A stay at Danesfield House
If your idea of a perfect country break is to have breakfast in the sun on a terrace overlooking a spectacular view of the Thames, followed by a day lounging in a luxury spa, then Danesfield House hotel and spa in Buckinghamshire is just the place for you.
To say that it reminded me of Cliveden, just a few miles away, is high praise indeed. While it doesn’t have the grandeur, scale or history of its neighbour, there are many similarities: they both have a beautiful terrace surrounded by ornate gardens, a view of the river Thames sparkling below, a light and airy restaurant which makes the most of their locations and both have an excellent award-winning spa with swimming pool and outside loungers for those perfect summer days.
Danesfield House is just a few miles from the pretty towns of Marlow and Henley on Thames and has 79 rooms and suites in an impressive, white Grade 2 listed building.
It is surrounded by 65 acres of grounds, and the entrance to Danesfield House is rather impressive as guests drive along a long gravel drive which passes beneath a stone archway into a courtyard.
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Exploring Danesfield House
The main building dates from 1901 and was requisitioned by the army in the Second World War before later becoming a hotel. The vast entrance hall at Danesfield House has a more formal feel of a traditional country house while the rest of the interior is in a more relaxed, modern style.
What really makes Danesfield House special though, is its lovely outdoor terrace and ornate gardens which are perfect for outside dining or afternoon tea. On a sunny afternoon it would be hard to think of a more perfect location, especially when you walk to the end of the gardens and discover the curve of the River Thames far beneath you – quite a sight.
Danesfield House bedrooms
My room was in the recently refurbished Stable Courtyard, and was more like a two-storey apartment. Downstairs, there was a large lounge containing a sofa bed, TV, fridge and separate WC.
At the top of the modern, glass-sided stairs was an ante-room containing fitted wardrobes and a bathroom with roll-top bath, off which was a walk-in shower room on one side, and the bedroom on the other, with a vast, mirror-backed double bed.
There were nice little touches in the design of the courtyard, including a little turret where two people could sit outside and watch the world go by.
We had a look around the bedrooms in the main building as well and found that there was a wide choice of styles, including some with impressive four-poster beds. The views from the front of the building over the Thames were also a great appeal.
Danesfield House spa
Danesfield House spa is connected to the main building via a glass walkway, but also has its own car park for day guests and club members. In contrast to the history of the main hotel building, the spa at Danesfield House is smart and modern-looking, with a 20 metre indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and bar where you can order G&Ts to be delivered to you while you sunbathe on the lawn outside.
The grounds are a mixture of landscaped gardens, woods, parkland and mown lawns and are well worth exploring. There are great views along the River Thames just a few steps from the hotel, and as Danesfield House is handily located near a bend so you can see all the way along the river.
Danesfield House restaurant
All that relaxing and walking meant we had worked up an appetite for dinner which was just as well as we happily worked our way through the menu, from woodland mushroom risotto and fish soup starters, through to cod and fillet of beef and ending on desserts of glazed raspberries and rhubarb crumble parfait.
Once the owner of a Michelin star, Danesfield House has decided not to try and get it back again (its formal dining room only has 18 tables) but has gone for something with a more general appeal.
Some dishes were better than others – the fish soup and the fillet of beef were particularly good, while the risotto was swamped with sweetcorn and didn’t taste of woodland mushrooms at all – but the wine was excellent and service was fast and friendly.
We ended the evening with a couple of cocktails in the small bar next to the restaurant and we both slept well, although the open-plan layout of the bedroom meant that I was woken up at dawn from light flooding in from the bathroom window which had net curtains but no blinds.
Danesfield House breakfast
Breakfast on the terrace in the sun was a great way to start the day and still remains one of my favourite hotel breakfast spots, with excellent food in the sunshine. Thankfully we didn’t have to rush off so after breakfast – it was back to the spa! It’s a tough life…
Hotel information and to book Danesfield House
Danesfield House hotel and spa, Henley Road, Marlow-On-Thames, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2EY
T: 01628 891 010
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