Beaverbrook – Surrey’s new country-house hotel brings together a slick design ethos with a strong sense of history.
Leatherhead in Surrey is an unlikely place to find what could be the UK’s most glamourous hotel opening of late. But, nonetheless here, – just a 10-minute drive from the M25 – is Beaverbrook – a re-imagination of what was previously Cherkley Court, the former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook.
You finally reach The House, a grand Victorian mansion, after a bumpy drive through the 400-acre estate, past rolling hills and manicured gardens. Inside, the rooms have been exquisitely revamped by interiors guru Susie Atkinson (who has worked on many Soho House properties). Her touch brings an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, luxurious fabrics and a rich dollop of glamour, while beautifully referencing the rich history of the property.
The home once welcomed a series of illustrious guests – such as Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling and Elizabeth Taylor – and the 18 rooms are now all named after them, many still retaining much of the period detailing to add a layer of charm. The Churchill Suite, for instance, keeps the original bath in which he used to soak while dictating notes to a (presumably beleaguered) secretary.
The Dowager Suite, which was the bedroom of Lady Beaverbrook, is also full of nods to the past: from an original walnut writing set to a well-used Christy’s hat box. There’s a shell-encrusted cabinet to hold the mini-bar and a fabric-ensconced four-poster bed. The vast marble bathroom, meanwhile, is a showstopper with a walk-in rain shower, stand-alone bathtub and a whole wall of fabric artwork by Louise Bourgeois.
The public spaces are equally impressive with enough modern appeal to keep the savviest guests happy. There’s an Art Deco cinema for after-dinner films (think: red velvet armchairs, original wood-panelled walls and Netflix). The elegant dining room may have a gilded ceiling and views over the Italianate gardens, but it is home to a cutting-edge Japanese restaurant, overseen by ex-Nobu head chef, Maruyama Taiji. The Parrot Bar – with its jewel tones, beaded lamps and oil paintings – is Roaring Twenties at heart, but its bar menu is straight out of Soho.
Guests can also dine at The Garden House – a smaller, cottage-style property found in the grounds, which opened late last year. As well as 11 whimsically-designed rooms, and a cookery school, it has an Anglo-Italian restaurant, overseen by chef Kaz Suzuki, with a focus on field-to-fork cuisine. To complete the offering, next year will see The Coach House Spa open, which will have its own cottage garden, botanic-inspired therapies, and Deli restaurant. This is country house living fine-tuned for a modern visitor.
Room rates start from £330 per night, beaverbrook.co.uk
This article was also published in The Jewish Chronicle on 3 November 2017 and can be read here.