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Hotel Highlights

  • Chef Raymond Blanc's restaurant and cookery school
  • Postcard-perfect Oxfordshire countryside
  • Lavender fields, Japanese ponds, vegetable and herb gardens

Overview

Celebrated chef Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is the grandest, oldest house in a small, secluded Oxfordshire village. It’s straight-up old-fashioned luxury: the service is impeccable, the food is – of course – magnificent, and the 32 rooms are each individually designed. The kitchens house an acclaimed cooking school, and the extensive, impressive walled garden is put to work providing vegetables and herbs to be served up in the Michelin-starred restaurant – there’s a tranquil Japanese garden, a large pond ringed by tumble-down historic stone walls, and sculptures throughout, too.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons with us:

A signed copy of Raymond Blanc's Foolproof French Cookery

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons

'The Dining Experience' 'Celebration package' Advance purchase rate

Facilities

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Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

32, including 16 suites.

Check–out

11.30am; check-in is from 3pm, but flexible subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $743.75 (£463), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full English or buffet breakfast, WiFi and a fruit plate and decanter of Madeira in your room on arrival.

Also

The acclaimed cooking school is booked up well in advance, so plan your culinary classes as soon as possible.

At the hotel

Gardens, free WiFi, concierge, in-room beauty treatments and massages. In rooms: Flatscreen TV, radio, iPod dock, WiFi.

Our favourite rooms

The Garden Suites, just down the path from the main house, are the largest and have their own small but serene gardens; each has unique décor inspired by Blanc’s French heritage.

Packing tips

Bring flat shoes that can handle gravel and grass for strolling the gardens and lawns, or you’ll run the risk or slipping into the pond.

Also

All public areas are wheelchair accessible, and one Junior Suite (Citronelle) can be set up for wheelchair users.

Children

All ages welcome. Extra beds (£65 a night) and cots (free) can be added to larger rooms; a children’s menu and highchairs await in the restaurant.

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Food & Drink

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Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant serves a deservedly celebrated menu of modern French dishes. If you’re going all-out (and while you’re here, why not?) go for the nine-course Menu Découverte; if you’ve a smaller appetite, there are five-, six- and seven-course tasting menus, too. There are only 32 tables, to match the hotel’s 32 bedrooms, so make your dining plans when you book your stay. (Non-guests can call to request reservations from three months in advance of their desired date, but guests are given priority; in a pinch, it’s always worth asking to be added to the waiting list in case of cancellations.)

Hotel Bar

All the classics can be expertly mixed on request in the small, cosy bar room. Or, have drinks in the lounge while you leaf through an art book or two…

Last orders

You can breakfast 7.30am–10am; lunch 11.45am–2.15pm; and dine 6.45pm–9.15pm.

Room service

Full meals are available during restaurant hours, and light snacks can be delivered to your room any time day or night.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Très élégant.

Top table

Every table’s good, but the conservatory’s views of the gardens make it a top choice. Tables for two predominate; if you’re dining as a group, request the long table in the restaurant’s semi-private La Bourgogne room (for up to 12 guests).

Local Guide

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Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

This part of Oxfordshire has rolling hills aplenty: hikers and bikers will be in heaven (there are a few bikes handily parked right outside the hotel’s front door, in case you didn’t bring your own). There are also plenty of opportunities for other outdoor pursuits nearby, too; the hotel can arrange golf, fishing, riding and shooting.

Visit Blenheim Palace, 8 miles from Oxford, for tours of the state rooms, private apartments of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and their family, gardens and park, and an exhibition on Winston Churchill, who was born there in 1847 and is buried nearby (blenheimpalace.com).

Local restaurants

If all the food at Le Manoir isn’t enough, visit Michelin-starred pub The Sir Charles Napier in the Chilterns (www.sirchalrlesnapier.co.uk). The family-run Red Lion pub serves dishes made with top-quality local produce (www.theredlionbritwellsalome.co.uk). Book ahead to secure a table at Sojo’s, Oxford’s family-friendly top spot for authentic Chinese cuisine (www.sojooxford.co.uk). The Leatherne Bottel in Goring (+44 (0)1491 872667) serves fantastic food on the river.
 

 

Local bars

In Oxford: the bar at the Old Bank Hotel (+44 (0)1865 799599) on the main street gets lively. Freud’s (+44 (0)1865 311171) is in a converted church and has live music at weekends. The Bull (+44 (0)1844 279726) for a pint. In Oxford: the Turf (+44 (0)1865 243235), a trad pub on a cobbled backstreet, for mulled wine on a winter evening. The Perch (+44 (0)1865 728891) is by the river.

+ Enlarge
Green Chiltern hills

Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons

Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX44 7PD, United Kingdom

Tucked away in the Oxfordshire countryside, Le Manoir is pleasingly secluded without being hours from anywhere.

Planes

London Heathrow Airport is 36 miles (about a 45-minute drive) from the hotel, and has services to and from destinations worldwide. If you’re arriving by private plane, you can land at Oxford Airport, about 16 miles from Le Manoir.

Trains

The closest station is Haddenham & Thame Parkway, a 45-minute train journey from London Marylebone. A taxi ride to the hotel will take about 15 minutes.

Automobiles

If you’re here for more than a day or two, you’ll appreciate having a car so you can get out and explore the scenic surroundings. From the M25, pick up the M40. The drive from London will take an hour and 10 minutes. There’s free valet parking on-site.

