In part II of our first anniversary weekenders, I kidnapped the boy and went on a cross country expedition to deepest, darkest Berkshire for a night of pampering and delicious food at the Crown Plaza Gerrards Cross.
Newly refurbished (which means brand new beds, baths, and (mini)bar), we trotted over from Marylebone and twenty minutes later arrived at the station – not too shabby when you consider the hotel is right in the middle of the countryside. A £6 taxi ride later and we pulled up onto the hotel’s drive with oooohs and aaaahs aplenty.
With millions being spent bringing it up to scratch, we settled in for a night away in the country. Rah rah.
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross: the location
Twenty minutes from London, fifteen minutes from Wembley Stadium, a jog away from Reading, Ascot and Windsor and right in the country… what could be better? Drivers have access to a spacious car park for free, and for those who are content to settle in, the hotel’s grounds have plenty of attractions, from greenery and countryside ambles to spa, gym and a pool.
The journey was pleasant, and we loved the green drive up from the station. If we’d have known about this hidden gem for Ascot, we’d definitely have stayed.
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross: the room and facilities
The room was stunning – just what you’d expect from a million pound refurbishment, and the amenities rivalled a five star hotel. Our room, 218, which looked to be the smallest on the floor – was tight for two, but the little touches here and there really make all the difference. A Sleep Kit was left on the bed with lavender pillow spray and a pulse point massager.
There are bigger rooms according to the room’s fire map, so perhaps we just ended up with a small one. As we were guests I wasn’t going to complain, though definitely make mention of a room on the upper floors and with a bit of space if you’re a couple.
The room’s view was pretty standard, overlooking a shingled roof and air-con units, but again, requesting a room with a view would solve that issue. The only real issue for us was that the aircon fan was positioned directly over the bed, and the doors aren’t soundproofed – we could hear people tapping on the door opposite ours which meant they could probably hear us chatting.
The minibar was free, including beers, wines and Pringles (we supplied the Bucks Fizz) and bathroom had everything you’d expect – although as it’s so compact and the sink didn’t really have room for anything other than, well, the sink I ended up bashing my elbow against the little soap and shower gel tray which prompted an avalanche of all the bathroom soaps and polishes tumbling in the loo. Yummy…
Those who love a long soak in the bath might need to request a room with one, as far as I know all bathrooms only feature a shower.
We didn’t use the monsoon shower, opting for a mid-morning sauna, steam and swim in the most gorgeous pool area which guests have access to for their stay and even after check ou. Floor to ceiling windows shed the room in light, and even better when it started raining outside! The pool also has a massage jet for tired and aching shoulders, towels aplenty, digital lockers and hairdryers in the changing rooms. That was a huge surprise and a very welcome one.
All in all, it’s plush. So plush.
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross: the restaurant
We were treated to an anniversary meal by the hotel, and decided to dine as soon as we’d arrived. Think gooey camembert for starters with fungi gnocchi, rounded off with dessert wine and a cheeseboard. Heaven. The menu is changing in the next few months with a brand-new concept planned for autumn and winter, so keep your eyes out for a review to come, but the food was gorgeous and service courteous.
There was a real mix of diners. Couples, a family with children and businessmen suited and booted gave the place a nice, chilled informal vibe. And we were so impressed when the chef put together a special meal for some very fussy children. It’s a good sign of things to come.
In the meantime, the dining room is gorgeous, with wide tables for family meals, cosy nooks for couples, and bar areas for those looking to snack on a few light bites. There’s also a comfy seating area with wide screen TVs for those who want to round the night off with a whisky or brandy. Very country, don’t you think?
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross: did we get a good sleep?
We would have – the room was pitch black, and beds are gorgeously comfy with no sign of an itchy feather pillow in sight! – however the aircon blowing over the bed saw us chilled to the bone and waking up at 3am to turn it off, and then sweltering as the room heated up throughout the night. It would have been great if we could open the windows but it was a bit too noisy.
Speaking of that, the other thing keeping us awake was the noise from other guests. The doors are ever-so thin and we could hear people stumbling back in from their nights out until the early hours. This, coupled with early risers clanking around at 4:30am in a rush to get to Heathrow meant we sadly got disturbed pretty much for the entire night. How did we know they were off to Heathrow? We could hear every word.
Again, this would easily be resolved with a call to reception and a request for a quiet room, away from the lifts, with a view, and a bit of space. Although we didn’t get the best night’s sleep, check out was extended until 13:00 for us which we really appreciated.
Who doesn’t love a lazy morning?
Breakfast I admit I missed, but David decided to indulge and was pleased with the offering. As always, it’s pricey, but served in the dining room and with some excellent inclusive room rates, it’s definitely worth booking.
Our overall opinion
With a gorgeous restaurant we’re looking forward to sampling soon, and a juice bar, spa, as well as a cavernous pool and sauna area and relaxing spaces, it ticks all the boxes for those looking for a romantic weekend away or a little bolthole in the country to explore the area.
Add in a turn down service and a butler here and there and this Crowne Plaza could easily pass for a five star. The staff are super friendly and willing to help as much as they can, and although there were a few teething issues (such as the lift being out of service on check out), we had a really lovely stay – it’s definitely worth checking to see if you can nab a cheeky weekend away.
Definitely worth checking out, we know we’ll definitely be back soon.
Rooms start from £101 per night. To book, visit Crowne Plaza’s website.