Lucknam Park near Bath: Splendor in the English countryside
BATH, UK, October 28, 2014 – Lucknam Park is a fabulous 17th century Palladian manor house that for the last 26 years has been a discreet, highly regarded luxury hotel, and a leading Relais & Chateaux destination resort since 2006.
Originally built in 1720 and located just outside of Bath on 500 acres of parkland, it harkens back to the era of refined English country estates and old school luxury. .
Seamlessly opulent, Lucknam Park is designed as an elegant retreat for the senses, in every imaginable aspect of the word.
From fine dining at its exquisite restaurant The Park, to the grandeur of its reception and sitting rooms, to its full service spa and pool and its unequalled equestrian center for riding, Lucknam Park is flawless in creating an atmosphere of complete and total surrender to relaxation and comfort.
Its 42 rooms and suites are beautifully designed and range from exceptionally comfortable standard rooms to luxury suites overlooking the grounds.
The emphasis is on pampering from arrival to departure and the brilliant staff is attentively purposeful and discreet without being ubiquitous.
It is not a large hotel, particularly given the size of the gardens, the grounds and surrounding estate, which is massive.
The feel is like staying at a wealthy friend’s home where every need is cared for while granting the privacy and space of a special guest who has personal expectations that are paramount and well attended to.
Dinner at their fine dining restaurant The Park is an absolute dream, from pre-dinner drinks in the sitting room to the last morsel of desert.Michelin starred Executive Chef Hywel Jones creates a panoramic journey of Haute Cuisine that is mesmerizing in its sheer perfection, an unparalleled triumph of taste and style.
The room itself is breathtaking, crystal chandeliers against a painted ceiling of blue skies, and creamy wallpaper that wraps around a curved front window.
The atmosphere is lit with a shimmering glow that lends an incandescent air to the proceedings, and the service staff moves through its paces like a finely tuned Swiss watch.
Veloute of leeks, Parmesian gnocci and Ellbridge Farm quail eggs is lovely, light, and a wonderful starter course, as are the seared scallops, brilliantly glazed yet delicate and tender.Poached fillet of Devonshire Rose veal paired with pancetta glazed sweetbreads is a succulent delight, and a brilliant combination of flavors and texture, the veal rare and juicy, the sweetbreads crisp and firm.
Loin of Brecon venison in a sloe gin sauce is ridiculously awesome, a special treat to be savored with each bite.
The sommelier has chosen a Chateau Gasquerie 2009 Bordeaux that completely complements the food, matches the flavor of the venison, and opens up to its full bodied potential as the meal progresses.
A selection of British and Continental farmhouse cheeses is sensational, running the gamut of a variety of specially selected fromage. Desert is a supremely fabulous orange and almond cannelloni with a yoghurt sorbet, served with a side of basil ice cream.
Chef Hywel Jones is a master of his domain, working feverishly each night to assure the quality of his cuisine, and richly deserves his Michelin star and more.
The evening is, in a word, flawless from beginning to end, a dining experience to be embedded in memory and savored for the ages.
Lucknam Park features a full service spa in a fantastic new architecturally beautiful structure with a lovingly designed swimming pool, a wide variety of treatments, and an eager clientele that treats their time there as a destination unto itself.
Be sure to take advantage of the equestrian center and a full stable of horses and instructors, and take an excursion to go horseback riding with full regalia across the 500 acres of rolling grasslands around the property, in English saddle, with riding instructor Stacey King.
An exhilarating and magical experience, the sun glints across the rolling fields of grass as the horses are cantering at a full gallop with ease and abandon, following the perimeter of the enormous property, coming back around behind the main house.
Lucknam Park also has an acclaimed cooking school, and is a destination resort for many for the culinary program run by the affable and very talented Chef Hrishikesh Desai under the guidance of Michelin starred Executive Chef Hywel Jones.The cookery school has its own house on the grounds of the estate where a series of courses are available on a daily basis, including sessions with Chef Jones, and makes for the kind of special retreat experience rarely found.
Colts are playing in the golden morning light in the open field across from the stunning effervescent front lawn of the manor house. Idyllic and remote in the way of a grand country estate, it is moments like these that define the ineffable quality of a far flung destination, as a very friendly young colt nudges for attention across a wooden fence.
Lucknam Park brings new meaning to the idea of the refined retreat, like a conceptual dream of elegance brought to life. A seamless experience from beginning to end, it’s most memorable moments derive from simply being there.
A Relais & Chateaux standout that is worthy of the journey to its sprawling grounds, with one the finest restaurants in England, Lucknam Park is an object of perfection in the English countryside.
Standard Rooms start at around $600 a night, while Deluxe rooms are about $900. There are 13 suites starting at about $1200 per night, and the Grand Master Suite runs about $2000. Lucknam Park is located 6 miles outside of Bath just a few miles from the tiny village of Ford off of the A-420. Helicopter landings are available with a 24 hour notice preferred.
www.lucknampark.co.uk @LucknamPark @HywelJonesLP
Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles @JoelBerliner
All photos by Alison Reynolds @BigAlPeoplesPal