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Hotel Review: Down Hall Country House Hotel, Hatfield Heath in Essex

down hall building exterior

In the UK we are spoilt for choice with country house hotels eager to offer a quintessentially British weekend away. Working in London I crave green open spaces, sumptuous afternoon teas and sipping red wine by a roaring fire. As a rule of thumb, when leaving London I head south to seek out the New Forest, Dorset or Devon. Down Hall hotel is located on the Essex/Hertfordshire border and one very good reason why it’s worth joining the M25 and heading clockwise.

Down Hall bedroom
All of Down Hall’s 99 bedrooms have been individually designed to reflect the elegance and character of this historic property

Down Hall is tucked away in the village of Hatfield Heath around 45 minutes from central London. A sweeping drive leads to this historic mansion, dating back to the fourteenth century set in established grounds complete with a friendly resident peacock. Visually stunning with Italian influenced architecture, I feel relaxed on check in as I smell the homely aroma of a log fire in one of the impressive drawing rooms. The hotel has recently been refurbished to a high standard and the newly opened Eden Spa further endorses the “wow” factor.

The hotel has 99 bedrooms and we stay in one of the recently updated rooms in the main house. Spacious but cosy and decorated in neutral tones Down Hall has struck the perfect balance between old and new. The bathroom has a roll top bath, separate shower and offers lots of natural light which reflects from the granite surfaces and marble floors.

Lamb, Heritage Carrots and Dauphinoise 2
Enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning AA Rosette, The Grill Room restaurant, which serves exciting dishes from a modern English menu prepared with ingredients sourced from the hotel’s very own vegetable garden

The Grill Restaurant is located on the ground floor and has won many awards for it’s seasonal and varied menu. The sommelier can offer wine pairing suggestions as the wine list is extensive. I enjoyed a starter of pigeon breast, perfectly rare, followed by sirloin steak, home made chunky chips and watercress salad. Puddings are a speciality and although difficult to choose, I opted for the delicious raspberry tart. Coffee can be taken in the bar, one of the lounges or on the fountain terrace in the summer months. Staying in the depth of winter, I sunk into a lounge armchair with an Irish coffee and was reluctant move for the rest of the evening.

Down Hall is set in over one hundred acres of grounds, ideal to explore on a bracing Sunday morning after a hearty breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs. After a walk, the Eden Spa adjacent to the main house is the perfect place to unwind. Opened in 2015 and offering a full range of treatments, there is a state of the art hydrotherapy pool, solarium, sauna and steam room. This is a sanctuary dedicated to relaxation, there’s no pool for lane swimming or noisy gym in the background. The staff are friendly and welcoming, it is certainly worth booking treatments ahead of check in.

Revive and relax with Eden Spa
Revive and relax at Eden Spa

The perfect way to end my stay was with an afternoon tea. This is one British tradition that is very difficult to get right and the team at Down Hall are masters of the craft. Finger sandwiches, homemade scones and cakes in abundance were the order of the day. A wonderful end to a fantastic weekend.

Address: Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, Essex CM22 7AS / +44 (0)1279 731441

downhall.co.uk