The Manor in Elstree is Laura Ashley's first foray into the luxury hotels. Marking 60 years of the company's design heritage, it stands on the site of an old house dating back to 1540 and is surrounded by 10 acres of natural woodland with landscaped gardens, all a mere 20 minutes from St Pancras.
Stepping into the reception area we feel instantly Lady of the Manor-y. Chicness abounds and there's a fireplace we can imagine curling up next to on a chilly evening. We want to nick a few of the interior styling ideas for our own pad - and the good news is that we can. Everything in the hotel is available to buy from Laura Ashley - from the modern chandeliers to the dining room chairs and even the wardrobe in your bedroom.
The Manor boasts 49 rooms and suites across its main Tudor house and the contemporary wing. Each one has been designed by the Laura Ashley design team and no two are the same. We're in Chelsea (the rooms are named after different parts of London) and we fall a little bit in love as soon as we step through the door.
It's decorated in beautiful lavenders, amethysts, and dove greys. The furniture is quirky - we have a small lilac chaise lounge, two candy-striped easy chairs and the bed is darling too - cream and lavender striped pillows, crisp white sheets... We're already looking forward to bedtime. Plus, we spy some complimentary Montezuma chocolates waiting for us. Is there any need for us to leave our room?
The hotel has a pretty restaurant area and two tempting menus. There's a Malaysian option (in honour of the Asian company that now owns Laura Ashley) and a more traditional British offering.
Seeing as we were in the countryside (well, Essex) we chose the best of British route. Starters of gamey rabbit terrine with piccalilli and plate of fresh crab and scallops were fresh and delicious, while a tender cut of venison and some tasty beef medallions were also excellent. The presentation of all the dishes was flawless and the service charming.
There's also a terrace bar where you can sit on a warmer evening. The Terrace has spectacular views over the hotel gardens, the Hertfordshire countryside, and even as far as London on a clear day (the BT Tower is 11 miles away). We'd recommend having afternoon tea or a pre-dinner tipple out here for a real treat.
Unsurprisingly, the hotel is a popular wedding venue. The Tudor facade and rose gardens make it perfect for a fairytale day. The hotel can take care of everything - from the ceremony to the meal, to the overnight accommodation for you and your guests. The light and airy restaurant looks particularly gorgeous decked out with wedding flowers.
Ask for a room at the back of the hotel for the stunning views. Oh, and impress anyone you're visiting with by pointing out the prints on the walls of the communal areas. They're vintage Laura Ashley, taken from the archives.
Prices start from £150 for a standard room up to £500 per night for the most luxurious, premium suite.
The Manor Hotel Elstree, Barnet Ln, Elstree WD6 3RE
0844 736 8602, lauraashleyhotels.com/themanorelstree/
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