I stood holding Oscar in the beautiful lobby of the distinguished Beaverbrook Hotel in the Surrey Hills waiting for Mr S to park the car… when suddenly BLEURGH…. Oscar was sick all over himself, me, the floor, my handbag everywhere… and the poor little thing was shaking with stress. I know my blog posts don’t usually start on a note like this but bear with me… A man wearing a mask walked past me saying … ‘That’ll be a good story to tell her when she’s older.’ I smiled and nodded as the vomit sat there on my poor baby and all over my arm.
Then one of the hotel staff came up to me ‘That man who just spoke to you… that was Paul McCartney’
Er what? He subtly opened the door to the room that the man had just entered which was the hotel’s private cinema and there he was, the man, the legend, Paul McCartney. I just had time to get over my shock when finally Mr S came back in and we hurried up to our room to clean Oscar and for me to wash myself up. Quite a monumental start to our weekend at Beaverbrook where we would be celebrating my sister’s 40th Birthday with our family.
And by the way if you were worried about O, poor little man gets car sick and was right as rain very quickly bless him.
But lets go back and start from the beginning – this beautiful country house was built in 1866 for business man Abraham Dixon. But it was in 1910 that most famous resident, Lord Beaverbrook, purchased the house after seeing it during a drive with his friend Rudyard Kipling. So you see this is a house that has a long history of celebrity residents. Lord Beaverbrook spent thousands updating the house including adding a swimming pool and that aforementioned cinema room – one of the first home cinemas in the UK and it still retains the original wood panelling!
Around this time Lord Beaverbrook became a MP, he was knighted by George V and he took a stake in the Evening Standard.
During World War II Beaverbrook’s friend, Winston Churchill, became Prime Minister whilst Beaverbrook himself was appointed Minister of Aircraft Production. He introduced the wartime ‘Saucepans for Spitfires’ campaign, which encouraged people to donate their aluminium pans to be melted down to make much-needed Spitfires. Lord Beaverbrook and Sir Winston Churchill even discussed strategy during war in the cinema room!
This element of Beaverbrook’s life is honoured around the estate with model spitfire planes and black and white wartime photographs. Lord Beaverbrook died in 1963, leaving his wife the house and then in 2011 the house was acquired and with a lavish redesign by Susie Atkinson turning it into the beautiful hotel that it is today. A new hotel to our family, we loved the idea of the close proximity to London and the child-friendly nature of the place which was why it was the chosen venue for the big 4 – 0!
The estate is divided into three areas all with distinct characters… Our room was located in the main house and named ‘Rudyard Kipling’ just as all the rooms are named after the house’s previous famous residents. My sister was in the room once slept in by the infamous Duchess of Windsor.
Classic decor is the style in the main house where there are 18 bedrooms. Relaxing, feminine pastel tones and floral wallpaper give this room an elegant yet rustic feel and big windows mean it’s filled with light. A cot was provided for Oscar as well as baby toileteries and he loved the duck in the spitfire plane, a further nod to the house’s owner. And for adults there’s complimentary Sipsmith Slow Gin and soft drinks in the mini bar.
Books and stories written by the room’s most famous resident are piled up on the side and I can just imagine ‘Rud’ as Lord Beaverbrook used to call his friend looking out from these windows.
The bathroom is zen and white just as you hope hotel bathrooms would be with underfloor heating, divine Bamford products, fluffy slippers and robes. There was a shower over our bath but all rooms have a different configuration, my sister’s room had a separate shower. I would say overall the size of the room was ok but the value for money isn’t great, I’ve definitely stayed in more generous rooms for that price.
My parents stayed in the Garden House which is has all the charm of the country cottage with 11 more rustic style rooms themed around botanicals. Lastly are the Coach House rooms which have private access and are great for families.
The main house is home to this Victorian staircase which sits under the original domed atrium, opposite is a tapestry by celebrated artist, Gerhard Richter, created in 2009 which is just one of the many original art pieces exhibited in the house. Others include portraits of Roger Moore as James Bond in the Ian Fleming room by famous photographer Terry O’Neill CBE as well as black and white photographs by world-renowned photographer, Lord Snowden who was married to Princess Margaret and stained- glass panels from Brian Clarke’s celebrated Spitfire collection line the staircase. One of the most exciting pieces in the house is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling especially for Lord Beaverbrook.
The main house is home to Frank’s Bar, one of the most beautiful rooms in the house. It’s been named after Sir Frank Lowe, the curator of the arts and interiors at Beaverbrook and is lined with 350 paintings by the Victorian botanical artist, Marianne North. A gold bar, and sumptuously comfy sofa make this the most inviting place for a pre-cocktail.
