Estelle Manor is part country house hotel and part private club, catering to people with plenty to say and nothing to prove. The Cotswolds in England are ever-buzzy but this opening has added a new layer. Situated grandly amid 3,000 acres of gardens and parkland that make up Eynsham Park, about nine miles west of Oxford, the 60-acre estate is centered on the manor, a honey-stoned, neo-Jacobean country house.
And while the private club areas are not open to hotel guests, there are many considerable charms to occupy guests. Nothing says you’ve arrived like turning into a long, tree-lined driveway where a blazer-and-tie clad sentry asks your name, checks his list, and murmurs into his lapel.
By the time you reach the house, you are greeted (by name, of course) and whisked to your room, dispensing with the tedious paperwork normally associated with the process. Thankfully, though, there is a front desk if you need it, and actual people there to help, which is a reassuring if increasingly rare site in today’s app-driven everything.
Purchased in 2018, this eagerly awaited opening was renovated under the leadership of Ennismore founder and co-CEO Sharan Pasricha and his wife, the investor Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, who led the design vision along with an in-hour team of design directors.
Other contributors include such preeminent global firms as Roman & Williams, Olivia Weström and AIME studios. It shows, and the spaces are stunning. The vibe is quintessentially English yet with ample contemporary elements.
The result is spaces that are glamorous, modern, fresh, and chic as all get out but with their period elements firmly intact, finely hewn, and immaculately polished, from the soaring ornamental plaster ceilings, to burnished expanses of carved oak paneling, to trollies laden with gleaming silver wine buckets. The living room has a generous marble-topped bar and the library nearby is discretely kitted with DJ decks for weekend bibliophiles ready to bust a move. It is a design that honors its past while swaggering confidently into the present.
The sweeping South Terrace is lovely for pre-dinner drinks (with soft and golden late afternoon light) and overlooks a 25-meter heated pool and a panoramic view of the fields and forests surrounding.
There are two restaurants in the house, including the charming old-world style Brasserie serving seasonal and traditional English dishes, and the showstopping emerald-and-malachite former Billiards Room serving Chinese specialties and a dim sum brunch on weekends.
A third, called the Glasshouse, is tucked into the walled garden and serves Mediterranean and wood-fired dishes family-style for sharing. Coming later will be a fourth members-only Japanese restaurant which will sit adjacent to the manor house.
Of the 108 rooms planned, 95 are currently opened, including 34 in the house, 35 in the garden, and 26 stable suites. I stayed in one of the house rooms which was luxuriously furnished in traditional and contemporary pieces, with luxe Commune bath products, tea and coffee, and an array of hip and interesting snacks and mini-bar items, not all of which I understood. Opening this winter are three private houses and 10 woodland cottages, along with the elaborate Eynsham Baths spa whose sprawling, nearly 3,000-square-meter footprint matches that of the manor house itself.
Plans include a vast bathing hall, five thermal pools, ten treatment rooms and a restaurant and lounge. Pasricha himself has reportedly referred to the spa as “the most bonkers building I have ever made.”
The grounds are a distinct pleasure, with extensive newly planted gardens and a large potager providing fresh produce for the kitchens. Fields and forests await walkers, wanderers and cyclists, along with activities such as archery, paddle tennis and a climbing wall. In the state-of-the-art gym, there are dozens of fitness classes available, along with personal trainers.
A stylish gift shop offers smart-casual separates, silk pajamas, great hats, swimsuits, jewelry, sunglasses and gifts, with much of the merchandise custom-designed for the manor. There is also a dedicated play space for little children and a flexible workspace for adults.
Estelle Manor is a sister property to Maison Estelle, a private club in London’s Mayfair.
Written by Frances Schultz
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