Hartwell House – Information
Hartwell House is located just 40 miles from London in the Vale of Aylesbury, with superb accessibility, yet surrounded by 90 acres of idyllic parkland it feels a world away from frantic city life. Hartwell is one of England’s great stately homes, full of elegance and grandeur yet offering a wonderfully homely feel, this is relaxed luxury at its finest.
Available on an exclusive use basis or for private meetings, overnight conferences and dining events, discover a unique combination of this inspiring setting, beautiful accommodation, incredible history, outstanding leisure amenities and exquisite cuisine, with butler service and an award-winning private chef included to create a truly memorable occasion.
This National Trust property has an impressive sweeping driveway, slowly revealing the majestic Jacobean frontage and the magnificent statue of Frederick, Prince of Wales, commissioned by Sir William Lee in 1757. The estate as a whole dates back some 1000 years, being created as the seat of William Peverel, the son of William the Conqueror.
Hartwell has since hosted eminent guests through history, including John Earl of Mortaigne who succeeded his brother Richard the Lion Heart as King of England in 1199; and Louis XVIII, the exiled King of France who held court at Hartwell from 1809 to 1814. More recent residents include the Rt. Hon. Sir William Lee (1688-1754) who served for a time as Chancellor of the Exchequer and became Lord Chief Justice.
During the Second World War Hartwell served as a training ground for British and American troops. Later, in 1956, Hartwell was let to The House of Citizenship, a finishing school and secretarial college which remained in occupation until 1983. A fire in 1963 caused extensive damage, and the house later fell into disrepair until Historic House Hotels undertook a complete restoration of the house and grounds.
The results are nothing short of magnificent, with astonishing attention to detail. From the intricate plasterwork to the ceiling of the Great Hall to the hand carved gothic staircase with its amazing figurines, no expense has been spared in reinstating Hartwell to its rightful position as one of England’s most beautiful houses. Every room offers elegant decor, with antique furnishings, sparkling chandeliers and beautiful artwork.
Stepping into the vestibule and Great Hall feels like entering a bygone era of English elegance, offering a beautiful space for relaxing. The amazing fireplace dominates one wall, with its incredible carvings and plasterwork, and the stunning ceiling has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. Heavy tapestries and sumptuous sofas create a lovely and cosy feel, despite the grand proportions.
The Morning Room is a magnificent room, flooded with natural light thanks to the huge bay window and with its elegant chandelier, stunning ceiling and gold-gilt touches makes a beautiful setting for drinks receptions, afternoon tea or relaxing by the fire. The spacious Drawing Room is a stunning lounge space, with plentiful seating and a beautiful hand carved fire place, and offers direct access to the East Lawn with beautiful views, ideal for summer soirees.
The Library boasts a wonderful collection of historic books, with more comfortable seating and a unique fireplace, along with dual aspect views over the grounds. The Library was the very room King Louis XVIII penned his proclamation of his ascent to the throne, before returning to France as the rightful King following his exile. Decorated in the Rococo style, the bookcases are fitted with some of the finest gilt-brass wirework in the country.
There is an amazing gothic staircase installed as part of the restoration, with each banister made of a hand carved figurine of important historic figures, along with impressive statues on each post. The galleried landing above with its gothic curves and the collection of busts adoring the hallway make this an incredible setting for brides. A curved vestibule leads from the stairs through the heart of the house towards the dining rooms.
Dining at Hartwell House is one of the highlights of any stay, with the Executive Head Chef Daniel Richardson leading his team to achieve many accolades, including two AA Rosettes. Daniel trained at the three Michelin starred restaurant La Gavroche, and places a strong emphasis on locally sourced, home grown produce to source the freshest ingredients and minimise his carbon footprint. Menus here can be entirely bespoke to your requirements, however all cuisine is to the highest of standards, assured through Hartwell’s membership of the Relais & Chateaux group, and the wine list has been carefully curated.
The stunning Soane Dining Room is a tribute to the renowned architect, with its elegant arches, pretty pastel tones and beautiful views it makes a wonderful setting for dining for up to 72 guests, with doors leading onto the terrace.
There are two further dining spaces for more intimate occasions, the beautiful Doric Room with its marble columns seats up to 36 guests, while the aptly named Octagon Room seats 24, both offering lovely views over the south lawn. For bigger events, a marquee may be erected on the lawn for up to 150 guests.
There are further rooms for both dining and meetings, along with the spa and some additional bedrooms, in the charming Hartwell Court building. The Court is situated 150 yards from the main house, and was originally the 18th century coach house, stables and riding school. The Hartwell Court meeting rooms all offer air conditioning and are furnished to the same high standard as the main house, albeit in a slightly more contemporary style, and all offer large windows for plentiful natural light.
The James Wyatt Room lends itself perfectly to dining, with up to 60 guests being seated on round tables, whilst the James Gibbs Room is ideal for meetings and celebrations with comprehensive AV equipment and a private bar area. The James Gibbs Room can seat up to 90 theatre style or 40 boardroom style.
