A sumptuous Surrey stay: A review of Beaverbrook hotel

Words by
Flora Drummond-Smith

16th February 2018

We head out to the rolling Surrey countryside to check out Beaverbrook hotel. The former home of Lord Beaverbrook, it's notable for its good looks and rich history

Arriving under the cover of darkness only heightens the anticipation as we wind our way up the mile-long drive that snakes languorously towards Beaverbrook hotel. Lights aglow it twinkles conspiratorially as we approach passing a neat line of Bentleys and Rolls Royces.

We barely have time to disembark before an impeccably dressed member of staff darts out to greet us by name ushering us in from the cold. The arrival is touchingly personal.

Hallway
The Hallway at Beaverbrook

The Hallway at Beaverbrook

Once inside, we shrug off our coats while the hotel manager explains that Beaverbrook - formerly Cherkley Court – was once home to media tycoon Lord Beaverbrook has a rich and storied past.

Interiors designed by Suzie Atkinson are grand and debonair yet homely with roaring fires and plush furniture. Referencing the past, rooms and corridors are lined with Lord Beaverbrook’s personal effects and photographs while books in the cosy library nod to his character, life and interests. Compelling as they are diverse, the literature spans the Great Wars, the arts and politics.

Beaverbrook's library
Beaverbrook's cosy library

Beaverbrook's cosy library

The stories, however, do not stop at the library and every room and corner of the great 400-acre estate has its own to tell. Lord Beaverbrook and Churchill once used the private cinema to screen wartime reels and down by the gallops the pair would kick back under a yew tree to drink whiskey.

Each of the house’s 18 bedrooms – that come stocked with Bamford products, a coffee machine and full sized bottles of Sipsmith sloe gin - are named after and nod to the character of his most illustrious guests. In the Kipling room heavily thumbed first editions of the author’s novels sit on the mantle piece while the Churchill suite has an antique loo and the bath that Winston Churchill wallowed in while his secretary read him letters and minutes from cabinet meetings.

Elizabeth Taylor Room
The Elizabeth Taylor room

The Elizabeth Taylor room

We stay in the Elizabeth Taylor room. Prettily dressed in a feminine palette of pastel blues and pinks it is immensely comfortable. A scattering of well-chosen armchairs and a sofa balance a great four-poster bed while floor to ceiling windows make the most of the beautiful views over the rolling South Downs. In the bathroom a double marble swathed shower and an enormous bath large enough to do laps in make it difficult to want to leave.

Fortunately, we are lured downstairs to the hotel’s excellent Japanese restaurant for dinner. With ex-Nobu head chef Maruyama Taiji at the helm it is a destination in itself.

The Dining Room
The Dining Room

The Dining Room

Perched on floral chairs, we sip sticky plum wine from stout glasses and nibble on salty edamame while perusing the menu. We opt for crispy rice with silky tuna tartare and avocado tacos topped with delicate pearls of wasabi caviar to start before ordering artful vegetable sushi. Next come dragon rolls, thatched with teetering shreds of crispy spring onions they test the skills of even the most adept chopstick users. Mains are more robust with the chef serving up dishes such as half a lobster and chicken with aromatic slithers of black truffle. On the side we enjoy a Jenga stack of asparagus from the hotel’s kitchen garden.

Following a spectacular dinner pudding is a bit of a disappointment. Lacking the delicacy of the savoury dishes, the chef’s selection of desserts feel forced as tart flavours jostle for attention. Nothing another glass of plum wine can’t lift though.

Sushi
Sushi at Beaverbrook's restaurant

Sushi at Beaverbrook's restaurant

Then to a nightcap in The Parrot Bar, where dim tasseled lights, high velvet chairs and quirky interiors take you to a bygone era. Continue in the Japanese spirit with a sake martini or emanate the great host himself with a Beaverbrook Bloody Caesar – though this is perhaps a better choice for the next day for those that have over-indulged…

The Parrot Bar
The Parrot Bar

The Parrot Bar

The following morning after the papers, strong coffee and a mean Eggs Benedict we set off on a brisk walk across the estate to make the most of the hotel’s exceptional setting. If you aren't well equipped for the mud, there are colourful Hunter wellies to hand. If walks aren’t your thing, there are a multitude of other activities on offer from bike rides to cooking lessons in the Garden House to keep you occupied.

View of the countryside from Beaverbrook
View of the countryside from Beaverbrook

View of the countryside from Beaverbrook

Improving the already stellar set up, tennis courts are being completed and the estate’s lake will eventually be bookable for trout fishing. A spa with indoor and outdoor pools, steam room, sauna, hammam and a nail bar is also set to open this summer making Beaverbrook the ultimate hotel for weekend jaunts from London.

 

For more information, or to make a booking, visit beaverbrook.co.uk