Reviews

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Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Tracey Boyd , Womenswear wonder

Once we’d hit the open (sort of) road after a slow crawl westwards on the A40, we got so carried away we completely missed the turn-off for Great Milton at junction seven. Luckily, as we looked about us in the hotel car park a little while later, looking faintly ruffled and wondering where Raymond Blanc's legendary retreat Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons could be, an extremely helpfu…
Read more

Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons

Anonymous review by Tracey Boyd, Womenswear wonder

Once we’d hit the open (sort of) road after a slow crawl westwards on the A40, we got so carried away we completely missed the turn-off for Great Milton at junction seven. Luckily, as we looked about us in the hotel car park a little while later, looking faintly ruffled and wondering where Raymond Blanc's legendary retreat Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons could be, an extremely helpful man appeared, greeted us and took the car keys. We achieved instant calm as we stepped through an opening in a hedge and heard the expensive whirring of a helicopter coming in to land. We had arrived.

The Manoir is the biggest and oldest house in a very small, very quiet village in Oxfordshire, and sits regally among beautiful lawns, walled 17th-century and Japanese ponds, and its own extensive herb and organic vegetable gardens, which are heavily featured on the menu (this makes you want to sprawl as you stroll, and eat everything in sight). If the weather had been kinder, we could have played English croquet or French boules, or gone on a picnic made with food fresh from Raymond Blanc’s kitchen. As it was, we were content to take it all in, doing our utmost to imagine this was the beginning of a beautiful love affair rather than a one-night fling.

Blanc’s mission (accomplished) is to deliver the absolute best in cuisine and service in a friendly atmosphere – he certainly chose the right raw materials in Le Manoir. The old country hotel’s character is something like a cross between Diana Rigg in an episode of The Avengers, and Margaret Rutherford as a 1950s Miss Marple (both in black and white). You feel caught in a lovely time-warp, with nothing on your mind but fine dining. This, as anyone who has been there will happily tell you, is the whole point; the hotel and its staff are there to create a backdrop for the food, to cocoon you, relax you and accommodate you in gastronomic heaven.

By the time we’d been shown round this boutique hotel, our bags had arrived at our room. Called Rouge et Noir, it was quite unexpected and nothing at all like the rest of the hotel: it’s an oriental extravaganza, in opium-den style (though not to be confused with the Opium Suite, which is just as sexy). The enormous bed and deeply comfortable cushions soon had us sunk into a much needed sleep. We woke with a start – the room is a bit of a surprise when you don’t know where you are – and raced to the lounge just in time for a cream tea. If this sounds like gluttony, you obviously haven’t been to Le Manoir: it has to be done.

After a second wander round the gardens as the afternoon turned to evening, it was time for a steaming hot bath and a glass of fine Madeira from the bedside decanter. Then, on with our fine clothes (it seems only right to make an effort to look beautiful when everything around you is such perfection), and to the intimate champagne bar, where we had a glass or two as we pored over the menu and the wine list. The cocktails looked delicious, but we were getting wiser as to pacing ourselves.

We weren’t the only ones to have dressed up, we noticed. Many people go to the Manoir for a (very) special occasion; for everyone else, being there is worth celebrating in itself. Our fellow guests included a dashing couple in their seventies, an Iranian family with their two children, having a wonderful time, and a mysterious young trio wearing, between them, cowboy boots, a miniskirt and pinstripes.

Earlier on we had looked over the different dining rooms and chosen the conservatory for its clean simplicity and views over the gardens; the inner dining room felt a little formal for us. We sat down among the fresh flowers and white table linen, thrilled that the anticipation was at an end. But first, the wine: the breadth and variety of the list is amazing (some of the prices are, too). Our sommelier was pretty strict-looking, but she was extremely helpful with suggestions.

When the gourmet goods arrived, every single taste was perfectly fantastic, and the two half bottles we had chosen were ideal with the menu. Just to give an idea, a sample menu gourmand at Le Manoir would include ballotine of foie gras with soused cherries and spiced duck; quail egg, spinach, Parmesan and truffle raviolis; roasted best end of new-season Somerset lamb and pan-fried sweetbreads on a sweet garlic purée; hot chocolate fondant, pistachio ice-cream and Amaretto sauce.

It was late when we headed slowly to the drawing room, to sit by the open fire for a few rounds of Scrabble (not too hotly contested) before bed. In the morning, breakfast came exactly as ordered: hot, fresh and very tasty, served in the room’s own private fairy-grotto garden.

As we left Le Manoir behind, feeling like a king and queen, we realised that even though there’s plenty to see nearby; we hadn’t once strayed from the hotel and grounds. The simple reason for this is that Le Manoir demands your full attention in order that you properly savour the full gastronomic impact. A trip there is heaven, but not the stuff of whim: save up for a month, and don’t eat for a week before you go. We can’t all arrive by helicopter, but we can all leave on cloud nine.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I cannot fault the hotel and liked everything from the food to the rooms. 

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the attention to detail and superb service. We held our son's wedding there and it was just utterly fantastic in every way. The food was fabulous and the accommodation out of this world. Our experience was faultless. Everything went like clockwork and our day couldn't have been bettered in any way. Wonderful.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We got engaged that evening and the staff couldn't have been more helpful!

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the outstanding service and attention to detail. We had a faultless stay.

 

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Accommodation, staff, food and general ambience were fantastic.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our room (the Jade Room) was large and lovely. Very coolly decorated. We enjoyed our pre-meal drinks, and nice dinner. Waiter was conversational and interesting. After breakfast, we walked all around the well laid-out gardens, which had good markers on all the plants and flowers.

Don’t expect

The only reason I could not recommend this to everyone is that is really is expensive. But it's good for a special occasion. My husband had been to the restaurant 30 years ago, and it was memorable.

Rating: 9/10 stars