Glass escapes to the countryside at The Retreat, Elcot Park

STEEPED IN history, The Retreat at Elcot Park is one of Berkshire’s most luxurious hotels. Bought by Lady Elizabeth Shelley – the mother of famed Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley – in 1844,  The Retreat is an oasis of tranquillity hidden amongst the North Wessex Downs.

Boasting sixteen acres of grounds, two magnificent restaurants, a wellness spa and an array of welcoming communal spaces – including a spectacular whiskey library – the boutique hotel intertwines modern facilities with countryside living.

The Retreat Elcot Park

The Retreat Elcot Park

Upon entering the Grade II listed 18th-century country house, I am immediately impressed by The Retreat’s incredible hospitality. The staff eagerly greet us with a glass of wine – a signature welcome for all Signet Collection hotels – and attend to our every need.

Whilst sipping my glass of white wine, the renovated mansion’s interiors – designed by Taylor and Turner – spark endless interest. Marvellous historical paintings adorn the walls, tall windows provide views over Berkshire’s rolling fields, and original fireplaces exude additional warmth and comfort.

The Retreat Elcot Park

The rooms echo the magnificence of the hotel’s entrance. Featuring four-poster beds, bespoke William Edwards crockery, smart televisions and eye-catching copper bathtubs, tradition is playfully intertwined with opulent décor. Consisting of 55 rooms – including three prestigious suites named after the estates’ former owners – The Retreat is not shy of options.

The Retreat Elcot Park

As families parade through the lobby with their furry friends, it becomes clear that The Retreat’s allure isn’t limited to a sole demographic. From city workers seeking respite to couples looking for a romantic getaway, the hotel caters to all.

For those keen to visit during the warmer months, The Retreat offers a range of activities to enjoy under the summer sun, such as Jenga, Connect 4, falconry, croquet, motorbiking and tennis. Moreover, it’s impossible to not gravitate towards The Retreat’s heated outdoor infinity pool – part of the hotel’s state-of-the-art wellness facilities.

The Retreat Elcot Park

Housing an additional hydrotherapy pool, Himalayan salt sauna, aroma steam room, salt flotation pod and a sparkling gym, The Retreat’s Signet Spa has all faces covered. During my stay, I opt for a GAIA body massage to see if the skincare brand’s natural products live up to their flawless reputation. And I am not disappointed.

My masseuse, Joane, exhibits her wealth of expertise while teaching me about GAIA’s paraben-free, sulphate-free, silicone-free ingredients. Available to hotel guests and members of The Retreat’s lifestyle club, the Signet Spa is a must-visit during one’s stay.

Having built up an appetite after my massage, I decided to visit Yü – one of The Retreat’s dining options. Serving dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and lunch from Thursday to Saturday, Yü offers delectable pan-Asian cuisine.

Standout dishes include the Japanese miso chicken, miso-marinated black cod and the signature sushi platters. And if you find yourself craving more of Yü’s culinary delights during your stay, do not fret. The Retreat also offers sushi-making workshops led by its sushi master, George, where one will learn all the secret tips and tricks to making the best sushi rolls.

Alternatively, for guests wanting to grab a lighter bite or a hearty breakfast, 1772 Brasserie is the place to be. Named after the year the original house was built, the second dining option offers a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. Offering traditional Sunday roasts and carefully curated afternoon tea arrangements, it’s evident that The Retreat has a real knack for food and drink.

The Retreat Elcot Park

Ushering in Spring break with an egg hunt, an artisan market and complimentary kids dining, there’s no better time to escape to The Retreat. Located just a 45-minute train journey from London, The Retreat is the perfect countryside getaway.

by Sophie Richardson

Nightly rates start at £180 per night on a B&B basis for two people including taxes and fees.

For more information and to book, please visit here.