As the year has progressed, and it became clear that we were not going to be able to celebrate our birthdays as planned, or go abroad for our planned special holiday, I started to hatch a plan to have some fun closer to home.
The Grove hotel is a luxury hotel based on the outskirts of London, very close to where we live. We usually love staying there as a mini break because of its fantastic service, lovely grounds and yummy food options, as well as it being very convenient for us to get to.
Knowing that it was likely that it wouldn’t be open for too long as we approached the winter months and likely more lockdowns, I decided to quickly capitalise on it reopening after lockdown and book a nights stay so that we could have some relaxing time ‘away’ (even if away meant a 20 minute drive from our house 😅)
This post is a review of our stay, including a look inside the Presidential Suite, the afternoon tea and the Grove grounds!
A quick note on COVID precautions. Upon booking, they told us that they were requiring all guests to wear masks indoors when they were walking through the hotel, but that you could remove your mask when you were seated. Additionally, the hotel was complying with the 10pm curfew rule, so from 10pm, all hotel guests had to be in their rooms. They had also reconfigured areas like the bar and restaurants to ensure that people could seated at safe distances.
The Presidential Suite
To make our stay feel extra-special, we booked the Presidential Suite, which is located inside the Grove’s 18th Century mansion house. The suite contains one bedroom, as well as a spacious lounge and gorgeous marble bathroom. It also has stunning views out across the beautifully manicured Grove grounds.
Upon arrival into the suite, we were greeted with a bottle of champagne, a beautiful fruit tray and a welcome note from the Grove staff. Little touches like that always make you feel very welcome 🥰
Here are some pictures from inside the suite:
I love the colour palette in the bedroom – warm, cosy and feminine. There were also a couple of extra touches that I loved – one was that the bed has a TV that emerges from the end of it, so you can lie back and watch TV cocooned in this amazing 4 poster bed! The second touch was the amount of mirror options in the room! You can see that there is a gigantic full length mirror (perfect for selfies!), as well as mirrored cabinetry and a mirror over the dressing table. For somebody that likes to take her time getting ready, this setup was a dream!
I think the lounge was my favourite part of the suite. Again, cosy, warm and inviting – it wants you to spend time there and relax.
There is a very deep, comfy sofa to sit on, as well as a few other seating options including a writing desk, a small dining table and a couple of other armchairs. Other features include a working fireplace, a TV, and a little ‘library’ featuring a selection of books.
There is also (not pictured) a mini bar area including all the usual things like kettle, cups and saucers, glasses etc. Usually outside of COVID, the fully complimentary minibar would be stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as nibbly food options. However, a note of caution that the hotel advised us that due to COVID, they were not stocking the minibars right now. They did however, give us the option to call room service and order some nibbles and alcohol free of charge direct to the room.
Now this is a bathroom!
Again, the amount of mirror options is perfect for somebody like me! An entire wall of the bathroom is covered in mirror squares!
But enough about mirrors, the real centrepiece of this bathroom is the ENORMOUS marble bathtub, with its fully transparent front! It’s definitely a novelty to have a bath in a partly transparent tub, let alone one as large as this. Despite its size, the tub takes a surprisingly short time to fill. Another small touch is the candles and ESPA bath goodies that are left by the bath for you to enjoy – which all smelled delicious and made for a very nice, foamy bath!
Afternoon Tea at the Grove is something we had never done before, and to be completely honest with you, was not even in our plans for the stay. However, when we got there, we were so hungry that an afternoon tea had never sounded more appealing. And if you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for an afternoon tea, so I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity! 😅
Before we get on to the food itself, I want to take a moment to show you the lounge where we ate. There are actually multiple rooms where you can eat your afternoon tea, all decorated differently, but I’m really glad we got this one, because its just a VIBE.
Let’s just say I’m obsessed with the wallpaper and matching curtains!
The eagle-eyed among you will also spot that the last pic is of a different room, so you can see how the interior design varies from room to room. The last room also had a real-life harpist serenading everyone as they ate, which was an excellent extra touch.
