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CHECKING IN: Rubbing shoulders with royalty at the Oatlands Park Hotel

Just prior to lockdown PA Life was lucky enough to visit the Oatlands Park Hotel for a venue scout and overnight stay – and we think this jewel in the Surrey countryside offers corporate bookers something a little different…

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a venue for your event, conference or meeting is location – how easy is it to get to for you and your guests?

Another is the ambiance of the venue itself and, of course, the facilities it offers. On our recent trip to the 4-star Oatlands Park Hotel in Surrey, we discovered a venue that excels at all three requirements.

The purpose of the visit was in fact a venue scout for an actual intra-company conference, so we were able to experience the full range of facilities on offer with the guidance of excellent Front Office Manager Jack Garrett.

Our two-person party was arriving from different locations, one from Hertfordshire by car and the other from the City by train – and both journeys were extremely straight forward, with Oatlands Park five minutes from J11 on the M25 (Heathrow Airport is 20 mins away), while it’s just 20 mins to Weybridge station (5 minutes drive from the hotel) on the train from Waterloo.

Oatlands Park Hotel itself is set amidst the splendour of manicured gardens, and is equally suitable for relaxing getaways, business and weddings. It has some serious history too – the 10 acre grounds were originally the site of a grand Tudor palace built by Henry VIII in 1538, and monarchs including Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I have also resided at Oatlands during their reign.

The hotel has also seen significant investment in its facilities over the last three years, with some major renovations bringing the internal public and private spaces firmly into the 21st century. Areas that have had the most attention are the fabulously bright and airy main reception (it sports an impressive glass dome), the hallways, dining areas, meeting rooms, courtyard, as well as over 100 bedrooms.

We stayed in a recently refurbished Feature room, which benefitted from a large ensuite bathroom, lounge area and all the contemporary fixtures and fittings you could require for a business or leisure visit.

In terms of corporate hospitality, our tour of the facilities took in spaces that can cater for events from 8 to 420 delegates, encompassing a series of meeting rooms (complete with the latest AV and conferencing equipment), right through to the impressive York Suite ballroom, which can be split into three smaller spaces as required. There were plenty of business events taking place when we stayed, giving the place a nice buzz.

Once business is complete, there are lots of options for entertainment and relaxation. Bar 1509, just off the main reception, has attentive staff and a lovely ambiance, complete with an open fire to warm guests on those chilly winter evenings like the one when we visited. From there, it’s a short walk to the Mulberry Restaurant.

Refurbished in January 2016, the Mulberry reflects modern design and elegant style in a huge room with stately pillars, high ceilings and luxury furnishings. The restaurant opens out onto a large terrace and offers great views of the Oatlands parkland and the Broadwater lake. On the evening that we dined, we were attended to by friendly and knowledgeable staff, presented with a fantastic three-course meal on a table with a bay window view of the aforementioned grounds.

Breakfast the next day was an extremely pleasant way to start the day in the same room, before we headed off back to Waterloo and the Home Counties.