Escaping from the confines of the city is something we all think about occasionally. With the lure of wide open spaces, fresh air and buildings of significant stature it’s easy to see why it’s desirable as a getaway treat. So Elysium Magazine continues its search for luxury weekends away and on this instance we don’t have to travel too far. Great Fosters, located in leafy Egham, Surrey is the port of call for the discerning gent looking to take a step back in time.
Great Fosters can be found in suburban Surrey, conveniently located for easy access to Heathrow, the M25 and M4 motorways and close to Windsor. In fact it’s very well connected which ever route you choose to reach it from. Set amongst 50 aches of stunning gardens and parkland it’s a pleasing indulgence on the senses. It’s a tranquil setting, most apt for those city slickers looking to totally unwind from the stresses of city life.
The hotel itself is a Grade One listed building that’s immaculately preserved. Coming in from the courtyard the main entrance is a small Tudor doorway that all but little children will need to duck their heads through. Once inside, the grandeur of the reception room is a big warm welcome from wherever you’ve travelled in from. All the small details of decadent living have been beautifully preserved or restored and one could spend countless hours in this room alone discovering all of them.
The heritage of this four century old estate is one of its main draws. Originally built as a royal hunting lodge in 1550, it’s now a 43 bedroom hotel steeped in character from its mullioned windows, Jacobean fireplaces, authentic tapestries and moulded ceilings. For swimmers visiting during the summer months, be sure to take a dip in the large outdoor pool – with the sun blazing down it’ll feel like you’re in a summer home.
After a more modern and speedy check-in it was time to head up to our room. Great Fosters boosts a collection of historic rooms, each individually decorated around a theme. For the discerning gent tonight was the Italian room located on the first floor or the main house. Stepping into this room was indeed like taking a million steps back to a classic age of style and ultimate grandeur.
It’s furnished with an array of historic Italian furniture and damask-draped walls, deep in tones of rich red. The doors are a work of art in their own right, adorned with angelic three-dimensional cherubs reaching out their arms and wings. The room has got all the mod-cons expected but the hotel has tried it’s best to hide these from view until needed and rightly so. Overall the room is very spacious, huge in fact – with a high-set bed to ensure you sleep like a king.
Great Fosters also has a range of other rooms available – more modern and contemporary in design, but with the allure of the heritage and history the place has it’s highly recommended to go for one of the historic rooms.
Dining options at Great Fosters is looked after by the Tudor Room with its more classic cuisine, or the Estate Grill which was opened in April 2013 and provides a more contemporary menu. For the discerning gent it was the Estate Grill after hearing about the restaurant’s locally-sourced, more ingredient-led dishes.
It’s a varied menu with plenty of options to suit tastes. Starters such as the mussels with cider and tarragon cream (£10) were delicious, along a very substantial lobster salad (£15) with plenty of delicate lobster meat. Our sommelier for this evening was very helpful with the wine recommendation, prompting us to go for the spectacularly named South American red Le Cigare Volent (The Flying Cigar). The food and wine were the perfect way to start our dining experience.
On the recommendation of our waiter it was decided that we just had to try the Dover sole meunière (£28) and the T-bone steak (£26) with buttered spinach and triple-cooked chips (both £3.50 each). We were glad we went with the recommendation as the Dover sole was succulent and full of flavour complimented but the sauce, while the T-Bone was a dish of melt-in-the mouth wonder.
After such courses we were entitled to feel a little stuffed but the desert menu was all too tempting and we finally settled on the limoncello parfait (£9). It was a fitting way to end the meal before retiring to bed for the night in the grand Italian room. Breakfast the next morning is also served in the Estate Grill and provides the usual mix of continental and cooked breakfast options. Special mention needs to be given to the homemade granola – simply delicious!
Great Fosters is the type of hotel that has something to suit all tastes. Obviously the biggest draw is the history and heritage the estate is celebrated for and this will ensure the visitors keep coming. The stately home and well-manicured gardens are beautiful and provide the perfect setting to unwind or wander amongst the greenery, whilst the outdoor pool is very tempting when the mercury rises. Overall it’s a healthy slice of countryside living that’s not that far away from city life (just outside the M25) with very tasty dining options. The discerning gent is well recommended to make the short trip.
Tel: 01784 433822
Historic bedrooms cost from £425 per night, and Premier rooms from £295 per night.