Sunday, April 17, 2011

Goodbye London, hello Luton Hoo Hotel!

After spending some time in downtown London visiting the Tower of London, the National Gallery (which houses works from Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Monet, and many others), the national Museum (the Rosetta Stone is kept there, along with an amazing collection of Ancient Egypt artifacts), Buckingham Palace, the Parliament Buildings, and Westminster Abbey, we were ready to head to the country. There are so many people in London and so many things to do, that it is exhausting!! But it was really fun and I look forward to our next visit!
Front of the Luton Hoo Hotel

I met Josh at the Luton Hoo Hotel and Spa, a hotel that has appeared in many famous movies including Vanity Fair, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The World is Not Enough, Eyes Wide Shut, and others. It is located near a town called Luton, about an hour train ride north of London. The hotel was previously a home for an aristocratic family, but was turned into a hotel. The family “Hoo” was the original land owner and started living on the property back in the 1100’s. They owned the estate for about 400 years and then it changed ownership multiple times until the Earl of Bute purchased it in the late 1700’s and completely remodeled the property. There is about 1200 acres of property that include a couple of lakes and a river. In the early 1900’s the property was purchased by a diamond miner and completely remodeled. When the family members passed away, it was sold in the 1990’s, and turned into a hotel in the early 2000’s.

The walled gardens (there was also a natural garden to the right)

The mansion has a walled garden, rolling hills, croquet areas roped off, a grass tennis court, spa and golf course. It is an extremely romantic spot that I would recommend as a honeymoon destination or Valentines Day weekend spot. Walking the grounds is something that you could easily do all day! The property is so vast that I wish there were horses that you could rent for the day to tour around. The restaurant is pricey... but that should be expected at a five start resort. The food was excellent though! The scallops we ate were some of the best I've ever had! We only stayed one night at the Luton Hoo and I wish we could have stayed longer. Some activities that the hotel guest can enjoy include fishing in the river or ponds, shooting clay pigeons, relaxing remedies from the spa, golf, croquet and of course just meandering through the grounds. After staying there for one day, I felt all of my stress from the city melt away. Talk about a great get away! Not to mention, there is no noise in the country. I love it!
Main stairway that was used in "The World is not Enough"
The tea room where I had lunch on the day I arrived (a £12 chicken salad sandwich... about a $20 sandwich! Luckily it was really good!)

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