The Vineyard: Experience a little piece of California in England
The Vineyard Hotel in Berkshire recently featured in our dining pages because of its fabulous ‘Judgement Menu’. The fine-dining and wine tastings are arguably the main attraction when it comes to booking an escape to this luxury five star hotel. However, it also offers a pleasing place to unwind in the South of England.
Although The Vineyard is located in the countryside, you can forget the idea of a stately home style escape. While the traditional fireplaces and Afternoon Tea echo a quintessentially English break, this destination is a closer reflection of a contemporary, American stay away from home.
As soon as you pull into the driveway, it feels as though you could be checking into a hotel across the pond. The primary building is conveniently located just off a main road and it is very accessible from the M4. The hotel is smart and modern, with a large water feature situated in front of the main entrance.
As you arrive into reception, your vision is focused towards the artistically lit wine vault and a bold painting that depicts the ‘Judgement of Paris’ is positioned as the backdrop to your view. This hotel is all about wine and that is made clear from the outset. The cellars have a glass ceiling and a collection of vintages are lined up beneath your feet as you walk towards the work of art.
The Vineyard’s owner, Peter Michael, is determined to position Californian wine at the top of the agenda and his figure has even been added to this painting. Aside from owning a winery, he is passionate about the American victory during the renowned contest that took place in the 1970s.
Apart from touring the in-house cellars and enjoying a fine-dining occasion that incorporates incredible wine tastings, The Vineyard also offers a number of luxury suites and a large spa. The American theme continues throughout and each suite has a spacious outdoor garden area that will prove especially welcome in the summer months.
The spa offers all of the luxury facilities that you would normally expect and although there is no statement décor, it includes a circular pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. I was slightly surprised on entering the Jacuzzi; however, not everyone likes to feel as though they are a boiling potato! Perhaps others would appreciate a slightly cooler temperature than normal, especially after stepping out of a sauna.
There is a good selection of treatments offered and a separate entrance to the beautifying area for hotel guests, which makes it more convenient when travelling straight from your room. The Darphin Facial Collection is particularly appealing for those looking to revive their skin.
The Extreme Hydration Facial lasts for just under an hour and is designed to provide intensive nourishment. The treatments are in beautiful rooms and the schedule was almost completely booked out during my visit. This is testament to the attentive therapists who are also very helpful with offering seasonal skincare tips.
Although my main incentive for visiting The Vineyard would be to experience the notable wine tasting and fine dining aspects of the hotel, it also presents a pleasing opportunity for luxury travellers to unwind and take a leaf out of a California vineyard.
The Vineyard is located at Stockcross, Newbury, West Berkshire RG20 8JU. Bookings can be made by calling 01635 528770 or visiting the website www.the-vineyard.co.uk
Read our feature about the ‘Judgement Menu’ at the Vineyard