Down Hall is one of them. Just 45 minutes on the train from Liverpool Street and a short 10 minute text from Bishop’s Stortford, this 14th century country house features contemporary bedrooms, a brand new spa and a AA Rosette awarded restaurant. If you need an idyllic country escape from London, you’ve found it.
If, however the idea of being sociable and active is too much, fear not, as the newly-opened Eden Spa offers a hydrotherapy pool, mood lit sauna with full height timber cladding and tiered seating and a state of the art steam room with starry night feature lighting. Is there anything more satisfying than a spa circuit? If it all gets a bit much, there’s also a relaxation room to chill in pre or post, though it could do with some blankets to up the cosiness.
Puddings include the likes of gluten free passion fruit parfait, mango cheesecake with coconut sorbet, lime and mint sauce and chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, but when faced with a pick and mix cheese board with Reblochon as an option, there’s not really any contest.
There are things to do in and around the local area, if you so desire it, but when faced with a country house hotel with stunning grounds, a stellar restaurant and spa, there’s not really any point in straying from the grounds. The prospect of being in the countryside there within an hour of finishing work on a Friday, indulging your palate and waking up far from the city hustle with a full English and a hydrotherapy pool stretched out before you is one I imagine will be tickling a lot of fancies right about now.
Most suited for: Those seeking a country escape a mere 45 minutes from London
Best bits: The food; we loved the fresh, full flavours and the well thought out menu
Worst bits: The spa’s relaxation room needs some blankets to up the cosy factor a little bit
Down Hall Country House Hotel
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★