Home Hotel reviewsCountry house hotels Luton Hoo: country house hotel and spa with Hollywood glamour

Luton Hoo: country house hotel and spa with Hollywood glamour

This luxury five star hotel in Bedfordshire is set in 1,000 acres and many films including Four Weddings and a Funeral were filmed here

by Sarah Bridge
luton hoo

A stay at Luton Hoo

It isn’t often you get to share a sink with Hugh Grant, but the sign in our bedroom at the five star Luton Hoo hotel and spa proclaimed it to be true.

The rather quirky sink-in-a-cupboard in the corner was indeed the very same cupboard from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral where Hugh Grant hid while some rather saucy post-wedding celebrations were happening in the bedroom – our bedroom!

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The front of Luton Hoo in the sunshine

Luton Hoo has hosted everyone from James Bond to the Queen

While I was tempted to recreate Hugh’s famous perch, the fantastic view from our window was calling us out to go for a walk in Luton Hoo’s seriously impressive 1,000-acre estate.

But then, as if by magic, there was a polite knock on the door and a bottle of champagne was delivered. That settled it. We would admire the view from afar, while pretending to be Hollywood stars ourselves.

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luton hoo fountain

Luton Hoo’s grounds are beautifully ornate by the main house but there is plenty of woodland and open spaces to roam around in too

Luton Hoo hotel, it turned out, is no stranger to the big screen, having featured in a whole variety of features: as well as the mega-hit Four Weddings it can also be seen in War Horse, Eyes Wide Shut, Enigma and The World is Not Enough.

Book Luton Hoo hotel at Booking.com

Visit Luton Hoo hotel on Tripadvisor

Luton Hoo history

However for such a celebrity location, Luton Hoo is far from diva-like and is in fact an almost perfect rendition of a traditional country house hotel. This is only to be expected from a building whose credentials are so impeccable that Winston Churchill addressed a crowd of 110,000 after the end of the Second World War and where the Queen and Prince Philip spent part of their honeymoon here in 1947.

The combination of history and luxury makes it one of the top luxury hotels in Bedfordshire – possibly one of the best hotels in the country – and a stay at Luton Hoo will certainly be a memorable one.

luton hoo from the back of the hotel

Luton Hoo is set in 1,000 acres of Bedfordshire countryside

Arriving at Luton Hoo

The grand Pillard Hall is certainly one of the most impressive hotel receptions I’ve been to, and made quite a first impression. Checking into Luton Hoo we found the staff are extremely welcoming and helpful, and able to recite facts and figures about the history of the building at the drop of a hat (if you want them to).

The gardener also came in very useful when I was trying to identify the strange half deer, half rabbit creature I had seen lolloping around the ground (it was a muntjac and seemed very much at home).

Pillard Hall at Luton hoo

The grand Pillard Hall makes an impressive entrance to the hotel

The old chapel at Luton Hoo

The old chapel at Luton Hoo now hosts wedding breakfasts

Off the grand entrance hall, there is a succession of lounges with comfortable furniture, perfect for afternoon tea or cocktails before dinner. Best of all, there was my new favourite thing, a self-playing piano, which rather appropriately was playing the Downton Abbey theme.

Some might think it’s cheesy but I thought it was great, able to play classical music over dinner, jazz numbers late in the evening and more lively and upbeat numbers at breakfast the next day.

It was so realistic that I caught myself several times about to applaud at the end of a piece.

There was no shortage of rooms to explore at Luton Hoo, from the wedding chapel and mirrored lounge downstairs which was laid out for afternoon tea, to the rooms upstairs including the Queen’s suite, and everything seemed extremely clean and well-looked after.

luton hoo hotel and spa curved staircase

The internal staircase at Luton Hoo – the backdrop to countless wedding pictures

luton hoo mirrored lounge from Eyes Wide Shut

Set up for afternoon tea, the lounge with its mirrors and chandeliers is probably the most recognisable room from films such as Eyes Wide Shut and Four Weddings and a Funeral

Luton Hoo restaurant

Dinner was in the impressive Wernher restaurant, named after diamond merchant and art collector Julius Wernher who bought the building in 1903. We were shown to a table in the bay window of the dining room, the perfect place from which to admire both the view outside and the opulent decoration inside.

Wernher restaurant at luton hoo

The Wernher restaurant

The menu was pleasantly brief, just four starters, four mains and four desserts, but a good selection of dishes and the descriptions were refreshingly straightforward, no gels, foams or ‘compressions’ here.

Mozzarella and basil arancini starter at luton hoo

Mozzarella and basil arancini starter

We chose the crayfish and potted shrimp, and the mozzarella arancini to start, and the rib-eye of Casterbridge beef and the garlic and rosemary lamb to follow.

Both starters and mains were perfectly nice if not spectacular, and the dessert trolley was a nice touch if perhaps laden with rather too many of each dessert, which made them looked rather mass-produced, even though I’m sure they weren’t.

dessert trolley at luton hoo

The well-stocked dessert trolley at Luton Hoo

lounge at Luton Hoo

One of the opulent lounges at Luton Hoo

Luton Hoo bedrooms

Our bedroom, the Lady Butter, was huge and very smart, with all the things you’d expect: an immaculate bathroom, a sofa, desk, coffee table, fridge, coffee-machine, and obviously, Hugh’s sink closet which turned out to be very useful to avoid competing for the bathroom mirror.

It was also a nice touch having a detailed description of the history of the room (and its starring role in any films, of course).

Lady Butter bedroom at Luton Hoo

Our bedroom was very large and had great views overlooking the gardens leading down to the lake

closet from Four Weddings and a Funeral at Luton Hoo

Hugh’s closet…

luton hoo hotel and spa grounds

The view from our window of Luton Hoo’s impressive grounds (there’s also a lake in the far distance)

Luton Hoo breakfast

Breakfast the next day, back in the Wernher restaurant, was fine with prompt service and a range of freshly cooked options including Eggs Benedict.

After such a vast amount of food, we decided to go on a walk down to the lake at Luton Hoo which turned out to be a lot further away than it seemed, due to the vastness of the land surrounding the hotel. There is a massive ha-ha ditch between the lake and the hotel, and there is a (rather well hidden) path across it which I found only on my way back…!

luton hoo taxi

Luton Hoo has a fleet of taxis to run you around the estate

Luton Hoo spa

A nice touch at Luton Hoo is that even if you are staying for just one night, you can check out of your room in the morning but then spend all day in the Luton Hoo spa, so you feel as if you’ve had a really long two-day break – a perfect staycation.

Next to Luton Hoo’s championship golf course and clubhouse, the spa contains everything you need for a relaxing or energetic day, depending on how you feel, with an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms, outside loungers, tennis courts and a gym.

indoor swimming pool at Luton Hoo spa

The indoor heated swimming pool at Luton Hoo spa

We spent the day in this luxury hotel spa swimming, sunbathing, sauna-ing and then finished off with a visit to the 19th hole, where they had a special offer on coffee and muffins. It was certainly a wrench to return to the real world…

luton hoo hotel and spa yellow car outside

My little Fiat is ready for its close up…

Hotel information and to book Luton Hoo hotel

Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa
The Mansion House, Luton
Bedfordshire, LU1 3TQ
Tel +44 (0)1582 698888

Book Luton Hoo hotel at Booking.com

Visit Luton Hoo hotel on Tripadvisor

Luton Hoo hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

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