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Checking into the elegant Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate

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Our Editor spent a fantastic 24 hours at the splendour of the beautiful Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate in Bishop Stortford, in the Hertfordshire and Essex border.

We arrived in the afternoon, after about an hour’s drive from South West London. As soon as we entered the grounds of the 110 acre grand estate we were taken aback a century or two, ready to switch off – including our phones – except for a few pics for socials of course. With a history dating back to the 11th century, you feel that you are in a truly historic setting.

First on our wish list was a visit to the hotel’s Eden Spa. The intimate spa offers all the facial and massage treatments you’d expect from a quality day spa and use the luxury brand ESPA’s products. You’ll find a steam room, a sauna, a hydrotherapy pool and a relaxation room where you can also order drinks, or perhaps a herbal tea to really help you forget the stresses of the outside world.

What are the bedrooms like?

We were staying at a spacious Feature Room with views over the landscaped gardens which was looking very Christmassy on the frosty day. The room the bathroom were classic making it perfect for any executives, or as a romantic break away from home.

Down Hall’s 98 bedrooms have been individually designed to reflect the elegance and character of this historic property, whilst providing modern day comforts. The 50 rooms in the hotel’s West Wing are decorated in traditional heritage colours with bright accents in classic country house-meets contemporary chic. Classic and Executive bedrooms are spacious and comfortable and there are also Mansion house suites offering a real taste of luxury, with a separate dressing room and balconies overlooking the grounds.

Dinner at the 2 AA Rosette Garden Room restaurant

We were looking forward to dining at the two AA Rosette Garden Room restaurant later after an aperitif at the stylish Fox Bar where we got into the festive season spirit with glasses of mulled wine from their Christmas cocktail menu. The bar extends to a lovely terrace in the warmer months.

The decor of the restaurant is very much in keeping with the name of the restaurant, with plants and especially the floral wallpaper creating a relaxed atmosphere. The seasonal menu presents wonderful British produce, sourced locally when possible and also using of the abundance of fresh produce grown within their own 1-acre kitchen garden.

For starters we ordered hand picked crab on a tapioca cracker , pickled cucumber and chive emulsion, which was wonderfully fresh. The pan fried scallops in bouillabaisse served with samphire was simply delicious with the melt in the mouth scallops as they should be.

Our mains were a perfect choice too. The 38-day aged farm to table sirloin was cooked perfectly medium-rare as ordered on a Jasper (a charcoal grill and barbecue combo), fired using wood from the estate. We also loved the succulent duo of venison – braised loin and ragu, served with red cabbage purée and juniper jus. The triple cooked  chunky chips were fantastic, the best chips either of us have had for ages, possibly ever. And that’s quite a claim.

The dessert menu was very tempting, especially the white chocolate and pear delice. However, after the two course feast, sharing a selection of British cheeses, served with a fig cake, quince and artisan crackers felt like the best option – a great way to finish the wonderful meal and our lovely bottle of Merlot.

Meetings and events Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate

Down Hall is a great location for corporate retreats and away days offering 18 multi-purpose rooms, with a maximum conference capacity of 200 guests The Main House has four event spaces in a form of banqueting rooms with panoramic views over the gardens. Down Hall is the perfect backdrop for elegant of events, dinners, ceremonies, weddings with a selection of packages available to help you create your perfect event or celebration.

On-site event co-ordinators will be available to work alongside event organisers to offer their creative ideas and years of valuable experience organising exceptional events.

Whether you’re looking for a leisure break, business retreat with activities or picturesque wedding venue, the remarkable surroundings and facilities at Down Hall offer something truly unique and the perfect escape to celebrate the great British countryside.

For double occupancy, prices begin from £172 a night bed & breakfast. For family suites, prices begin from £242, based on two adults and two children under 12 sharing.

See further information about meetings an events at Down Hall

Or call the team at Down hall on 01279 731441