Class and luxury come aplenty at this Berkshire retreat

Class and luxury come aplenty at this Berkshire retreat

And how delicious afterwards to simply slip off to bed upstairs in rooms that still creak with character while cleverly updated with playful design. The signature suites come with fun features such as copper roll-top tubs and Downton Abbey-worthy four-posters (Highclere Castle, where the series was filmed, is just 15 minutes away). But all 55 rooms, spread across the original house and 1990s wing, display a high degree of style, outfitted with statement headboards, scallop-edge dressing tables, tassels and trims – and, in marbled bathrooms, bespoke Bramley potions. In place of minibars, there are help-yourself pantries with popcorn, cookies and chilled drinks, reinforcing the sense of do-as-you-please friendliness that makes you feel right at home.

Venture out and there’s the aforementioned Highclere (guests get priority tickets) and antiques-crammed Hungerford a hop-skip away. Right on the doorstep, the rural loveliness of the Kennet Valley and North Wessex Downs mean free-range rambles (the hotel’s colour-coordinated collection of grab-and-go wellies saves you packing your own). A great place for exploring, then, but also for hunkering down and relaxing without guilt – a hotel that puts the ‘treat’ into retreat. 

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