Berkshire, United Kingdom

The Forbury

Rates from (inc tax)$123.69

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

Decorative opulence

Setting

Grand civic redbrick

Behind the doors of an attractive red-brick townhouse in Reading, The Forbury hotel revels in its slick and bold décor – rich colours (from pinks to silver) and patterns, creative tiling, commissioned modern art and the largest chandelier in the world. If you’re staying amid all this opulence environment, you can't miss taking a seat at the long pewter bar to enjoy the impressive selection of fine whiskies, fine wines and excellent cocktails.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Late check-out (12 noon; usually £30). GoldSmiths get afternoon tea on arrival, including scones with Forbury preserve and clotted cream, and cakes

Facilities

Photos The Forbury – Reading – United Kingdom

Need to know

Rooms

23, including four Luxury Rooms, four suites and a Grand Suite.

Check–Out

11am but flexible when possible. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $123.69 (£95), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night on check-out.

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 (GBP114.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude breakfast (£12 for Continental; £17 for full English).

At the hotel

Bang & Olufsen audiovisual, free wireless broadband, custom-woven satin sheets, 30-seat cinema, library and Moroccan-inspired Secret Garden.

Our favourite rooms

The fabrics throughout are beautiful, from Nina Campbell, Designers Guild, Kenzo and so on; floors are American walnut. There are at least three specially commissioned artworks in each room. All the bathrooms have stone floor and walls, six-inch monsoon showers and baths big enough for two. Luxury rooms are particularly spacious, and the suites all have something really special about them: a glass bath, a steam room, a copper bath in front of the fire…

Packing tips

Walking boots and binoculars for Thames Valley twitching.

Also

No pets, but guide dogs are welcome. There are 16 serviced apartments available for short lets.

Children

Cot available at no charge; extra beds for older children are £30 a night. Children's menu in the restaurant.

Food and Drink

Photos The Forbury – Reading – United Kingdom

At the hotel

Cerise serves up moreish Mediterranean cuisine, with dishes such as salmon with peas and saffron sauce and wild mushroom and butternut squash risotto.

At the bar

Cerise has a long pewter bar where you can sample fine wines, malt whiskies, cognacs and cocktails – try a chilli and cucumber martini or the signature Forbury: a blend of amaretto, apricot brandy, apple juice and lemon.

Last orders

Lunch, 3pm; dinner, 10pm, except for Fridays and Saturdays, when last orders are 10.30pm.

Room service

24 hours.

Location

Photos The Forbury – Reading – United Kingdom
Address
The Forbury
26 The Forbury
RG1 3EJ
Reading
United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is London Heathrow – it should take just under an hour to get from here in a car.

Trains

The nearest train station is Reading, which is speedily linked to London, Oxford and the West Country. The hotel is only a minute away from the station.

Automobiles

From the M4, you can pick up the A329 to get you to Reading. There's valet parking.

Worth getting out of bed for

Local restaurants

The Fat Duck in Bray near Maidenhead (+44 (0)1628 580 333) is Heston Blumenthal's famous Michelin-starred restaurant, lauded for its innovative, molecular cooking. A reservation is essential. L'ortolan on Church Lane in Shinfield (+44 (0)1189 888 500) serves perfectly executed classic French cuisine and has a very tempting vegetarian menu. The Vanilla Pod in West Street, Marlow (+44 (0)1628 898 101) prepares modern English dishes with a French influence. The Hinds Head in Bray (+44 (0)1628 626 151) is another Heston Blumenthal establishment superb producing country classics; its potted shrimps are the stuff of legend.

Local bars

The Bull and Butcher in Turville near Henley-on-Thames (+44 (0)1491 638 283) is a wonderful country pub, full of character and charm – perfect for Sunday lunch.

Reviews

Photos The Forbury – Reading – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

Right, let’s get all the gags out of the way first shall we? Because, believe me, Mrs Smith cracked every one humanly possible on the way to our weekend lovenest in Reading. Yes, Reading. The place where they sent Oscar Wilde to punish him. Part of the soulless Berkshire commuter belt off the busy M4 corridor. The town whose motto could be ‘At least it’s not Slough’. I heard all of this, and more, on our drive from London (‘Look, darling, it’s only an hour door to door!’), my partner’s face clearly registering her dismay at being whisked away under the auspices of a sexy, fun weekend in a new boutique hotel, only to find out that it wasn’t to the stately country pile she’d imagined. ‘You,’ she said with a giggle, ‘put the berk in Berkshire.’ Excellent.

I could feel the ice thawing though, and the sarcasm slipping away, as we pulled up to the Forbury’s suitably grand entrance. A former government building, this smart townhouse hotel sits prettily in a quiet corner of the town centre, overlooking leafy Forbury Gardens. For me, the first tick in the box went to the doorman who doubled as a valet parker. Although ours was undoubtedly the worst car he’d had to park that day and possibly, I’d venture, ever, he took the keys without even the slightest Roger Moore eyebrow raise and drove our banger off to the hotel’s carpark.

For Mrs Smith, the box ticking started with the sexy, and colourful, reception area. Swirls of pinks, reds, burnt orange and silver create a slick European-style ambience; commissioned contemporary art on the walls and, I’m convinced, the world’s biggest chandelier, all add up to a design hotel with a decadent, playful air. Before going to the room, we popped our heads into the library, a handsome oak-panelled room with a centrepiece fireplace and a quirky selection of reading material, running from Tolstoy to Playboy (the ten-year anniversary hardback of the latter, to be fair, not a few ragged copies that looked as though they’d been left under a hedge by some schoolboys). Just past that was the cinema, with its plush leather seats and waitress service where, said our concierge, a Sunday night arthouse film club takes place.

