Your Sussex Wedding - December/January 2023/2024 (Issue 106)

Step into luxury at The Retreat, Elcot Park. Since its grand opening in June 2022 it has won many accolades including Britain’s Best Hotel by The Times and the Sunday Times, topping their list of the Top 100 Places to Stay in the UK. So, it was only right for us to check it out for our couples. Located between Newbury and Hungerford, this 18th-century country house hotel & spa is the perfect spot to unwind pre- or post-wedding - whether you want a cocktail aside the heated outdoor swimming pool; or are ready to don your hiking boots and clear your mind on the close-by North Wessex Downs. You’re so warmly welcomed as soon as you enter the lobby lounge. Waiting at the reception desk was a lovely couple sipping a glass of wine checking in – yes you get a glass of the good stuff on arrival - and who was at their feet but two four-legged friends. Living the life of Riley, these pampered pooches were also looking forward to their stay in one of the several dog-friendly rooms. They even get a doggie welcome pack on arrival! With a crisp rosé in hand, I check into the Sutton Suite. An interior designer’s dream, sunlight pours into the room which overlooks the surrounding countryside. It’s warm and inviting with whimsy wallpaper, mix-match plush textiles and the prime centrepiece, the stunning copper roll top bath, is just waiting to be enjoyed. With a private mini bar, as well as raiding rights to the pantry (yes, there’s a pantry where you can help yourselves to snacks and drinks!), you’re guaranteed to switch off, unwind and feel truly spoilt. When it comes to food and drink, 1772 Brasserie offers a fine choice of contemporary dishes for all tastes. I chose crispy chilli squid followed by Berkshire lamb rump, cooked to perfection. The impressive cocktail and wine list will ensure you’re well refreshed. As I visited on a Sunday, Yu, the Retreat’s pan-Asian restaurant wasn’t open, but I’ll definitely be back to experience the Japanese fine dining establishment with a reputation not to be ignored! I finished my stay with a full body ‘Made for You’ massage at the Signet Spa. My therapist was able to locate and relax my pressure points leaving me recharged and well cared for. Utter bliss. WHAT A TREAT! Rachel Westall experiences the stylish Retreat at Elcot Park - country-house comfort at its best BOOK IT! The Retreat at Elcot Park, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG20 8NJ 01635 800 520 96