1967. It was the Summer of Love and a social movement of 100,000 people converging in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. They were a community of artists, musicians and poets who wore hippie dress, rejected consumerism, opposed the Vietnam War and spread a message of peace and love. Fast forward 50 years… and we’re not in California but sunny Watford…and a celebration of this revolutionary time at The Grove hotel.
Regular readers will know of my love for this hotel, once known as the Groovy Grand, The Grove hotel has always been a place that does things differently. Quite simply the perfect place to celebrate the anniversary of the Summer of Love and with a journey time from London of around 45 minutes, the hotel has been given the nickname ‘London’s Country Estate.’
After a bit of A-list celebrity spotting as we arrived, Gary and I headed to the back of the hotel and the formal gardens to witness the transformation. The usual gorgeous topiary, stunning water features and perfectly manicured lawns have been joined by the Summer of Love Flower Power Bar, a vintage VW campervan that has been transformed into a fully functioning mobile bar.
And embracing the psychedelic spirit of the sixties, you can pull up a bean bag or relax on a deck chair as you watch bubbles drift through the air.
You can even head down the rabbit hole with these over-sized deck chairs.
Gary and I were soon joined by Claire and we started the serious business of ordering up some cocktails.
The Peace Out 1967 Punch combines Plantation rum with orange curacao, raspberry syrup, fresh lemons and ginger. Served with ice with fresh lemon verbena and summer fruits.
Designated driver, Claire, enjoyed the Love Heart; cucumber and mint with fresh lime and agave nectar and a good splash of apple juice.
As soon as I heard what was in the Flower Power Fizz, I knew that was my drink. Grand Marnier combines with Chambord, and strawberry puree with a top up of Skinny Prosecco and orange oils.
The Groovy Grove cocktail reminded me of my recent trip to the Caribbean and drinking Pina Coladas. It was a combination of Plantation 3 white rum and shaken with pineapple juice, coconut cream and served with tropical fruits in a highly Instagrammable cup. The fruits in the drinks are even sourced from The Grove’s own Walled Garden which is not only contains a vegetable garden and fruit trees but also an urban beach, swimming pool and tennis court.
As well as groovy cocktails, retro snacks are available too and being a child of the eighties, cheese and pineapple on sticks and cantaloupe melon wrapped in ham reminds me of child hood birthday parties!
The beautiful country house is actually located on a golf course so the grounds are vast with lots of areas to explore. Just behind the Summer of Love pop up is a beautiful water feature and the garden is in bloom for spring time.
There’s several restaurants to choose from at The Grove; The Stables is the casual option, Colette’s for fine dining and the Glasshouse for international food. For chilled out summer vibes, I’d definitely recommend The Stables as it also has a gorgeous terrace and you can enjoy a menu of British classics, fish and grills
Once the hotel’s stable block, it’s informal but local and seasonal ingredients mean that the food is delicious. I very much enjoyed my squid and sea bass, while Gary and Claire were impress by the prawns, steak and burger respectively.
I seriously recommend a trip to The Grove Hotel to visit the Summer of Love Pop Up Cocktail Bar but get there soon as the bar is only open until 28th August. Head down between 5 – 9pm for pre or post dinner cocktails whilst enjoying the Great British Summertime.
We were guests of The Grove.