, table tennis, chess in the garden, board games in the lounges and turned up for football on the playing field (unfortunately the ground had frozen solid!).
Service: Even during a four night stay, there will always been something in your room that needs attention, but we never had to wait long to have anything seen to. From the valet parking, to reception and guest services, I was impressed by the friendliness and attentiveness of all the staff.
The Grove Hotel gave us top quality family time after a hectic Christmas. It’s undeniably a luxury hotel and the rates and restaurant prices reflect this. All our leisure activities were included, however, and comparing a four night stay to a week abroad (our original plan), you really do feel as if you’ve been away for a week – without the added stress of travelling.
If you’ve stayed at The Grove or been to similar hotels, please do let readers know and post a comment.