by Sherelle Jacobs, The Telegraph, August 18, 2017
Expectations are high for Surrey's hottest hotel opening of the summer. Understandable given that £90m has been pumped into a colossal project to transform what was once the country estate of media mogul Lord Beaverbrook. But is the slick new 18-bedroom House at Beaverbrook set to become the coolest country house hotel in the county – or potentially even Britain?
For a start, there’s the swish interiors by Susie Atkinson; she’s one of London’s most influential designers who has transformed spaces for the Soho House group and countless celebrities (though she’s too discreet to name any of them). Add into the mix a cutting-edge Japanese restaurant, Art Deco cinema and Roaring Twenties bar, and we just might have one of one of the glammest hotelopenings of the year on our hands.
The unveiling of the Main House is the latest stage of the larger 'operation Beaverbrook'. The hotel joins the Garden House, which opened with 11 bedrooms and a cookery school last autumn. A spa with indoor and outdoor pools, steam room, sauna, hammam and nail bar is also in the works for the Main House, and expected to be complete at the end of the year. A deli serving wood-oven pizzas and juices is slated for the four quarter too. The estate's large lake will also eventually be ideal for trout fishing (though this is not yet bookable as an activity).
Although the tennis courts are yet to open, a kids’ club offering activities from den building to night safaris should keep youngsters occupied.
Guests can also book a table at the hotel’s star attraction, a much-anticipated Japanese restaurant headed by Taiji Maruyama of KIRU restaurant in Chelsea (the brunch is incredible). The Dining Room at the Beaverbrook’s menu features Japanese tacos with crispy seaweed, miso seafood ceviche, wagyu beef and eel sushi with foie gras. There’s a big emphasis on sourcing ingredients from the estate’s garden – cue the signature salad with shallots and shiso dressing.
The Parrot Bar is equally endowed with personality, with its bronzed furnishings, Hawaiian-print armchairs and tasseled lamps. It's possible to continue the Japanese theme here with a guava and lemongrass-infused Japanese bellini; order endamame instead of olives as your bar snack.
Interiors throughout are quirky without being kooky. Think floral-print dining chairs, geometric-print lampshades, and teal velvet stools. And then there’s the commendable use of colour, from the main drinking hole clad in dusky pink to the bathrooms done in midnight blue.
Bedrooms – named after the estate’s most famous guests from Ian Fleming to Elizabeth Taylor – have busy fabrics, king-sized beds, Bamford toiletries, coffee machines, Apple TVs and countryside views. Suites boast large open-plan living rooms and four-poster beds and original features like fireplaces; some also a private terrace. Bathrooms are eccentric: the Winston Churchill suite has an antique loo. The Dowager Suite is the showstopper though; a blowout overnight stay in the House's best room gets you a bathroom bigger than the average London flat, complete with its own private terrace, and dual-aspect vistas of the South Downs.
Beaverbrook, Reigate Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8QX (01372 571300; beaverbrook.co.uk) For more Surrey recommendations, read our guide to the best hotels.