As we departed Coworth Park, I was reminded of the frantic beginning of The Haunting of Hill House, where the family is scrambling to escape, with no time to do anything but flee from the present horror.  Such was the rush of our departure, they probably thought we were stealing the entire contents of the room.  It was the first time I’ve ever departed a hotel early – whilst having enjoyed the stay.

Once upon a time

Twas a November in the 80s when I entered the world, the same way I enter most hotels: screaming and deeply unappreciative.  We returned to Coworth Park for the first time in five years to celebrate such an occasion.  Not that they had done anything wrong, simply that as an Englishman I think everything English is rubbish, but also factually I am correct when it comes to English countryside properties.

Just like during our 2017 stay, we were in a Mansion House Premium Suite, one of their top suites.  The room setup was wonderful; just enough balloons that my two-year-old daughter needed to be put on suicide watch to prevent her from swallowing them all, lots of goodies and even gift-wrapped presents for the children.  Cos that’s what your birthday becomes when you get old: making sure your children are happy.  Not from altruism, just to stop them complaining.  Their only failing was the horse based chocolate, which went against everything I believe in and used dark chocolate.  It seems a common theme that properties try and personalise a stay, but ignore the key ingredient: actually personalising it.

The suite is around 120sqm and offers plenty of space; it’s light and modern and has uninterrupted views over the meadows and polo fields.  Problemo is, functionally-wise, it needs improving.  The sound isolation is very poor, demonstrated by us being able to hear people in the corridors and our neighbours clearly being able to hear my spawn as they asked to move.  It used to be me complaining about children, but now I can’t call the GM to complain about my own.

The heating system has no display, so you’re left to turn a dial in the hope it does something; either the underfloor heating did not work in the bathroom or it doesn’t exist, and worse of all, there are no Toto’s.  I haven’t wiped my own arse in months, I was this close to calling the butler to come do it for me.  What am I, some kinda animal that does it himself?!

Coworth Park is a vast property that offers a lot of facilities, but with only 70 rooms, it retains the exclusivity that makes it luxurious.  With its tennis courts, gardens, two lakes, polo fields, croquet lawn and kids club, there is plenty on offer here, but what really makes Coworth stand out is the equestrian focus.  Children aged 4+ can have horse riding lessons and with the stables right next to the kids club, that means you can leave your children there all day whilst Professor McHorse looks after them.

The grounds and beautiful gardens are immaculate.  Inside everything felt very Christmassy with the decorations and two trees and a pianist playing the usual hits that keep Mariah Carey’s offshore accounts in a healthy condition.

The spa and gym is a short walk from the main house and offers a 30C lap pool, steam room, gym and cafe. I didn’t understand why we had to book their children-friendly hours when people without children were there, but with all the horses around it is easy to get kicked in the head by one.

The food had improved significantly.  Every meal was fantastic, even the fine-dining option, Woven by Adam Smith.  I tend to avoid fine dining because after trying a mere thousand Michelin star restaurants, I started to realise a pattern: I didn’t like them.  I just want some nice food, I don’t want someone to extract a whale’s fart, spray it into my face and claim it’s a culinary masterpiece.  Woven created that perfect blend of quality food that didn’t need to try too hard.  Breakfast has a small but decent selection of yoghurts, pastries and a must-try strawberry and chia seed pudding, as well as the usual a la carte classics like avocado on toast and a full English.  The in-room dining menu is the same as their drawing room, which again was excellent, and then there’s a third restaurant at the Barn, which we never had a chance to try, although it was the best offering on our previous stay.

The service was always friendly, warm and on-hand.  I was downstairs at 4 am and almost immediately had someone making me a drink.  They could not have been more helpful and accommodating with our children during lunchtime.

Departure

Around 5 pm, as we had finished at the pool and were already settling down for the day, we realised how close to home we were.  We were either going to spend the night here, wake up, have breakfast and leave, or we could head home now, sleep in a better, more comfortable, more luxurious setting.  That’s what we settled for.  So we left.  I’m sure Coworth were wondering what the hell happened as we rushed to leave to get home before Meltdown Hour took place, but sometimes, just sometimes, home is where the heart is.  And other times it’s a place where your room is legally far away enough from your children that you can’t hear them screaming.

The Good

  • Food
  • Service
  • Facilities

The Bad

  • Rooms need some minor upgrades
  • With Coworth a mere 20 minutes from Heathrow, there is a lot of noise

The Luxurious

  • Stunning grounds
  • Ideal for (platonic) horse lovers

Rating

Good.  If we were talking exclusively English countryside properties, then I’d give it Luxurious, but alas, we live in a global world, baby.

Conclusion

If you thought I was fussy before, wait until you meet Tom 2.0 Ultimate Twat Edition.  Ya see, we’ve been unsuccessfully trying to move home for the last three years, but as we knew we were moving, we didn’t spend anything on the house.  Not to say I lived a life like George Clooney in Up in the Air – our house was never that glamorous – but let’s just say there was room for improvement.  Fast forward to July, and we’ve moved, got a significant upgrade and spent a tidy sum on turning it into a home.  It now means our expectations are even higher.  So when Lucie started comparing the bedsheets here to a hospital bed and wishing we were home, I realised I am both Frankenstein and his monster.

Coworth Park is actually a great property.  With beautiful grounds, well-designed rooms, excellent food, good service, and great facilities.  Just not as good as my house.

Room type: Mansion House Premium Suite Duration: 19 November > 21st November, 2022.  £2300/n

Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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