Whether a high-end vacation is a matter of course for you and your family or a treat reserved for a special occasion, our Top 10 awards in 2006 focused on the latest travel segment to embrace young guests: the super luxe resort. Honored in the 9th annual roundup that year as a Top Luxury Golf Resort was The Grove, Hertfordshire, Great Britain. Here is a look at the resort today.
Hertfordshire, Great Britain
One of two European properties to make our Top 10 list is The Grove, a spectacular 18th-century English manor about 40 minutes northwest of central London. The property is set on 300 acres of lush green English countryside, and the aristocratic ambience walks that fine line between tasteful and stuffy. There are 26 mansion house rooms and suites and another 191 spacious and luxurious rooms, whose décor ranges from elegant to playful: startlingly modern Lucite and leather furniture in the modern wing to original antiques, Murano chandeliers and surrealistic artworks in the manor house. Rooms in the West Wing best accommodate families with their larger or interconnecting rooms.
There are three restaurants at the hotel, including the charmingly rustic Stables, the trendy Glasshouse, and Colettes for fine dining in the original mansion. The eateries are spread out over the property, but staff is always on hand to serve, in this case to transport tired guests — or those with little legs — from one locale to another.
While The Grove has won awards for its full-service Sequoia spa with its pre- and post-natal treatments, we chose to highlight the Kyle Philips-designed 18-hole championship golf course because it not only draws rave reviews from golfers, but welcomes players year-round, regardless of skill level. That doesn’t mean the par 72 course isn’t tough — in fact, it is extremely challenging — but all this challenge and scenery comes without attitude or a dress code, so it’s perfect for young duffers. The course also played host to the American Express Championships in 2006 as well as the World Golf Championships.
The level of attention paid to the complimentary Anouska’s Kids’ Club at The Grove is absolutely enlightened for Europe. The dedicated facility, located next to the three-and-a-half-acre secret Walled Garden, boasts its own indoor swimming pool, an oversized playground with a climbing castle, a rope swing and a resident donkey. Kids can also use the outdoor pool in the Walled Garden, which has its own family-friendly tennis courts, and teens are welcome to swim in the Sequoia spa indoor pool anytime. Organized activities include gardening lessons, nature walks, group swimming lessons, tennis lessons and cycling on free loaner bikes, which families can also use together. The program, under the supervision of trained nannies, is designed for children 10 and under, although The Grove is working with X-Box to convert the games room into a sound-proof arcade with lounge chairs, flatscreen TVs, and X-Box video games for older siblings.
Photos Courtesy of Adventure Ballons and aecom.com.
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