Quiet, rural location outside Great Milton village
Housed in 15th-century manor on garden-filled grounds
Superb Michelin-starred restaurant serving inventive French cuisine
Lavish, individually decorated rooms with marble bathrooms
All rooms have iPod docks, CD and DVD players, and flat-screen TVs
Some rooms have fireplaces
Acclaimed cooking school
Croquet and boules courts
Helipad for those with their own chopper or charter
Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
A bit far from area attractions
No fitness center, swimming pool, or full-service spa
No coffeemakers and minibars in rooms
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is a four-and-a-half-pearl luxury retreat in the Oxfordshire countryside, about a 20-minute drive from Oxford. The hotel is situated in a 15th-century manor house on secluded grounds with gardens and lakes. The big draw here is the dining: a two-Michelin-starred restaurant serving inventive French cuisine with produce from the hotel's gardens. Croquet and boules games are a frequent sight, but there's not much in the way of features otherwise. Each of the 32 rooms is individually named and decorated, and all have marble bathrooms, plush beds, and fine furnishings. Free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, CD and DVD players, and flat-screen TVs all come standard. Guests who want a less expensive hotel with an indoor pool and spa might consider the nearby The Oxford Belfry Hotel.
Elegant country retreat on garden-filled grounds for those wanting to unwind in undisturbed luxury
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons was opened by the French chef Raymond Blanc in 1984, but it's story goes farther back in time. It's housed in a 15th-century manor house set on 27 superbly landscaped acres with stately lawns, trees, manicured hedges, and plenty of flowers. Guests stroll the stone pathways past a walled garden and English water garden, and there are plenty of private, quiet areas to explore here. The Japanese garden is a particularly nice spot for reflection and relaxation. A mushroom valley, wildflower meadow, and orchard are also on the grounds. The hotel is known mostly for its two-Michelin-starred restaurant, and has features like a helipad, ensuring that the property maintains its luxury reputation. It draws mostly well-heeled couples to its lavish rooms, destination dining, and elegant but unstuffy atmosphere.
In rural Great Milton, a two-minute walk from Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
This elegant property is in the Oxfordshire countryside, about a a two-minute drive or a little under a 10-minute walk from the village of Great Milton. The village has a pub, post office, and general store, but little other commercial activity. It's a bit far from area attractions, but the advantage to the location is serenity. The hotel is a two-minute walk from the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, a 12th-century Norman church once visited by Oliver Cromwell. The Lych Gate Lane bus stop is a little under a five-minute walk and the M40 motorway is a five-minute drive from the hotel. Oxford will take about 20 minutes to reach by car, and is home to the University of Oxford and Ashmolean Museum. The nearest train station to the hotel is Haddenham & Thame Parkway, a 15-minute drive away, but many guests arrive at Oxford Station, which is 25 minutes away by car. London Heathrow Airport is a 35-minute drive from the hotel, while the center of London is an hour away by car.
Luxurious, individually decorated rooms with iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and DVD players
The spacious rooms and suites Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons have a sumptuous look, with plush beds, dark woods, and fine furnishings and antiques. Each of the 32 rooms has its own decorative scheme and name. Vettriano features Venetian masks, the Lace room showcases handcrafted lace, L'Orangerie has citrus scents, and the Opium room features Ming stone carvings. Other rooms have elements like hand-painted wallpaper, silk bed coverings, or 1920s-style mirrored furnishings. Many of the rooms sport vivid colors of lilac, red, or hyacinth blue, and some have views of the hotel's gardens. Standard features include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, iPod docks, CD players, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players and a wide range of international channels. Unfortunately, rooms lack coffeemakers and minibars. The nicest perks include wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, four-poster beds, and sofas or daybeds. Suites have sitting areas and some have private terraces -- the best of these lead to the hotel gardens. The spacious, stylish bathrooms are clad in marble. All come with bathrobes, slippers, and make-up mirrors. Some feature freestanding Victorian tubs, jetted tubs, or scented steam rooms. All rooms and public spaces at the hotel are non-smoking.
Michelin-starred fine dining, cooking school, in-room massages, and a croquet court
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons features one of England's best (and most expensive) dining experiences. Raymond Blanc's restaurant earned two Michelin stars upon opening in 1984, and has retained the rating to this day. The menu (with seasonal changes) emphasizes inventive modern French cuisine with local ingredients, including produce from the hotel's garden of 90 types of vegetables and 70 varieties of herbs. Lunch and dinner is served, with both five- and seven-course tasting menus and vegetarian options available. The quality and selection of wines is excellent. Outdoor dining is available in warm weather, and 24-hour room service is also available. The breakfast (for a fee) includes French and English fare, with dishes like smoked halibut with poached eggs. The hotel's famed cooking school offers a variety of courses and personalized instruction, with a focus on Raymond Blanc recipes. The Belmond Le Manoir has no swimming pool or fitness center -- in fact standard leisure facilities are limited here -- but it does offer in-room massage treatments (for a fee) and outdoor croquet and boules. The hotel offers bicycles, DVDs and video games, and in-room toy boxes for kids. The Le Manoir also has a helipad, cocktail bar, event spaces, wedding hosting, concierge service, and free parking. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
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