An affordable country house hotel with proximity to London. This edifice may look every bit the Jacobethan manor, but rather than cling to the past it has positively hurtled into the modern era with a cunning formulation of zany interiors, a cutting-edge spa and vivacious Modern British cuisine. In East Grinstead, overlooking the swirly, swelling green hills of the South Downs. Great tits and mistle thrushes trill overhead. The hotel backs onto 14 acres of National Trust woodland, which swoons with furry, butter-coloured archangel wild flowers. The oldest part of the house dates back to the 17th century: a building fashioned from red stone, with mullioned windows and skinny Jacobean chimney pots. It is flanked by magenta azalea bushes that smell of clove and a carpet of lawn that glitters with frost at the started of the day and is pouncing with rabbits by the afternoon. Stroll through the public areas, and you’ll be stricken by the vibrantly contrasting styles that vie for prominence. Asymmetrical giltwood Louis chairs are juxtaposed with teal-coloured lip sofas; in the lounge, a marble fireplace is topped with the kind of soft pink ceramic vases the Queen Mother would have loved, but velvet purple sofas and abstract granite sculptures occupy the same room. People who find constant visual titillation part of the fun at luxury hotels will enjoy this setting; others will find it overkill.
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