Our suite, one of 24 rooms, had Mrs Smith cooing with delight from the moment we entered. It is the sort of bedroom where high-profile WAGs might be happy to kick off their Manolos: the bed is vast and dressed in fine Egyptian cotton sheets and fat pillows, while the two bathrooms offer a double rainfall shower or a deep clawfoot bath respectively. We spent an amusing ten minutes figuring out how the former worked, comprising as it did side jets, overhead shower and temperature controls. A word to the wise: ask the chap who shows you to your room to demonstrate, since these controls can be a Gordian knot to the uninitiated, particularly after a couple of glasses of champagne.

A gift bag of smelly stuff, slippers and, a neat addition, a sweatband with a pocket to keep your key in (should the urge to go for a jog take you), added to the welcoming feeling. This was definitely a place where the details had been overseen by a luxury expert. A Bang & Olufsen DVD and stereo, Molton Brown toiletries and great DVDs and CDs left in the room for you – a lovely trusting touch. At last, a hotel has realised that, at £300 a night, you’re hardly likely to be filching £10 DVDs.

Dinner that night was in Cerise, a chic, sexy space in the hotel’s basement. We were given the option of cocktails in the bar but, having studied the menu in our room, we felt Pavlovian urges drive us straight towards the table. Starters of seared scallops and oak smoked salmon kicked us off, before we moved on to a velvety slow-cooked pork belly and roast cod with foie gras, a curious mix of fish and fowl which combined zingy freshness with rich luxuriance. After a shared dessert of blackberry and apple crumble we decided to go raving all night at the MegaBanging OffyerFace night in the city centre. Just kidding. In fact, we waddled back to our room, flopped on the bed and, in a fit of gluttony, ordered our in-room breakfast for the next day.

Given our foodie blow-out, the lack of a gym at the hotel was a bit of a blow, but the helpful staff were full of suggestions about ways to shake off our post-breakfast torpor. Half an hour’s drive away is part of the Chiltern Way – a well waymarked walking trail that takes you through some of the prettiest villages in England. We ended up in Turville, the village where they film The Vicar of Dibley and, I’d imagine, a few other shows that require a pretty English hamlet complete with ancient church and green, rolling hills. If you visit, go for lunch at its only pub, The Bull and Butcher, where a classic ploughman’s will set you back a mere £7.

But there’s only so much fresh air my Mrs Smith can take of a weekend, before the need to shop comes over her. With that in mind, we drove further north to Bicester retail village near Oxford, a designer discount mall designed as a small town, where Mrs Smith wandered around fingering garments that I knew she would never buy. Generally, it means hours and hours of making some sap in a shiny suit fetch endless boxes of more or less identical footwear before deciding that they’re not quite right, so I decamped to the village’s branch of Carluccio’s to read the paper. It’s a measure of the depth of our relationship that both of us were blissfully happy with this situation. The Forbury is the sort of hotel that instils this sort of happiness, too. A natural, hospitality-based mood enhancer, which makes everything seem lovely. Even Reading.

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 The Forbury’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The building is impressive externally and internally with stunning restoration of the original life shaft with thousands of crystal beads in a waterfall effect. The room was a good size and beautifully decorated. Bathroom had a huge double ended bath that my hubby and I fit into comfortably and a massive walk in rain shower- all with Molton Brown luxury bits! I requested a bottle of bubbles for the room and to our happy surprise it was Perrier Jouet! Food was great in the restaurant and we couldn't fault the staff- so very attentive. We were made to feel very special. Thank you The Forbury we had a wonderful stay.

Don’t expect

Lots to do close by...Reading is good for shopping but not much else.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Apr 2016

We loved

The rooms are an excellent size with great facilities. 10/10

Don’t expect

Any problems

Rating

Stayed on 8 Apr 2016

We loved

The hotel and rooms are beautiful and exquisitely decorated. Wonderful staff- very helpful but not intrusive. Would recommend lunch at the Hind's Head in Bray (gastropub associated with Heston Blumenthal) and a visit to Henley-on-Thames, both of which are nearby.

Don’t expect

The hotel doesn't have a spa.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Feb 2016

We loved

The staff were welcoming, polite and helpful. The hotel is beautiful, clean, and so relaxing. Our room had a four-poster, a dining table for six, and a lovely sofa to relax on. There was a luxurious feel to the whole room, and a lovely gas fire that kept the room warm and enhanced that cosy feeling. The bathroom was amazing, with a large bath that allowed me to stretch out fully and a shower that had a star light twinkling effect on the ceiling.

Don’t expect

There are car spaces to park, but not many, so make sure you book in advance.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Dec 2015

We loved

the beautiful building. The restaurant. the bedroom - filled with Bang olufson tech. The welcoming receptionist.

Don’t expect

To see many other guests. Very quiet,

Rating

Stayed on 1 Aug 2015

We loved

How close it is to london, just a quick hop on a train and it's a short walk from Reading train station. Also, the service was excellent. Few places in the UK have been so friendly and accommodating.

Don’t expect

It to be in the countryside. It's in central Reading. Also, they do not have a spa if you were looking for that.

Rating

Stayed on 20 Feb 2015

We loved

The staff were fantastic and the rooms gorgeous. I was a little cold in my room and mentioned it when I went out, but when I got back in the fire was lit - just wonderful.

Don’t expect

The bathroom products - a few more would be great, but other than that, no real complaints to be honest. Lovely hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Dec 2014

We loved

The valet began the visit with a very warm welcome. The decor makes it feel very grand and special. The room was lovely.

Don’t expect

The only complaint I have was that the bed was very hard - some may like that but it was too hard for me and my partner!

Rating

Stayed on 2 Nov 2014

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