Monday, July 24, 2006

A weekend of decadence (of course, including chocolate)

This weekend I stayed the Summer Lodge. Rated by Harpers as one of the Top 10 hotels in the UK (and Top 100 in the World). I think the subscript is “privately owned”. You kind of get an idea of why, when within minutes of booking online they call to ask if you would prefer “feather or foam pillows” and if you would prefer “blankets or a quilt”. Arriving after dark you turn into a drive lined with trees glowing with fairy lights. Supper shall be taken in the drawing room – where Jane Austen’s Emma was filmed. Only a few weeks ago I was at Chatsworth House, where Pride and Prejudice was filmed. I almost feel like I’m doing the Jane Austen tour of England.

What I love most about this year is I’m finally travelling to see more of England. Massively underrated as a choice of holiday destinations, I love this country. Culture, history, green fields and old stone wherever you look. There is something magical about driving along winding country roads edged by handcut stone walls or thick green hedges, having to slow down and ease along the edge in order to allow two cars to pass in opposite directions.

Back to the lodge: The room. Wow. Flat screen TV on the wall, drawing table, DVD player, teddy bear, chaise lounge… The bathroom was phenomenal. An enormous room lined with mirrors and sparkly blue tiles. A free standing bath in the centre of the room, two sinks, a large shower area with a huge plate in the ceiling that the water cascaded from. The toilet was discretely tucked in the corner behind swinging doors. The walls lined with padded blue material, clearly in case you let the award winning sommelier ply you with too many wines, so you can pass out comfortably. This theory is surely confirmed by the phone available within arms reach.

I want to return to eat again in the restaurant. There were options that were just so frustrating not to be able to try. They fortunately offer a dessert plate, unfortunately this did not include the coconut soufflé. It did, however, include a valhrona chocolate orange fondant, which, though divine, was topped by the tiramisu and apricot pannacotta.

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