The Japanese Grill in the main house is the hotel’s signature restaurant and is headed up by Chef Wojciech Popow who has experience working for Gordan Ramsay and at Noma before becoming deputy chef at one of London’s top sushi restaurant, Yashin. He founded the Polish Association of Sushi Chefs and is the winner of the prestigious global Sushi Awards 2014. His passion lies in combining foraged fermented and garden grown ingredients with Japanese fare. Interestingly some of the dishes contain Kentish ants to give a citrus flavour! We opted for the ant free option though.
My sister and I both love Japanese food and sushi so we chose this restaurant for the night of her 40th birthday. FYI they don’t allow children in this restaurant in the evening.
Here’s a selection of a few things that we had:
Hokkaido scallop and brill ceviche with tiger milk, lime zest and benitade.
Popcorn shrimp with spicy mayo and ponzu.
Spicy tuna with avocado, spicy mayo & bubu arare
Toro with truffle yuzu miso and fresh truffle.
Everything was excellent and among some of the best Japanese food I’ve found in the UK.
We ate breakfast here too and it was both delicious and beautifully presented.
Mum and baby smoked salmon and scrambled eggs! It was really great to see such a diverse menu even for kids meals.
The main house opens on to the Italianate gardens with a view of the North Downs – it’s hard to believe it’s still so close to the city.
If you head to the hotel right now you can discover six grounded hot air balloons which have been installed for the hotel’s ‘Reach for the Sky ‘experience which sees guests enjoying the Japanese tasting menu in a unique private dining situation. Oh and I saw Zoe Ball while walking past the hot air balloons!
Walking further down the grounds is a children’s playground and treehouse where I saw the team from the Sharkey and George Kids club leading activities. The kids club is run every weekend and during school holidays and kids older than five can partake in many fun activities such as treasure hunts, geocaching, laser tag, den building and more. FYI babysitting is also available.
Elsewhere there’s a ton of activities for young and not so young such as clay pigeon shooting, fishing, tennis and table tennis, badminton, boules, e-bikes and cycling and more. There’s also a cookery school run by chef Gerard Molloy, a Bear Grylls academy and the private cinema of course (where Paul McCartney hangs out) with children’s screenings too.
The next part of the hotel to explore is the Garden House. As the name describes this wing of the building is surrounded by a kitchen garden, with produce used in the restaurant.
The Garden House restaurant serves British classics, some of which have an Italian twist with Chef Barret Jones at the helm. He is passionate about the food he serves which includes elevated pastas, risottos, soups, salads and grills – everything was delicious and the ingredients were so fresh.
We ate at the Garden House twice – dinner on the first night and for my sister’s birthday lunch.
Wild garlic and white onion soup crème fraîche and black olive
Chicory, toasted seeds and smoked pecorino
Kids fish and chips.
Seabass with local market vegetables.
The birthday girl and her cake!
F & B is an area where Beaverbrook really excels but I have to say I was disappointed with the options for kids. We got room service dinner for the children on the first night and in the main house they only serve a kids menu of Japanese food. Not ideal for fussy eaters! When we got them food at the Garden House restaurant absolutely everything came with chips and there were limited healthy options. They did however prepare me a pasta dish for Oscar that wasn’t on the menu.
The final area of the hotel is the Coach House which is the location of the spa and the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pool. The spa has a holistic approach that is inspired by nature – an idea that is also evident in the beautiful interior design of the coach house with it’s floral motifs and mosaics.
The pool terrace has been landscaped to harmonise with the beautiful surroundings and I can imagine on a sunny day it would feel like a Mediterranean garden. There’s a children’s splash pool too plus family changing facilities making it easy for little ones.
And there’s always the indoor pool to retreat to on rainy days.
Facials, massages, and beauty treatments are on the spa menu and the expert therapists use the most natural products. There are six treatment rooms including a couples room as well as a beauty room, Bath House, a boutique and a deli with pizza oven.
I did find the pizza a little salty though.
Staff are dressed in 1920’s attire, flat caps and cricket jumpers to give off the utterly British vibes of the hotel and true to form service was truly impeccable. There were a few niggles during our stay for example there was a mistake with our booking in the Japanese restaurant but they sorted us out quickly with a table and gave us a bottle of champagne free to make up for it!
Beaverbrook truly is a place for the whole family, and somewhere I’ll definitely return to… and who knows who I’ll see there?
Great for Kids:
Sharkey and George kids club
Indoor and outdoor pool
Playground, treehouse and a multitude of activities available on site.
Great for Parents:
High end Japanese restaurant and excellent F & B
Private cinema room
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