Part 3 of 3: Cliveden House Hotel, Taplow – what a welcome

We had friends from Germany visiting in the summer, with two young energetic children and a baby. It was a long weekend only but I always like to plan activities ahead with several options. Mainly ensuring places to run around for the children. 

The National Trust property, Cliveden House came up in conversation. Beautiful grounds going down to the Thames although the stately mansion house, previously owned by the Astor family steeped in history and political scandals, is now a Relais&Chateaux hotel.  We wondered what it would be like to stay in this historic hotel? 

What a welcome!  

It’s worth repeating, first impressions are EVERYTHING when you arrive at a hotel. It shapes our perceptions of how your stay is going to be.

We arrived and parked in front of the majestic building, Cliveden House hotel, switched off my engine, looked up and there was one of the front of house staff stood waiting to take my keys, unload the luggage oh and re-park my car facing the same way as all the other cars!  Seriously. 

It looked so neat so ‘attention to detail’.

You immediately know when you arrive at a place and receive that kind of welcome it’s going to be good. It was!  

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I mean its a typically English country stately home built on an elevation overlooking well manicured formal gardens, treelined approaches and with walks right down to the Thames. It really could not be in a better position. 

With a traditional big dark wood panelled entrance, an ornate imposing French fireplace and sweeping staircase you can only imagine what it must have been like to have owned this property – what parties they must have had! Check in was a fun and simple process which included a quick tour taking in the Butlers Pantry on the way – a little kitchen with complimentary fresh fruit, wine, soft drinks and coffee for the suites. Very nice! 

We hadn’t made it there with our friends so we booked a couple of nights to indulge in a bit of luxury on the way back from our Cambridge trip and timed with beginning of December it was adorned ready for Christmas so very pretty.

Kicking back, drinking champagne in front of the fire at 4 pm is the height of indulgence for me – some well deserved self pampering. 

Our Mansion House Deluxe Room

We picked a Mansion House Deluxe room which was pretty spacious with a lovely four poster bed that you really needed a stool to get on to, with views over the back of the property (still very pleasant with the tree lined driveway) a small settee area plus table and chairs and a dressing table topped off with a palatial bathroom. The hidden away dressing room, with ample space for the suitcases was a gem – I loved that we could keep our room clutter free of clothes! Glass bottled water, a coffee machine and capsules, tea and a kettle were all provided and I was pleased to see slightly larger refillable bottles of Noble toiletries.  No fridge as standard, but I requested one along with neck support pillows and was delighted the requests were fulfilled.  Overall a very, very comfortable experience.


As you would expect from a 5 star hotel, the restaurants were excellent whether that was the breakfast with a view – or dinner in their formal dining room or the Astor Grill.

With a two night stay we tried out both restaurants.  The formal dining room was …. well formal.  But not stuffy.  The music was ‘formal’ background music – normally we would not enjoy that, but somehow it seemed to fit the place.  Not overly busy that night but still felt lively, with friendly fun staff.  Food was very good 

You go outside to the Astor Grill – though there are some not easy to find  passages that one of the staff showed us on the way back that shorten the outside bit.  Built in the original stable block they have cleverly incorporated the stalls, making them into cosy booths, and kept many of the original tiles.  Much more upbeat music and a lively atmosphere  – high quality casual dining.  

Conclusion?  We enjoyed both.  Having some bad recent experiences of tasting menu’s it was good to try out the main restaurant with perhaps a future return and tasting menu indulgence. 

P.S. Check out the Astor secrets in the library!


One of the most stunning settings I have stayed in.  

Being National Trust maintained, of course the grounds are immaculate. What we loved were the combination of the formal gardens laid out at the front of the house with lots of paths down to little gems like the small chapel, the rose garden and the steps all the way down to the Thames. You can imagine in the 17th century royal visitors arriving on the Thames for a weekend partying in this country house!

We had the best of weather you could expect end of November in the UK – cold, crisp and sunny. With the colours of Autumn ever present in the trees, we had a spectacular walk down to the Thames. So pretty.

Anyone for a swim?

Not big into spa treatments but I hunted out the spa and pools, being most interested in the outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs. Even though it was cold out and windy, the outside pool was a real treat to swim in. What a setting!

Sustainability Good to see large refillable static bottles of toiletries in the bathroom, with a note that if you want to take them home they would be added to your bill. Water was bottled and provided freely and I liked the subtle reminder that we don’t need our sheets and towels changing every day, even in a luxury 5 star hotel – the environment is more important.

Food Allergy Report: The staff took my allergies (peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish) very seriously. There were no issues at all and no fuss made


  • Stunning location in any season
  • Good quality food and attention to allergies
  • Good room sizes, very spacious
  • The best of welcomes, with friendly and helpful staff
  • They uphold the tradition and history of the building and grounds, with modern service and facilities – I like that combination
  • Good value? Its a 5 star hotel so expect it to be expensive but the value of the experience outweighs the cost