Take a trip to The Langley in Buckinghamshire to discovers a Grade II historic property given a 21st-century makeover.
Don’t be put off by your drive through Slough – the route to The Langley in Buckinghamshire is a touch misleading. Within a few minutes you will find yourself in an entirely different world.
Once the hunting lodge of the third Duke of Marlborough, dating back some 230 years, it has recently completed a six-year, multi-million pound renovation, and is found at the heart of the Langley Park Estate, which has a heritage spanning back to the 13th century.
It may be a Luxury Collection Hotel – the top tier of the Marriot chain – but it is actually owned by Yemen-born Khalid Affara, and no expense has been spared on bringing the house back to its former glory. With a stand-out spa, inventive dining and glorious grounds, it’s giving the UK’s more-established country-house hotels a run for their money.
Choose from elegant rooms in the main house – there are 20 in total. The first floor quarters are large and light-filled, with views over the estate and Langley Lake. Marble bathrooms, eau de nil colourways and cosseting touches, such as Hermes toiletries, huge beds and thick carpets, feel plush and luxurious. The second floor guest rooms, meanwhile, found in the eaves of the house, have more character and even better views over the grounds, which were originally designed by landscape architect Capability Brown. For something more rustic, there are further rooms carved out of the 18th century The Brew House. Here, the décor is more country inspired – with tan leathers, russets and tweeds giving a cosy feel.
The interior design by Dennis Irvine Studio makes the most of many original period details married with pops of contemporary design. In the lobby, for instance, the original green-and-cream mosaic floor was uncovered under layers of carpet, while Doric columns and Venetian glass doors give a sense of aristocratic history. Giving the wow factor, there is a contemporary statement chandelier, by Dernier & Hamlyn, made of curved bronze branches ending in glass droplets, designed to reflect the woodland setting.
Head chef Antonio Cannavacciuolo’s seasonal menus capture the spirit of his Italian background, with signature dishes including black truffle fettuccine, lobster linguine and smoked aubergine gnocchi at the hotel’s signature Cedar restaurant.
A nod to local producers is given with the fact that all the meat, and vegetables are sourced from local suppliers based in and around Buckinghamshire. All-day dining is also available in the Churchill Bar, which is clubhouse in feel with restored ‘fake’ bookcases, which were all the rage in the 18th century, leather tub chairs and a humidor – expect crowd-pleasers such as cheese boards, roast beef on rye sandwiches and lobster cobb salad.
The Spa is a highlight. The sprawling subterranean space has female-only zones and a glam aesthetic – and is almost Middle Eastern in feel. There’s a 16-metre marble-lined pool, a juniper-wood sauna with pink Himalayan salt walls and an amethyst steam room. Treatments by Sisley and La Sultane de Saba are pampering, while the state-of-the-art gym has all the latest gadgetry, including an interactive fitness wall.
And after that?
In the winter, borrow a pair of Aigle welly boots and explore the country park and arboretum. In the summer, pack your swimming costume as there’s also an outdoor pool.
For the ultimate pampering session – go for one of the hammam experiences (these were a ‘must’ from the owner and they are very authentic). There’s also a great choice of treatments for men by Gentlemen’s Tonic.
Need to know
Rates at The Langley start from £425 per night, on a B&B basis. For more information or to book, visit the website here.