Have you ever experienced something so wonderful that you thought it might be a dream? Well that’s how I felt that morning when I woke up in this princess-bed at Cliveden House hotel.
Actually that’s not quite accurate, this wasn’t a bed for a princess…it was a bed for a Lady, Lady Astor to be specific!
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning…
The awesomeness of Cliveden House begins as soon as you enter the driveway and pull up towards this beautiful 17th Century country house in Berkshire.
Once through the doorway you’re immediately struck by the grandeur of the foyer and the history that just ebbs from the very walls of the place.
Art, antiques and artefacts are just everywhere and I was so blown away by the place I took 600 photos! That being said in my next post I’ll give you a full tour of the house and the history but in this one, I want to focus on the one amazing night that I had there with Mr S.
I was taken up the grandest wooden staircase and along the corridor…
‘Your room Mrs Silver…’
As you can see, the suite was utterly glorious! Originally the room of Lady Nancy Astor, the first ever woman MP, it’s suitably grand enough for this great figure in history. I could imagine Lady Astor retiring here after spending her days entertaining her famous friends, the Prince of Wales, George Bernard Shaw, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill.
Cliveden was built in 1666, but it was 1893 that was the golden age of the house when American entrepreneur William Waldorf Astor paid 1.25million to make Cliveden his home. But Lady Astor truly bought glamour to the house when her husband Waldorf Astor inherited the house in 1906. Lady Astor was beautiful and captivating and her election into parliament made Cliveden a hub of social and political importance.
The Lady Astor Suite is the top room at Cliveden House and I defy anyone not to be totally blown away by it. It’s certainly the grandest room that I’ve ever stayed in with the beautifully ornate headboard and a king-sized bed.
And your own private drawing room with brocaded sofas and sumptuous cushions. Everywhere you look there are antiques and original artwork but perhaps the most dramatic piece is the fireplace leading up the to beautiful high ceilings.
I loved this striking picture window, elegantly draped with curtains where perhaps the beautiful Lady Astor sat enjoying the view or maybe polishing her famous 55-carat diamond tiara!
Little touches really add to the room…sherry to drink before bed with a beautiful etching of the house on the decantor.
The TV is hidden away in this fine cabinet…
And I loved this desk from which I did my work from the next day, much like the early 20th Century politician who slept there previously.
The only touch of modernity in the room is the iPad, featuring all the details of activities and dining options at the hotel.
Now who doesn’t like a peek at a beautiful hotel bathroom…
And it’s safe to say that there was no disappointment here with the marble bathroom, deep soaking tub and powerful shower.
Products by Asprey completed the quite quintessentially English picture.
And there was a stunning vanity for getting ready for a date night if you’re me….or a glittering social event if you’re Lady Astor. But I haven’t shown you the best bit yet…
The room opens out into a vast terrace…
With a view of the hotel’s perfectly manicured grounds and the River Thames and home counties beyond.
I think that calls for a glass of champagne!
The residents’ bar is located in the library and with over 350 years of power, politics, scandal and celebrity taking place within the house, I can only imagine the secrets that this bar holds! The cocktails that we ordered both mark important moments in Cliveden’s history. Mr S’s Cliveden ’66 commemorates the date of the house being built and contains Belevedere vodka, Grand Marnier, Rose Liqueur and 24 Carat Gold served in a beautiful saucer glass.
My cocktail, named Profumo, references a scandalous event that has gone down in the history of the house. The infamous Profumo Affair dates back to 1961 and a hot summer’s day when model Christine Keeler was enjoying the outdoor pool at Cliveden. It was here that she encountered the married John Profumo, the British Secretary of State and they started an illicit affair which forever changed the course of British politics. The fruity blend of strawberry liquer, orange curcao, lychee liqueur and hibiscus flower topped with Taittinger Brut Rosé is a delicious concoction to commemorate the historical tryst.
Some delicious snacks whet our appetite for our upcoming dinner at the hotel’s fine dining André Garrett Restaurant and we enjoyed some light gougeres and crisps with a creamy pork mousse.
Every room in this hotel blew me away, and just like the rest of the house, the beautiful dining room had a dramatic high ceiling, hung with glittering chandeliers and beautiful artwork. With it being dark and not wanting to disturb the other guests I waited until the next day to get my photos of this beautiful room so be sure to read my next post to see more.
Mr S and I started our usual debate, do we get the tasting menu or do we go à la carte? In the end we settled for the latter as I actually think you try more dishes that way.
My starter was an absolutely gorgeous salad of Devon Crab with creamy avocado and a tang of zest from the lemon purée.
Mr S loved his starter of perfectly seasoned juicy prawns mixed with apples and radish.
Somerset-native André Garrett, previously a head at Galvin at Windows, opened his eponymous restaurant at Cliveden in 2013 with the aim of creating a menu of classics with a light and modern touch. Of course, produce is of prime importance and only fresh and seasonal ingredients appear in his dishes. The chef also oversees the menu at the hotel’s more casual restaurant, Astor Grill which I would be trying the next day.
My perfectly cooked sea bass simply flaked apart beautifully and I love the little creamy sauce enhanced with juicy mussels, enoki mushrooms and fregola. The kale added a touch of healthy green and a delicious crunch to the dish.
Mr S was also able to enjoy one of his favourites, a plate of succulent, rare lamb with sweet fresh peas and summer radish.
Next the cheese selection….OMG the cheese selection…It really was hard not to have a bit of everything but I’d seen the dessert options available so we limited ourselves to a few of our favourites. I love soft French cheeses so we had plenty of those!
Puddings were utterly perfect! A soufflé well risen is a thing of beauty and a drizzle of sweet raspberry was the ideal finishing touch. The pudding itself was light as air and not overly sweet, another dream come true.
Our dessert choice was several of my favourite sweet things combined into one glorious and beautifully presented plate. I love the combination of chocolate and mint and this ganache with aero, crumble and Morrocan mint ice cream couldn’t have been more perfect.
Our dream of a night had come to an end, and just like after one of the Astor’s famously fabulous parties, it was time to head back up that beautiful staircase to lay our heads in that beautiful bed fit for a lady!
PIN FOR LATER:
A huge thank you to Cliveden House for hosting me and providing my stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner on a complimentary basis.