Home Hotel reviewsCountry house hotels Sopwell House hotel – a stay in my very own VIP courtyard

Sopwell House hotel – a stay in my very own VIP courtyard

The Mews Suites at this Hertfordshire spa hotel are a haven of luxury

by Sarah Bridge
sopwell house review

At Sopwell House hotel near St Albans, Hertfordshire, our bedroom’s location was really quite special.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

The gated courtyard looks very smart indeed at night

Arriving at Sopwell House hotel

Just across from the hotel reception, a quick tap of our room card opened up a gate beyond which was a totally enclosed courtyard – 16 individually-designed mews suites. Around the outside of the courtyard were the suites themselves, looking like designer apartments, while in the space itself was a hot tub, sofas, trees and water features. It was like having your very own VIP enclosure.

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luxury hotel Sopwell House

The courtyard had a hot tub, seating and comfortable sofas to share

luxury hotel Sopwell House

One tap of a room keycard and the doors swung open…

The five-star Sopwell House hotel is no stranger to VIPs, particularly of the footballing kind, and indeed just the night before my visit the entire England football team had attended a gala dinner at the hotel with sporting legend Pele.  I felt rather like a VIP myself when I entered my room, which is one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in.

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luxury hotel Sopwell House

My suite, Willow, was on the ground floor of this duplex and had its own private terrace

Mews Suites at Sopwell House hotel

It felt like my very own home, with a huge double bed on one side, and a plush sofa on the other. There were all sorts of luxuries, such as a massive TV, fireplace which sprang into life at the touch of a button, an espresso machine, fresh milk in the minibar, ample storage, a smart bathroom with underfloor heating and – the crowning glory – a private terrace with my very own hot tub. I instantly wanted to move in for several months.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

My huge (and very comfortable) bed. The room has lots of lights, plug points, cupboard space and a coffee maker

luxury hotel Sopwell House

My private terrace had its own hot tub

Restaurant at Sopwell House hotel

However there was no time for lounging – lunch at the brasserie called. This turned out to be a buffet but with excellent food – the fat slabs of pink roast beef were especially good – and while I tucked into the various salads, meats, hot dishes, cheeses and desserts, I realised you could see into the spa pool which ran alongside the restaurant. This makes it perfect if you have your family with you who want to keep swimming when you want to eat, so you can keep an eye on them, possibly less so if you’re hoping to relax in private.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

The Brasserie at Sopwell House looks out over the grounds and in the far corner, over the swimming pool

The Cottonmill spa itself was rather well designed, managing to pack a lot into not a vast space: there were clean changing rooms, a glass-fronted sauna overlooking the pool, two jacuzzis, a steam room and lots of showers, though without all the hair products and moisturiser I’d expect at a posh spa like this. There were also two gyms and a whole area for treatments such as massages and facials. Since my stay the hotel has upgrade the spa facilities as well as adding The Club at Cottonmill which includes spa gardens, a garden room, ‘whisper room’ and deep relaxation room.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

The pool looks huge in this picture (it’s about 20 metres) but you can have a proper swim in it or relax in the jacuzzis, sauna or steam room

Before the threatened rain arrived, it was time to walk around the vast gardens. Just through the brasserie and conservatory was a newly-landscaped terrace area, with flower beds and a koi carp pond, where wedding parties and conference guests could spill out onto the lawn, and which would be glorious in the summer months.

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Beyond this there was still a vast amount of land, rather untouched, although there are plans for further landscaping and garden design. The hotel building is more functional than beautiful – it’s not a classic country house hotel in style – but it was nice to walk around and work up an appetite for cream tea.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

Cream tea took a while to arrive but was worth the wait

Afternoon tea at Sopwell House hotel

After eating far more sandwiches, scones and cakes that I really should have done, I felt a walk into St Alban’s was called for, and headed off into the countryside. Sopwell House is located in a curious mix of green countryside and housing estates and just 20 minutes I was in the town centre by the cathedral.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

The hotel’s reception area

After an hour of so of wandering about I found a footpath along the River Ver which took me almost all the way back to the hotel and the gated suites complex. It felt like a self-contained resort, with music drifting in from one of the nearby suites and various couples drinking champagne in the communal hot tub, and indeed I later found that the hotel’s turn-down service doesn’t extend to the suites as people tend to just stay in their apartments for the whole stay.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

The bar where cream tea was also served

Dinner at Sopwell House hotel

However I had research to do, and sampled a fruity gin-based Black Bramble cocktail in the bar before dinner. The restaurant was closed so it was back to the brasserie, which had a classic British menu. I had a very good prawn and crayfish cocktail and a equally good roast lamb.

luxury hotel Sopwell House

Crayfish and prawn cocktail for dinner

I skipped dessert in favour of lounging around in my hot tub, and after 10 hours dreamless sleep there was just time for a quick dip before reluctantly heading off through ‘my’ gates for the last time. As a family room the suites would be perfect as you feel incredibly safe and secure, but whether there’s one, two, three or four of you it’s a perfect place for a indulgent break.

Hotel information and to book Sopwell House

Sopwell House, Cottonmill Lane, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 2HQ
T: 01727 864477

Rooms in the main hotel from £139 per night, suites in the main hotel from £199 and Mews Suites from £249, all including breakfast

Check availability and book Sopwell House by clicking here

Compare the latest prices and read more reviews of Sopwell House on Tripadvisor

Sopwell House is a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels group of 50 luxury hotels across the UK. To discover more excellent Pride of Britain Hotels, check out the reviews here: Talbooth House, a lovely Essex spa hotel stay; A relaxing stay at Stapleford Park hotel in Leicestershire; Drama and country house hotel charm at Kilworth House hotel, Leicestershire

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