- Style Neoclassical pile-with-a-past
- Setting Bucolic Berkshire riverbank
Ever since John Profumo first laid eyes on Christine Keeler as she basked in Cliveden’s pool, it’s been clear that this Berkshire boutique hotel was destined to be a Mr & Mrs Smith retreat of choice. As well as being a celebrated haunt for politicos and literati, this majestic neoclassical manor, with its air of faded grandeur, is the proud birthplace of the £100 club sandwich – worth every penny, we’re relieved to add.
Need to know
- Rooms 38 rooms, including 15 spacious suites. There’s also Spring Cottage, a freestanding summerhouse by the Thames that sleeps up to six.
- Rates Double rooms from $344.90 (£210), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of £10.10 per person on check-out.
- More details Rates include full English breakfast, but exclude a National Trust charge of £10.10 a stay each.
- Facilities Pavilion spa, gym, snooker room, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts, boathouse with three boats, helipad, library, DVD/CD selection. In-room amenities: TV, DVD/CD player, roll-top baths, under-floor heating.
- Poolside The Pavilion Spa boasts a heated indoor pool surrounded by loungers. The walled garden – the amorous arbour that kick-started the Profumo affair – is home to the heated outdoor pool, where waiters serve drinks and snacks to reclining guests.
- Check–out 11am. Later check-out is possible, subject to availability.
Children Extra beds can brought into rooms for £50 a night, plus VAT, and children are welcome throughout the hotel. Babysitting can be arranged for £8 an hour (£10 an hour after midnight), with a booking fee of £30 plus VAT.
- Also Pets are more than welcome – dog beds are available and the chef has prepared a special doggy menu for pampered pooches.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Each one of Cliveden’s rooms – named after the illustrious personalities who have been part of the manor’s checkered history – has something uniquely appealing about it. But if forced to pick favourites, the Henry James suite, with its 10-mile view of rolling countryside from its marble bath tub, the Sutherland room with its palette of soft pastels and its astonishingly ornate chimneypiece, and the Chinese room, which is light, airy and impeccably styled in light golds, are all pretty special. Ask for a suite in the main house, overlooking the gardens, rather than rooms on the ground floor, which are located by the car park.
- Packing tips Brush up on your Great Brit literature and bring something by George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling or Joyce Grenfell: they all spent time at Cliveden. On a more prosaic note, bring tipping change in case your car is given a clean.
- Also Take a pleasure trip by river or air – Cliveden has a flotilla of boats and a fleet of helicopters you can hire. Cliveden has its own three-bedroom riverside guesthouse, Spring Cottage which comes equipped with a butler. This holiday house also has history: Profumo and friends frolicked here in the run-up to the huge political scandal in the Sixties.
Food and drink at Cliveden
- Hotel restaurant The chandeliered, portrait-lined Terrace Dining Room offers contemporary French cuisine, with a fine line in Sunday lunch.
- Dress code A dapper ensemble for Mr Smith; something suitably decadent for his mistress. Leave your jeans at home.
- Top table Grab a table beside the Terrace Dining Room’s French windows for the stunning views of the parterre. In Waldo’s, go for the added intimacy of a booth.
- Last orders Both restaurants take last orders at 9.30pm, but there is some flexibility for hotel guests. Drinks and snacks are available 24 hours a day.
- Room service Full meals are available from 10am to 10pm and a snack menu can be served in-rooms throughout the night.
- Hotel bar Classical piano music adds a sparkle to the atmosphere in the Great Hall three nights a week, where guests sup signature Cliveden champagne cocktails and marvel at the majestic staircase, imposing fireplace and delightfully vintage furnishings.