We’ve just moved across the country: from the South West to the South East, a journey which took multiple trips. With the furniture gone, we spent one night on an air bed in a near-empty house and realised there was no way we could do it again a second night running.
It was a Monday night: a quiet night of the week for many hotels, so there were plenty of great offers on Hotels.com. Easthampstead Park Hotel in Wokingham, near Bracknell, Berkshire, was one of these: a Victorian mansion house hotel conveniently located for the M3, M4 and M25 and surrounded by 80 acres of grounds. We booked it up for a one-night stay: here’s what we thought.
The 4* Easthampstead Park Hotel certainly looks the part from first impressions: a long, tarmac driveway lined with trees leads up to the impressive red brick building. Turn left before you reach the hotel to find the car parks, just a short walk from the front entrance.
The lobby’s marble desk is flanked by dark blue sofas and armchairs, the walls adorned with framed black and white photos of various elements of the hotel.
It may have been the lateness of our arrival (around 9pm), but our welcome was fairly terse – it felt like we were an inconvenience. We were directed to our room – in a separate building – but were disappointed to see when we got there that we’d only been given one key card in the standard cardboard wallet: with the card needed to get both in and out of our building and the side door of the main hotel, this was a little surprising.
As you’d expect from its glorious exterior, Easthampstead Park Hotel has been designed to look equally impressive inside. Beyond the beautiful lobby you’ll find a cosy, low-lit lounge with plenty of sofas and plump cushions; an incredible sweeping wooden staircase beside an enormous stained glass window and lit by a chandelier; and two restaurants: the more informal Terrace (which is where breakfast is hosted) and the more formal Grill.
Dine or drink on the terrace at the back of the hotel and you’ll enjoy views out across a hedge-lined garden with a fountain in the centre – and egg chairs at the sides to relax al fresco.
There are 92 rooms at Easthampstead Park Hotel: a combination of twin rooms, family rooms, doubles and suites. Check-in is from 3pm, with check-out at 11am.
While the rooms in the main building are more classical in their style, we stayed in an adjacent building – Hepburn House – which has a more contemporary feel. From the Pac-Man arcade machine in the lobby area to the Audrey Hepburn photos and prints throughout both the public areas and the rooms themselves, Hepburn House definitely feels different from the main building.
Our room (room 305) was small but inviting. Its grey walls and tall grey headboard contrasted nicely with the red brick-patterned feature wall behind the bed – its mattress softer than I’d usually like but comfortable nonetheless.
Opposite, a wall-mounted television sat above the kettle and assorted sachets of tea, coffee (Nescafé, sadly) and hot chocolate, beside a cupboard with the safe, clothes hanging space, an iron, extra pillows and a fan. I particularly liked the small touch of the room’s waste bin being divided into two compartments: one for general waste, one for recycling. There was also a guide to the property’s long history – an interesting read.
The bathroom felt spacious, the walk-in shower worked perfectly, the Rituals sweet orange & cedar wood toiletries smelt beautiful. The one thing I wasn’t convinced by was the glass door on the bathroom: it was frosted for privacy, but meant that early morning bathroom trips were conducted by torchlight to avoid waking the other party.
We’d arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat in the hotel’s bar: a spacious room with a relaxed feel which featured doors leading straight out onto the back terrace. Here, they serve food until 9.30pm, alongside a range of wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks, bottled beverages and draught beers and ciders (Poretti, Shipyard, Estrella, Rebellion and Somersby cider).
The beer-battered fish and chips (£22) was cooked well enough, the tartare sauce outstanding, the chips fat and crisp but a little floury in the middle. My toasted sourdough bavette steak, Barkham Blue cheese and shallot sandwich (£18) came with the same floury chips but the sandwich itself was outstanding: the steak nicely charred and pink in the middle, and a generous amount of tangy blue cheese alongside slivers of raw shallot. My sole complaint would be that the bottom slice of bread was a little soggy from the steak, which could have been rested a little longer.
Breakfast the following morning, served in the Terrace dining room, was also included in our room rate. A small table in the centre of the room offered mini pastries, a big bowl of fruit salad, fruit juices and small boxes of cereal.
Also included was a choice of hot dishes from the menu. Their Farmhouse Breakfast (normally £14) included back bacon, Cumberland sausage, black pudding, a hash brown, mushroom, baked beans, grilled tomato and bloomer toast, along with a choice of eggs. My poached egg could have done with a little longer in the pan – it was a bit on the slimy side – and the bacon seemed like it had been cooked a while ago, but I was impressed with the rest.
Prices start at around £75 per night for a room in the separate Hepburn House building, not bad for a 4* hotel. In total, including breakfast and booking fees through Hotels.com, we paid £91.51 for a one-night stay at the Easthampstead Park Hotel – and also went via Topcashback which, at the time, was offering 15% cashback with Hotels.com bookings.