Historic hotel in beautiful Egham, Surrey
For those who are in need of a break from the Big Smoke but don‘t have the energy to venture too far afield, we have a lovely new hotel to introduce to our members which offers a truly exceptional experience. Located just an hour from central London in Egham, Surrey, the Great Fosters Hotel is a Grade I Listed historic house set in 50 acres of enchanting gardens and parkland. Originally a hunting lodge thought to have been favoured by Henry VIII in the 16th Century, it‘s now a luxury hotel offering high-spec modern amenities alongside its old school charm.
There are many activities to participate in at Great Foster for those looking for an active weekend away. A stroll through the gardens is a fantastic way to rejuvenate the senses and will reward any budding aesthetes who visit the hotel. Designed in 1918 by WH Romaine-Walker, the park was laid out to resemble a Persian rug with a striking sundial at its hub which was purportedly gifted to the family by Sir Francis Drake. Other parts of the garden including the Saxon moat date back as far as the 5th century AD, when it was utilised to protect the stock and chattel from wandering brigands - a sort that you will definitely not encounter these days. Wander about and you‘ll come across secret gardens, a sunken rose garden, a Japanese bridge garlanded with wisteria, a grass amphitheatre, croquet courts and an archery pavilion. Anyone who enjoys swimming outside will be spoiled with the heated outdoor pool, which is really a stunning antiquity.
Great Fosters caters for guests who prefer either the classic or the contemporary. The Cloisters and Coach House, which can be reached by crossing a courtyard, afford guests a bit more modern décor and conveniences, while the Main House boasts more of the historic rooms. We were very pleased with our stay in The Nursery Suite, which was favoured by such illustrious guests as Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles. It was a massive 60 square metres with striking vistas of the gardens to both the front and rear of the hotel; an antechamber with a pair of sofas, a dining table, TV and escritoire; a bathroom tucked away in a cupboard; and a bedroom with a king sized bed and a large wardrobe (which had a Narnia-esque trapdoor to the tapestry room below).
Guests with discerning palates and large appetites will be well taken care of at The Estate Grill, the hotel restaurant which has won two AA Rosettes. Many of the dishes prepared in the kitchens make use of ingredients grown by staff in the extensive gardens and all of them comprise of locally sourced, sustainable produce. For more relaxed nibbles and libations, repair to the cocktail terrace where you can enjoy the verdant greenery of the grounds with a refreshing drink in hand. Great Fosters also offers the archetypal British afternoon tea experience - which can be enjoyed on the terrace, in the cocktail bar or in the main hall. Regardless of what you are searching for, it‘s refreshing to know that such a tranquil, bucolic enclave is only an hour away.