Reviewing The De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor

PUBLISHED: 11:52 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:52 30 October 2018

Sweet dreams beneath some fascinating art (Photo by Maureen McLean)

Sweet dreams beneath some fascinating art (Photo by Maureen McLean)

Maureen McLean

You get the works at The De Vere, Beaumont Estate courtesy of 21st century style in a historic setting

So down to Old Windsor for a weekend break at this intriguing and undoubtedly distinctive estate. There’s a Georgian white mansion house and dramatic chapel that must make the history-hunting overseas tourists go “Oooooh!”, all sitting in 44 acres of grounds that would have Jane Austen expecting to find a choice of landed gentry husbands for one of her ladies.

Then there’s the stunningly refurbished School House where we were settled (it was once known as ‘the Catholic Eton’), and enough art along corridors to make you think you’re staying in a gallery curated by those obsessed with gilt mirrors, Victorian prints and modern day interpretations. Our room oozed ‘Best of British’ and had a picture above the bed of a stag (as you do) but with a tree growing out of its antlers. The truth is that you are probably not going to discover and admire all the quirks of this place over a weekend, and what we noticed is that the overseas visitors were at least matched in numbers by Brit families who knew they’d discovered a gem so were enjoying a ‘staycation’.

Fair enough, it was last chance before back to school, but what’s not to like? There’s an indoor pool and gym, the internet actually works quicker than all the majestic old trees growing across the centuries at their own pace, and flatscreen TVs sit on walls opposite those stag paintings.

The great thing here is that even with a wedding going on and people arriving for conferences there’s so much room for everyone to spread out that those seeking a peaceful escape are as happy in the friendly atmosphere as others in their business suits or parents trying to run children ragged so they go to bed. You relax.

Food for thought

The Beaumont Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet-style, British classics and ‘international favourites’.

But you’ll want to book for a spot in the newly-created 1705 restaurant and bar. It’s hard to believe that this was originally a storeroom, but indicates how well the refurbishment has been completed.

We had seabass fillet served with lemongrass mussels in a coriander cream sauce, and a Buccleuch beef steak with Béarnaise sauce which came with irresistible salty chunky chips, crisp onion rings and tomato provencal.

Very decent-sized portions throughout all three courses, and the house white surpassed most hotel offerings by a distance. It’s easy to see why the aim here is to become a ‘destination restaurant’ rather than hotel dining spot, even though ‘New’ Windsor is just down the road.

Five star moments

• Five stars for the bed alone. We don’t believe anyone comes away without a good night’s sleep courtesy of the incredibly comfortable and hypnotic beds.

• The British at their best. There was an evening fire alarm on the Sunday. Everyone trooped out, some clutching drinks and desserts from the restaurant and took part in a 15 mins impromptu garden party on the lawn, alongside the similarly evacuated wedding guests. Better safe than sorry and staff handled the alert expertly. We sort of enjoyed it.

• We earwigged a staff member assisting a guest concerned that a lift was out of order. Once again, full marks to the employee.

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