Okayyyy harpists are cool but we all want to see the food right? Here goes:
Although its an afternoon TEA, I actually didn’t take any pictures of the tea, but you’ll have to take my word for it that there was a great tea selection and I enjoyed mine very much!
For me its all about the food, so I have lots of pics of that! Above you’ll see both the savoury and sweet courses. The savoury sandwich selection was TOP TIER! Genuinely. I loved every single sandwich! On offer was:
- Salmon – Smoked salmon on brioche, mascarpone cream
- Chicken – Chicken with truffle and tarragon crème fraiche on white bread
- Ham– Ham with grain mustard butter on wholemeal bread
- Egg – Egg mayonnaise with land cress on wholemeal bread
- Cheese – Classic cucumber and cream cheese with dill on white bread
The bread was cut generously and the fillings didn’t skimp either. I had seconds of the chicken and of the egg 🤤
For the sweet course, the pastries on offer were:
- Almond and cherry tart
- Passion fruit meringue chou
- Grue de cacoa chocolate brownie
- Caramel and apple petit gateaux
- Chocolate and cherry slice
- Earl grey and lemon loaf
My two absolute favourites which I captured with their own up-close pics were the passion fruit meringue chou and the caramel and apple petit gateaux. Both were so yummy.
Finally, if you can believe I still had room for it, there were scones with a great selection of different flavoured jams and of course cream. The scones came plain or with raisins and you could of course request your preference if you wanted. I think I was basically in a food coma by this point so I didn’t take any pictures of the scones 🙁
Overall, I really really rate this afternoon tea, because literally everything was yummy as well as being beautifully presented. The service was very attentive and prompt as well.
The Grove Grounds
The Grove is set on a mammoth 300 acres and so has a lot for you to explore outside. There are a lot of woodland trails to walk on, a golf course, a formal garden area and a walled garden with a pool (best enjoyed in summer!)
Outside of these specific areas, it is just a joy to walk around the immediate grounds around the rooms and restaurants. We went for a little meander to walk off some of our afternoon tea, and walked through some beautifully looked after garden areas:
The main event, however, was to go and do an activity on the grounds – something that neither of us had ever done before: Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting! This is like clay pigeon shooting, except there are no actual rounds involved, its all done by lasers. Its actually really clever in that its able to immediately detect and tell you if you’ve hit the target with your laser.
Each 45 minute session includes:
- An intro and safety briefing
- A quick training session with a dedicated instructor, so you know how to operate the gun and how the games work. I went in feeling like I would just be the worst and not understand anything, and our instructor was very patient, clear and really helped us have fun!
- A series of fun competitive games – perfect for us as we love being in competition!
Don’t be fooled though – the gun is still fairly weighty, and after 45 minutes you will feel like you’ve done an intensive arm workout! In the third picture, you can see how scores are kept through a board that immediately updates with real time info on if you’ve hit the target, who hit it quicker, and what the overall scores are.
I really enjoyed this activity and would 100% go back and do it again. It was a lot of fun with just the two of us but you could also play with up to 4 others, so great for a group activity as well that is safe and very socially distanced!!
There’s a few other bits that I didn’t take pictures of but that are worth a quick mention.
There are two main restaurants to recommend at the Grove. The Stables is more low-key, informal dining – perfect for a hearty brekkie, or a gastropub style evening meal. Its also great for a lunch stop-in! The Glasshouse and its accompanying bar is more formal dining. Usually it operates a delicious buffet with lots of varied stations, but due to COVID is currently on table service.
We ate in the Glasshouse this time round and even though it was slightly different to usual, enjoyed the meal (albeit not as much as usual as I do normally like going round all of the varied buffet stations!)
One better for non-COVID times, but I do want to give an honourable shout out to the spa at The Grove. I’ve visited a few times and always had a very relaxing, pampering experience. They have a range of treatments, as well as a lovely pool to enjoy.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Grove, even though it was slightly different to usual, and look forward to going back again in better times! Any questions, please comment below!