There are also two smaller meeting spaces; the Eric Throssell Boardroom is situated on the first floor and can seat 16 people boardroom style, whilst the Henry Keene Room seats 12 boardroom or 6 syndicate style when the room is divided.
The 48 bedrooms at Hartwell House are all beautifully decorated with antique furniture and are very spacious, none more so than the palatial Royal Suites and Rooms in the main house. The Lee Suite and Duc De Berry Suite are the two largest and grandest suites in the main house, each with a separate king size bedroom and drawing room with a lovely window seat overlooking the south lawns, and the Lee Suite offers a separate en-suite bathroom and shower room, whilst the Duc De Berry Suite has a large en-suite bathroom with a walk in shower.
There are six Royal Rooms, one Four Poster Room, four Royal Four Poster Rooms, all exceptionally spacious with open plan seating areas and lovely views over the grounds. The Royal Four Poster Rooms are truly spectacular rooms befitting a very special occasion, situated at each corner of the house they were once resided in by King Louis XVIII and his Queen, and offer palatial accommodation and magnificent views.
All the Royal Rooms offer queen or king size beds, and five rooms can be twinned. The en-suite bathrooms are traditionally styled and include luxury toiletries, whilst all bedrooms feature a hospitality tray with filtered water and homemade biscuits, a flat screen satellite TV/DVD player, a radio alarm clock, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryers, and a trouser press.
The 16 Classic Rooms are located on the second floor and mezzanine level, offering well-appointed and spacious accommodation, lovely en-suite bathrooms, walk-in wardrobes, king or twin beds and hospitality trays, TV/DVD and a radio alarm clock. The south facing rooms on the second floor also benefit from air conditioning.
Of these rooms, five are fixed as doubles, two are twin bedrooms, and nine can be either twin or double. There are also three Classic Single Rooms, with the same amenities as the Classic Rooms on a smaller scale, with one single bed.
In Hartwell Court, there are four Gallery Suites and six Court Suites, each with a separate bedroom and sitting room – Court Suites are on one level whilst the Galleried Suites have the sitting room on the ground floor and the bedroom on a mezzanine.
The two Classic Court Rooms offer king or twin beds, whilst the four Court Queen Rooms have a queen size double bed. All offer luxurious en-suite bathrooms, hospitality trays, TV/DVDs and a radio alarm clock.
There is also a beautiful Georgian house called The Old Rectory, located within the grounds just 150 yards from the main house, with its own private gardens extending to two acres. The Old Rectory is traditionally furnished with antiques, and offers one four poster bedroom, two doubles and a single bedroom to accommodate up to seven guests, all with en-suite bathrooms.
There is also a spacious Drawing Room with French doors to the garden and its own private outdoor pool, a large fully equipped kitchen, Dining Room and Boardroom, both to seat up to 10 guests. In addition to the private amenities at The Old Rectory, guests would have full use of Hartwell Spa. Hire of a private chef can be organised.
Hartwell Spa is located in the Court building around 150 yards from the main house, offering a beautiful indoor swimming pool with jacuzzi, a steam room, saunas and four spa treatment rooms. There is an extensive spa treatment menu (please do note treatments are an additional cost).
There are luxurious loungers by the pool and a charming café on the first floor overlooking the pool area offers an outdoor terrace and a range of brunch, lunch and light bites served daily. There is also a small but well-equipped gym overlooking the pool area and two all-weather tennis courts set in the former walled garden.
The house is surrounded by manicured lawns with idyllic rural views, with acres of parkland to the side and rear of the house and the lake and beautiful avenue of trees to the front. The south terrace is the perfect place for al-fresco dining or drinks receptions, and for larger events marquees can be erected on the lawn for up to 150 people.
The grounds were designed by Richard Woods, a well-known follower of Capability Brown, with landscaping dating back to the mid-18th century. During the restoration of the house, the grounds were also reinstated, including the magnificent equestrian statue of Frederick, Prince of Wales, rescued from obscurity in a hedgerow! Many of the garden’s original features have been restored, including the romantic Gothic Tower, the classical Italianate Ionic Temple, columns, an obelisk, canal and an amazing yew tree exedra.
There is a beautiful orchard with a variety of apple trees, along with peach, plum, pear and apricot trees in the kitchen garden. The grounds are stunning any time of year, but none more so than in spring when the 10,000 daffodils that line the path to the canal temple are in full bloom. The beautiful lake is home to a variety of birdlife and the elegant bridge includes the central span of the old Kew Bridge, erected at the end of the 19th century.
Hartwell House is a true hidden gem, tucked away in its vast private estate it offers that elusive mix of privacy, luxury, tranquillity, and indulgence, with outstanding service and cuisine coupled with stunning interiors that will add a sense of occasion to any special event.