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The Grove

Once a weekend retreat for Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and Lord Palmerston, The Grove is an 18th-century mansion, set in 300 acres of parkland, with a fully-equipped Ayurvedic spa, a pay/play Championship golf course, three restaurants and lovely formal gardens. What's more, you don't need to be a guest at the five-star hotel to make the most of the facilities.

Originally the abode of the 1st Earl of Clarendon, who made the estate his own in 1753, The Grove underwent a multi-million pound restoration and rejuvenation between 1996 and 2003. Inside there are "groovy grand" interiors by Fox Linton Associates and 227 rooms or suites, many with fireplaces.

ESPA run the lotions and potions side of the Ayurvedic spa, Sequoia, which offers a range of day packages for non-staying guests. It has a black mosaic indoor pool, a Zen garden and 12 candlelit treatment rooms. Outside, the fêted Californian golf course designer Kyle Phillips has created an 18-hole, landscaped course which does not require membership to play.

Jogging fans can follow a winding path around the wooded grounds, there are mountain bikes to take for a spin and the opportunity to walk along the banks of the Grand Union Canal (it takes eight hours to reach The Grove from Regents Park!).

The original 18th-century formal gardens, dotted with contemporary sculptures, have been redesigned by Chelsea Gold Medallist, Michael Balston. He has also turned his hand to the Walled Gardens, where herbs and vegetables are grown for the tables of the three restaurants.

The smartest of the three restaurants is Colette's, with a Modern British à la carte menu shaped by a Raymond Blanc-trained chef. The Glasshouse has a brasserie feel with wok, chargrill and salad stations, while the Stables is a child-friendly eaterie with home-style cooking and a relaxed atmosphere.

Sculpture by Nathalie Decoster, outside the Stables

The Grove Information


When: Daily

Where: Watford

Cost:

Opening Hours:

Address: Chandler's Cross, Watford, WD3 4TG

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