Hotel review: Sanctum on the Green, Berkshire
Filed under: Be A Supergirl
USP: Managing to squeeze everything you might want from a weekend away into one gorgeous hotel. Peace and quiet in the English countryside? Tick. Vintage chic meets rustic charm? Check. Spa, pool, hot tub, anti-ageing expert, celebrity-chef backed restaurant, extensive cocktail and champagne list? Yep. Seriously, do you actually want anything more?
Book now if: You need an escape to the country but you're not a fan of old-world chintz. It's less than an hour's drive from London so it's perfect for a quick getaway to relax, intimate enough for a romantic weekend a deux and perfectly pampering if you're planning a hen do or a girly getaway.
Bedding down: If the bedrooms were any more glamorous, you'd need to wander around in shades and red lippie the whole time - there's only nine in the hotel, so you're guaranteed privacy. From the sparkly diamante-encrusted handles to the metallic snakeskin cushions on the bed, there's gorgeously girly touches everywhere. With a huge and comfy king-size bed and bath big enough for a six-footer in some deluxe rooms, the boys don't have much to complain about either. The bathroom, complete with Ren toiletries, is in a corner of the bedroom, behind a lacquered screen and coloured glass bricks, so be warned if you're shy. The toilet is tucked away in a separate room though.
Feed me: Celebrity chef John Burton-Race is the man behind the restaurant, so you're guaranteed a fantastic meal. There's tables outside in the courtyard if you fancy eating al fresco, although you'll love the comfy leather backed chairs in the main restaurant – see if you can snaffle the alcove by the window for an intimately private meal. Start in the lounge on the striped velvet armchairs with a cocktail or two – as well as the usual suspects, there's a string of champagne-based options (which you can have made with Prosecco if you prefer) and martinis. The pear-flavoured Flirtini is tough to beat, but Country Daze, made with limoncello and butterscotch schnapps, manages it, tasting of lemon buttercream. The dishes on the menu are simple rather than packed with obscure ingredients and interminable cheffy jargon, but that means it's easy to tell how beautifully cooked everything is. Roast beef was perfectly pink and the vegetables were buttery and crisp, while slow-cooked duck was meltingly good.
Easily bored: It's tricky to get fed up of lounging around the pool, moving from lounger to comfy chair to hot tub, before having a dip in the heated water, but you could make time for treatments in the spa – facials cost around £50, and there's an anti-ageing expert on staff (not that you'd need it). All treatments must be booked in advance. But if you do want to venture out of the village of Cookham Dean, you're five to ten minutes drive from Marlow (depending if you get lost in the picturesque country lanes). Take a wander along the river, mooch through the town's boutiques, or stop for a drink at one of the traditional country pubs. You're also around 20 minutes from both Henley and Windsor, and the hotel can help you arrange horse riding and kayaking.
What's the damage: Rooms cost from £120. Deluxe bedrooms are £160 and the pool house, sleeping six, costs from £500 per night. The special Pool House Party Pamper Package costs £185 per person, based on six sharing, with private transfers to and from London, or £155 from Maidenhead. The package includes cocktails on the rooftop at Sanctum Soho, London, check-in martinis, deluxe manicure, a night in the pool house and morning-after champagne breakfast, plus transfers. Dinner costs from £25 per person for three courses.
Point me in the right direction: Sanctum On The Green, The Old Cricket Common, Cookham Dean, Berkshire, SL6 9NZ (01628 482 638/www.sanctumonthegreen.com).