Slough might not be the number one destination for a weekend break for most Londoners, but just outside of Betjeman’s least favourite town is a gem of a countryside retreat. Stoke Place is a modern take on a traditional country house retreat.
Built as a family home in 1690, the grand manor house is now a characterful and luxurious bolthole that combines the upmost in luxury with modern design flourishes.
Its 40 bedrooms are individually glamorous, and each boasts views across the hotel’s beautiful 26-acre gardens designed by Capability Brown. Stunning grounds and bedrooms aside, the main reason for visiting Stoke Place is probably the restaurant. The Garden Room is a light, playful room that plays host to an incredible fine dining experience. Head chef Craig Van Der Meer uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to produce interesting takes on British classics.
À la carte and tasting menus offer dishes such as dukkha-spiced venison loin with crosnes, red cabbage purée, Amarula jelly and red wine jus; pan-fried monkfish cheek with scallop, chorizo, avocado and Royal Beluski caviar; and rolled pork belly, paprika-crushed potato, apple and almond purée, almond panna cotta and Madeira jus. Dishes are beautifully and innovatively designed but deliver on flavour as well as looks. A culinary destination in its own right, The Garden Room also boasts an extensive wine list and an mouthwatering selection of desserts – amaretto mousse with coffee air sheet, milk-chocolate feuilletine and green tea ice cream was a well-balanced, moreish, delicious delight. Rustic this isn’t but good cooking and worth the trip it most definitely is.
Stoke Place hosts a number of special weekends and is well-suited to a special occasion, or just for an indulgent and interesting weekend away. Passing through Slough has never been so pleasant.
Rooms £130-£280 a night. Meal for two with wine and service, around £200. Stoke Place, Stoke Green, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire; 01753 468 852, stokeplace.co.uk.