Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons

Rates from (inc tax)$598.57

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21GBP), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Gourmet grandeur

Setting

Green Chiltern hills

RUNNER-UP: BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2015

Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is a luxurious food-focused country escape, with faultless service, acres of glorious gardens and 32 spacious and tasteful rooms. The star attraction is the food, of course: both in the restaurant and in the extremely popular cookery school, which runs day and residential courses designed to improve the skills of budding Blancs…

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A signed copy of Raymond Blanc's Foolproof French Cookery

Facilities

Photos Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons – 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 $598.57 (£462), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP554.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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. All rooms are non-smoking.

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.

Overview

Actively welcomed. Cots are free, extra beds: £45 (not available in deluxe or standard rooms). There is a special menu, and a day’s cooking course for children (£225), La Petite Ecole de Cuisine. Babysitting and nanny services available.

Best for

Babies and up – children of all ages are welcome.

Recommended rooms

The ground-floor rooms in the main part of this child-friendly hotel have private courtyard gardens. All rooms (except Superior and Deluxe) are large enough for at least one extra bed or cot (£45 a night extra, plus meals).

Activities

There's a croquet lawn, and a huge garden to run around in. During school holidays, children aged eight and up are let loose in the kitchen at La Petite Ecole, where they can learn to make the perfect soufflé and take part in a chocolate tasting on a one-day children's cookery course (£225). You can re-join them after a day to yourselves for a celebratory tea party, when your clever little chefs will be presented with course certificates.

Rates

More details

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

Meals

Children are welcome in the restaurant at all times, and there's a dedicated kid's menu. Baby food and milk can be heated up for you, and purées prepared on request.

Babysitting

Costly but worthwhile, babysitting can be organised for £50 for the first three hours, and £10 for any additional hour; you'll need to put in a request when you make your hotel booking.

No need to pack

Cots and high chairs are both provided, plus a Maman et Bébé set of mild toiletries. A small fridge is available on request to use in rooms.

Also

You'll find a toy box full of games prefectly suited to the age of the child already in your room when you arrive.

Food and Drink

Photos Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom

At the hotel

Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant headed up by headed up by executive chef Gary Jones serves a deservedly celebrated menu of modern French dishes. If you’re going all-out (and while you’re here, why not?), there are five- 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.)

At the 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.

Location

Photos Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom
Address
Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons
Church Road, Great Milton
OX44 7PD
Oxford
United Kingdom

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.

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.

Reviews

Photos Belmond Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons – Oxfordshire – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

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.

We loved

Everything, there isn't anything we can think of that we didn't have

Don’t expect

A lively stay, this is somewhere you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere

Rating

Stayed on 17 Jul 2016

We loved

Lots of pluses eg Beautiful grounds; friendly and very helpful staff; full sized toilettres which smelt great; great selection of magazines in the room; personal touches with happy birthday card signed by Raymond Blanc and Mr and Mrs Smith extra (signed cook book) beautifully wrapped and on the bed in the room. Evening meal was good, with light summery flavours but for me, no stand outs.

Don’t expect

I think my expectations were just a bit too high. Don't expect modern or simple decor, this is quite ornate country house. Tea or coffee facilities in the room unless you ask for a hospitality tray. Breakfast was a bit disappointing. Sadly not enough wow from the 2* food or the venue for its price. We had an enjoyable stay but have had better for much less elsewhere eg Gidleigh Park (Michael Caines period).

Rating

Stayed on 30 May 2016

We loved

Everything!

Don’t expect

Lots of noise or "lively evenings" :)

Rating

Stayed on 26 Apr 2016

We loved

The dinner with matched wines is perfection. I highly recommend a morning walk around the gardens to burn off the excesses from the night before and to see some wildlife. The staff were utterly marvellous in every way. In summary, one of the most romantic hotels we've ever stayed at.

Don’t expect

A party atmosphere!

Rating

Stayed on 26 Feb 2016

We loved

The food, the staff, the setting, the room, everything! It was perfect!

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2015

We loved

Wonderful and fantastic experience, very comfortable room, beautiful building and grounds and delicious food. Nothing too much trouble for the very attentive staff, it is an expensive extravagance but worth doing once in your life!

Don’t expect

Lively nights.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Sep 2015

We loved

The high quality food, freshness and taste. The service is exceptional. There's a lot of detail in everything they do. The whole FB team and process is amazing,y well coordinated. Every staff knew about my husband's dietary requirement and knew how to attend to it. We also loved the entire setting of the hotel - the veggie and herb garden and the garden where we can sit and have drinks before dinner (if the weather is good).

Don’t expect

Good weather everyday! This is England and summers can be cool and wet!

Rating

Stayed on 22 Jul 2015

We loved

everything - the beautiful surroundings, the food, the ambience, the friendly, attentive staff

Don’t expect

to be disappointed.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Jun 2015

We loved

Everything! Our room was just gorgeous, spacious, beautifully decorated and made you left out a sigh of peaceful delight! We had the tasting menu and loved it - no rushing you, excellent wine recommendations and lovely staff. Definitely take time to wander around the gardens, nice way to work up and appetite and I would recommend a game of croquet with a glass of fizz!

Don’t expect

To stay here a lot! It's expensive so a real treat but it is worth it.

Rating

Stayed on 23 May 2015

We loved

The food, the rooms, and the service and the gardens were all great. Everything was just as you expect from this sort of Hotel. The food was first class, but the service was even better. Vouchers for Biscester Village from the front desk were a nice bonus.

Rating

Stayed on 22 May 2015

We loved

The exceptional high levels of service. It's a peaceful hotel on the outskirts of a small village.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Feb 2015

We loved

Obviously we come here for the food (there are no words for this), but there is so much more about Le Manoir than just this. The service is faultless, the setting and surrounding gardens are amazing and the rooms are super comfortable. You can spend a few hours wandering around his vegetable garden and watching the mushrooms grow or sitting in the lounge sipping champagne. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff know your name and the service is to perfection.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Oct 2014