At a Glance
Set on 100 acres of pasture and woodland a 30-minute drive outside of Oxford, Frenchman Raymond Blanc’s English manor-house-turned-French-hotel-and-restaurant is a haven for couples looking for a traditional English weekend getaway with delicious food and attentive service.
To take an old English manor, part of which dates back to the Tudor ages, and turn it into a French manoir is no easy feat, but it’s immediately apparent that French chef Raymond Blanc put his heart and soul into the creation of his fine hotel and restaurant.
Working as a waiter in Oxfordshire, Raymond caught his break when he stepped up to helm the kitchen when the chef became sick. In 1977, he and his wife Jenny opened their first restaurant, Les Quat’Saisons, in Oxford and in 1982, bought the Great Milton Manor. Opened as Le Manoir in 1984, Raymond restored the historic portions of the manor as well as individually designed all 32 of the property’s unique rooms and suites. Each room and suite has its own name, color scheme and feel and all were inspired by Raymond’s travels and experiences, ranging from Jade, a suite that evokes an opulent Southeast Asian experience to Lavande, a suite with purple accents overlooking the main lawn.
The large property boasts a chapel, as well as manicured lawns, orchards and numerous organic gardens that supply the large kitchen with fresh vegetables and herbs for the constantly changing menu. With his dedicated gardeners, Raymond produces 70 traditional and exotic herb varieties, over 90 types of vegetables, around 20 edible mushroom species and an orchard of apples, pears and quinces. Dinner is an experience that begins with drinks in the living room before your choice of a five-course, seven-course or á la carte dinner menu. The restaurant earned two Michelin stars the year it opened and has held them ever since. The hotel’s wine cellar holds around 600 different wines and about 60% are of French provenance. The majority of the expertly trained staff is from France, and the service is impeccable. For those who want to get in on the action, the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School offers various programs for all ability levels.
Who Should Stay
Couples and serious foodies looking to have a unique, food-centric English countryside experience.
Written by Rose Allen