Hotel Review: Frimley Hall Hotel, Camberley in Surrey
Words by Kris Griffiths
The first thing that strikes you upon arrival at the four-star Frimley Hall Hotel is how the online photography of its stately frontage suggests that it is a sprawling country estate with acres of grounds when it is in actual fact a petite development tucked away in a suburb of Camberley near avenues of residential properties.
This is no bad thing in any way, just a curious observation of how photos can be deceiving – something that anyone who’s tried online dating can attest to. Throughout my two-night weekend stay here, however, there was actually very little to complain about.
Frimley Hall, or Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel & Spa to give it its full name, is an ivy-clad Victorian manor house set in secluded private gardens, just over an hour away by train from central London, and well placed for Ascot, Windsor and Heathrow airport, as well as the M3 and M25.
It is traditionally decorated inside, and rich with original period features: a classic wood-panelled staircase rising over the reception, grand portraits on the wall, listed wallpaper. Features continue inside some of the rooms (in the orginal house; others are located in a more recent extension), in the form of domed bathrooms, suspended chandeliers, Victorian fireplaces and four-poster beds. For wow factor, there aren’t many better looking hotels within and without in this part of Surrey.
Frimley Hall contrasts its more traditional aspect, however, with a state-of-the-art spa and fitness centre, encompassing a heated indoor swimming pool, steam room and sauna, a fully equipped gym and treatment rooms offering a range of health and beauty treatments for both men and women. Current options include hot stone therapy, a classic manicure or pedicure, or a full body deep-tissue massage, all at reasonable prices.
The options for dining or tea-taking at Frimley are accordingly classy. The informal Gold Room Lounge provides comfortable sofas amid elegant furnishings and views over the gardens, perfect for afternoon tea or a pre-prandial drink from the nearby Sandhurst Bar. Then dinner (and breakfast) is served in the impressive Linden Restaurant: bright by morning and intimately candlelit by evening.
Awarded two AA rosettes for its food and service, the Linden predicates its British and European fine dining menu on seasonal and well-provenanced ingredients: the beef is high quality Scotch while its vegetables and dairy products are locally sourced. Specialities include pan-fried wild seabass, pepper-crusted venison loin and a vanilla crème brûlée with shortbread for afters.
One thing I observed about Frimley Hall is how perfect it would be for a traditional wedding, and indeed there was a wedding party in attendance on the Saturday that I stayed. I found out that the hotel can offer venue exclusivity, plus a wedding co-ordinator and some wonderful backdrops for the special day, while newlyweds can take advantage of the Prince Albert Suite and its romantic four-poster bed, or the Osborne Suite with its half-canopy bed.
Business executives are also well served at Frimley Hall particularly because its Victorian period character combined with contemporary facilities makes it an impressive meeting and conference venue catering for any style of corporate event, with capacity for up to 210 delegates.
My only complaint, if I had to think of one, would be that the grounds weren’t quite big enough for a satisfying afternoon stroll, however there are plenty of options for walkers in the surrounding area, including acres of forested land close to the nearby Sandhurst Academy, which you can also visit for a tour if you are militarily inclined. And with a plethora of shops, pubs and restaurants in nearby Camberley town centre, you really have all bases covered here.
For an atmospheric and romantic hideaway break, you won’t find many better venues within the Greater London area than Frimley Hall, or for a wedding or corporate event with a difference for that matter. Ask for a room with a view of the gardens if you’d really like to enhance your stay.
Address: Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel & Spa, Lime Avenue, Off Portsmouth Road, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 2BG.
Call 0800 6522991 for further information or visit macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-frimley-hall-hotel-spa.