Although typically British interventions threatened the Bank Holiday weekend, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa in Wiltshire still showcased the countryside at its best
Lucknam Park, located close to Bath, is a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels group – but as our journey west began we were encountering a typically British experience. It was a Bank Holiday weekend, so of course it was pouring with rain, and our plans for a nice relaxing train journey to avoid motorway traffic were crushed by a train strike for the whole weekend.
As luck – no pun intended – would have it, these series of events combined to give my wife and I quite an eye-opening welcome to the five-star luxury hotel. The rain had just relented when we turned onto the mile-long drive entranceway to Lucknam Park, an ideal opportunity to take in the magnificent surroundings. The bad weather, too, meant the fire was burning in the drawing room as a couple of families took afternoon tea. It was the perfect way to banish everything going outside in the real world.
Lucknam Park is a country house at its best, effortlessly elegant and full of history. I loved the sound of a floorboard squeak here and there as we were lead to the Juliet Suite. One of the hotel’s 42 individually styled rooms and suites, it’s deceptively large as we enter the sitting room, before winding round to the larger bedroom with even larger four-poster bed (there’s even a stool to help you clamber up). The view of the grounds from the sitting room was breathtaking.
Despite the rain, Karen was keen to try out the swimming pool (although only braved the 20m indoor pool, rather than the outdoor hydrotherapy pool) as I nosed around the hotel, meaning we were soon both eager for dinner at the Michelin-starred Park restaurant. Before coming here, our food columnist Tom Parker Bowles waxed lyrical about Executive Chef, Hywel Jones, and it was easy to see why. Karen’s haddock to start and turbot to follow were both fantastically cooked, whereas my cut of venison was a tender delight, accompanied by chocolate jelly, which delighted me far too much. It clearly got to Karen as she determinedly ordered ‘Caraibe’ chocolate bar with salted ice-cream to finish, despite claiming to be full. No wonder we needed a good hour of digestion by the fire in the library.
The rain continued the next morning, but we didn’t care one iota as we headed off to The Spa. Both opting for massages, we were taken to separate therapy rooms and my treatment was undoubtedly one of the best I have experienced. Being sporty, I often have niggles, but my masseuse could detect problem areas without me telling her – and even had some words of advice about how I could treat myself. Above and beyond service. The elements may have been conspiring against us, but if this is what country living in the UK is all about, we are proud to be a part of it.
Words: Mark Kebble
Mark Kebble was hosted by Lucknam Park, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of privately-owned independent British hotels. The beautiful Palladian mansion dates back to 1720 and is just six miles from Bath. Amongst its wonderful facilities, the hotel boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant The Park, an Equestrian Centre, Cookery School, and a spectacular spa and well-being house – offering a range of treatments including the one-hour Tension Release Massage (£96). A one-night stay in classic room costs from £275 per night (two sharing) including use of the spa. See more about Pride of Britain Hotels at prideofbritainhotels.com or call 0800 089 3929.