Wedding Ideas sample the highlife as our online editor escapes to Stoke Park to find out if the luxury hotel and spa is worthy of its A List reputation.
With a healthy CV of starring roles and cameos in a number of our favourite Hollywood hits, Stoke Park surely deserves its own IMDB page. Noting 2004 as a moment de bonheur, the pristine lawns, jaw-dropping grounds and impressive interiors steal the show in films such as Wimbledon, Bride & Prejudice and Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake.
However, the hotel and country club is perhaps most-famed for its 27 hole golf course, which plays host to the impossibly suave 007 in not one, but two James Bond films (Goldfinger in 1964 and 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies). It’s safe to say Stoke Park’s reputation most definitely precedes it.
The Mansion at Stoke Park
For me, the star quality was clear the moment I arrived at the The Mansion. The impressive Grade I listed, Georgian-era palace commands attention as you approach from the understated driveway, set back from the Stoke Poges country lanes.
It was hard not to feel like a Hollywood starlet, seeking solace from unforgiving paparazzi, as I clambered up the wide front steps and turned back, tipping my appropriately dark sunglasses to admire the perfectly green, sprawling lawns. Eagle-eyed guests will note the stone-stepped entrance as the backdrop to Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller’s dramatic exchange in the final scenes of Layer Cake.
Once inside, The Mansion assumes a new role. In a reverse-Tardis effect, the interiors are cosy and homely, but certainly not lacking in grandeur. After a tour of the plush bar, lounges, private rooms and Humphrey’s – the fine-dining restaurant holding three AA Rosettes – it was straight up the impressive sweeping staircase to my room. Noting the Instagram opportunities on my way, of course.
The Pennsylvania Suite
With a bout of imposter syndrome already kicking in, I was sure there had been a serious case of mistaken identity as I was shown to The Pennsylvania Suite.
Seemingly larger than my pokey London flat, the Pennsylvania Suite is, in my humble opinion, the best in the house. Traditional in style, the room boasts a seating area, open fire-place and ginormous marble bathroom complete with a sunken bath and separate shower walk-in shower. Without doubt my favourite part, however, is the large south-facing balcony overlooking the estate.
It was here, channelling Lady of the Manor, that I resigned myself to the fact I’m going to have to embark on a new, illustrious film career to keep up with my new suite habit.
And it seems I’d be in good company, too. The Pennsylvania Suite once welcomed rom-com royalty, Hugh Grant and Renée Zellweger, as Stoke Park played host to Bridget Jones and Daniel Cleaver’s romantic (read:calamitous) weekend getaway in Bridget Jones’ Diary. If only oak timbered four-poster beds could talk…
The Spa at Stoke Park
Following a heavenly nights sleep and a morning coffee al fresco on my balcony, it was time to hit the spa. All in the name of journalism, of course.
Housed across the drive in The Pavilion and its own surrounding gardens, the spa at Stoke Park is a haven of indulgence and serenity.
Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool, Italian marble steam rooms, a deep relaxation room, a private atrium with a stunning five metre tropical aquarium, and an outdoor Scandinavian Sauna, hot tub and tranquil spa garden (which really comes into it’s own in the summer months).
The Pavilion also holds a fully-functioning gym and health club with an array of equipment and exercise classes on offer to hotel guests and club members.
Weddings at Stoke Park
After a treatment at the spa, I finished my stay at Stoke Park with a walk around the grounds. I didn’t quite make it round all 300 acres, no amount of R&R would ready me for that, but a short stroll in the luscious gardens behind The Mansion sufficed.
It was here I understood why Stoke Park is so highly in demand as a wedding venue. The stunning backdrop of The Mansion in the wedding photos would be enough to sway even the most particular brides.
With a dedicated team on hand to cater to your every need, Stoke Park offers up enviable wedding options, including:
- Dining facilities that can cater for up to 146 guests
- 11 Spa treatment rooms in the award-winning spa for pre and post-wedding pampering
- 49 luxurious 5 AA Red Star bedrooms (including the Pennsylvania Suite)
- 8 stunning rooms and the Fountain Terrace in which to hold a civil marriage ceremony, each with its own character and beauty
- Dedicated wedding planner to guide you through all your requirements on the day, from hairstyle to entertainment style
To top off the experience, I’d recommend enquiring about the Pennsylvania Suite for your wedding night. Let’s just hope you end up luckier in love than poor old Bridget.
Prices for a Deluxe Mansion Room start at £199 a night.
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