For any regular readers or guests at the hotel, you will have noticed that in the latest editions of Insight we have shared with you our top picks for the quiet and sometimes very secret escapes hidden across the Elite Hotels.
Here we put them all together to provide you with the definitive list in your quest for calm.
Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa
Kicking off proceedings we introduced you to our quest for calm series with the 1-hectare sunken woodland and rock garden which lays 150 metres east of the Mansion-house at Luton Hoo Hotel.
Sir Julius Wernher bought Luton Hoo in 1903, having made his fortune from South African diamond mines.
Upon purchase, Sir Julius commissioned the building of this beautiful garden as an act of love. A beautiful gift for his wife, Lady Alice, whom he described as ‘bright-eyed, fair-haired, small, intelligent and musical.’
The garden is expertly enclosed with mature trees and multiple shrubs and is set in a south-facing hollow within the pleasure grounds. Calmness dominates the garden thanks to the cascading pool system, which runs through the area and combines with related cliffs, caverns, paths and bridges and rocks. Open lawns flank the garden with abundantly planted rock plants and shrubs. The perfect oasis of calm.
Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club
Back in 2017 we shared perhaps one of our worst kept secrets that can be found hidden away at Ashdown Hotel, the aptly named, Secret Garden.
The secret garden was added to Ashdown Park’s glorious grounds in the 1920’s; around the same time, the Chapel and East Wing were built by the order of the Nuns of Notre Dame. Originally used as a contemplation garden by the nuns, it mainly consisted of shrubs, large rhododendrons and trees.
In 1974 Ashdown Park became a Barclays Bank Management Training Centre and remained as such until being sold to its present owners, Elite Hotels, in February 1993. It was Barclays Bank who commissioned the water feature which sits proudly at the heart of this blissful garden and has since become home to a ‘troubling’ of Gold Fish.
In 2010, following a combination of storm damage and the great magnitude some of the shrubs and rhododendrons had grown to, the secret garden was reinvented with a more delicate appearance. New roses and small flower beds were added to create the beautiful serene space you can enjoy today.
Guests are encouraged to explore Ashdown Park’s grounds during their stay, but shhh, don’t tell anyone – it’s our ‘secret’.
Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens
Beyond the manicured lawns of Tylney Hall Hotel, hidden in the 66-acre estate lies the serene and peaceful Water Garden.
Here you will see strands of bamboo hug the lake, and if you listen hard enough you will hear the tell-tale “plop” of fish feeding as dragonflies skim across the surface. The resident koi who live in the waterlily pond, often pop up to say hello when they hear the sound of passers-by and with a small trail and a few benches this is the perfect calm hideaway.
Originally constructed by Gertrude Jekyll, based on ground plans sent to her by Weir Schultz, the Water Garden was designed around one water course which linked the top to the bottom lake. In 1935 Woods of Taplow were commissioned to add the second watercourse and redesigned the first watercourse adding many pools and waterfalls using large quantities of Somerset Lime Stone.
Today the Garden is maintained by Paul Tattersdill, Head Gardner and his team as well as the rest of the Tylney Hall estate.
The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne
In our final instalment, we found one of our more obvious peaceful spots hidden, tucked away between reception and The Garden Restaurant sits the Concourse. This mini lounge is the perfect hideaway spot to find a place of calm.
Open all year round this is the perfect area to watch the seasons change, from the comfort of a warm armchair and optional warm beverage! The advantage of being inside means that you are covered from the elements and with phenomenal south facing views overlooking the putting lawn, you can watch the sunrise and sunset, come rain or shine.
This cosy hidden gem serves as a walkway between the Princes Room and The Mirabelle Restaurant, however, this does not detract from its unique position in the hotel, with alcoves throughout, this is the perfect place to conduct private business or simply find a little quiet time in your own busy day. In line with the magnificent setting of The Grand Hotel, the grandeur of the concourse is stunning with high pillars and beautiful drapes but do be warned, this can prove a little too cosy for some and over the years we have noticed a few closed eyelids but don’t worry we won't tell anyone!