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Help with Country House Hotel Christmas 2018

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Dec 16th, 2017, 11:08 PM
  #1
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Help with Country House Hotel Christmas 2018

Planning a Christmas stay with DH's family in England in 2018. We will be 7 adults in 4 rooms and are looking for a country house hotel with a 3 to 4 day program with church services available Christmas Eve, activities included or available on Boxing Day, rail service nearby and a spa. After previous discussions it looked like we were about to settle on the Luton Hoo Hotel north of London when one member said they want to be located in a village so there is something to do. The Luton Hoo hotel's website shows a pretty full program for this year so I was not expecting that request. This in-law said she will do some research but hasn't done any up to this point. Members do not want to be in or near Oxford or Bath and thought Windsor would be too crowded.

So, if anyone has a suggestion for such a hotel I would be much obliged to read about it here. Would like to keep the budget somewhere around $500-$700 per night per room however I think we all understand we may have to pay more to get exactly what we want. Families are traveling on their own before and after the Christmas stay (thankfully). Thank you for any hotel suggestions you may have.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 12:00 AM
  #2
 
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I cannot help with specific properties, but if you are trying to stay near London--but not the places you mentioned--what about in/near Cambridge or Norwich?

Norwich was once the second largest city in England, and its cathedral is stunning.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 01:26 AM
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Try Googling ‘Country House Hotel UK’

This time of year is perfect for researching because they have their xmas programmes up on their websites.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 05:03 AM
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I stayed in the Luton Hoo a few years back, staff were undertrained and I ended up having to use my French and Italian (plus a bit of Czech) in order to get an acceptable service. I also had to disassemble a wooden partition to stop the air con.

I'm sure, given where it is, it has had to improve since then. But check TA.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 05:07 AM
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I'd use the link offered by jamikins, the idea is a good one.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 06:30 AM
  #6
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Thanks for the warning Bilbo. TA has some cautionary reviews which is unfortunate.

Hotel does not need to be near London, the one near Luton seemed to have everything we originally said we wanted. I will search near Cambridge and Norwich. Cambridge would get Mr. Wonderful and I near Duxbridge and we can visit the air museum. I've been googling something similar to jamikins' text but had hoped someone here would have some reliable suggestions.

Thanks all.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 06:48 AM
  #7
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"This time of year is perfect for researching because they have their xmas programmes up on their websites."

Jamikins that's exactly my reasoning for researching now.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 06:58 AM
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Focus on the Cotswolds too. Easy train links to London generally (but keep in mind the trains are terrible at Christmas!). Lots of great country inns in villages with the church in walking distance. The Manor in Lower Slaughter is nice as is the inn at Daylesford Organic. Not sure about a spa...but I’m sure you’ll find one.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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We like the idea of The Feathers in Woodstock but maybe that’s too close to Oxford
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Dec 17th, 2017, 07:51 AM
  #10
 
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I would look at these:

http://www.gravetyemanor.co.uk in Sussex
https://www.askhamhall.co.uk in Penrith
https://www.limewoodhotel.co.uk (in Hampshire)

Each is about about 5 miles from a station.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:20 AM
  #11
 
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Two random suggestions

http://hotel.swintonestate.com/

http://www.armathwaite-hall.com/

Best if you decide which area of England as there are options across the country
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Dec 17th, 2017, 10:26 AM
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We've stayed several times at Gravetye Manor, and it's excellent. Sometimes there's a dance at Christmas, which is great fun.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 08:20 PM
  #13
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Actually Woodstock was suggested by one of the family during our conference call yesterday and it was acceptable. I’ll take a look.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 08:27 PM
  #14
 
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Nearest station to Woodstock is Oxford Parkway -- only about 5-6 miles from Woodstock.

The Feathers would be fine -- is not a 'Country House' as your OP requests. If it seems something you'd like, also look at the Bear -- though pricier.
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Dec 18th, 2017, 03:32 AM
  #15
 
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True janisj - it is like an estately home in a village. That is what I liked about it, it give a similar feel and celebration but you are in a village and can go out to pubs etc easily
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Dec 18th, 2017, 04:44 AM
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The Manor House in Castle Combe mights suit ( although it is quite near Bath) https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house/the-hotel/ v. nice quirky rooms and The Byford is an excellent restaurant. A couple of other nice pubs in te village too as I recall.

Not too far from your original choice of Luton Hoo is Brocket Hall http://www.brocket-hall.co.uk . The restaurant there, Auberge du Lac is very good.
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Dec 18th, 2017, 07:50 AM
  #17
 
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Families are traveling on their own before and after the Christmas stay (thankfully).

As someone who has organized (and tried to organize) group holidays, I feel your pain!
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Dec 18th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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I find the Bear a stiffling place to spend more than half an hour. The staff pleasant but with a hint of crawl.
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Dec 18th, 2017, 09:43 AM
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I'd take a look at the hotels represented by Celebrated Experiences, a U.S. based company that specializes in the UK and Italy. Their knowledge of English hotels is unsurpassed, and they only include "vetted" hotels in their list.

https://celebratedexperiences.com/england-wales/
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Dec 18th, 2017, 11:20 AM
  #20
 
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"one member said they want to be located in a village so there is something to do"

Then they don't want a country house. There are a few country house hotels actually in villages (Barnsley House, for example): but they're always pseudo-villages, with one struggling gastro-pub, no other activities and every single house owned by weekenders.

Your choice, as far as I'm aware, is between:
- the Woodstock solution: nice microtown with activities but slightly cramped hotels. Woodstock itself has a peculiarly recent (1878!!!) church which just doesn't feel English at all. But its Xmas Eve service is at a comforting 11.30 pm. Most other microtowns with nice hotels have proper medieval churches: in the Cotswolds, usually with real sheep bleating nearby just as the shepherds crop up.
- the Barnsley House solution: one of dozens of pleasant enough country houses - all with little else going on. Almost by definition, none will have a church within easy walking distance
- the New Cotswold solution: one of the two Soho House properties (Babington House or Soho Farmhouse) where there's a lot organised, or the Daylesford sprawl. Problem with the latter is the Wild Rabbit (the restaurant with rooms: the term "inn" is never used in English the way it is in American) is 2 miles from the Bamford Haybarn spa.

Both the Barnsley House-style places and the Soho House properties are used to arranging cabs or minibuses to take guests to Christmas services or to the nearest microtown.
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