The Grove's celebrity clientele isn't the only reason it's earned a strong reputation. It ticks all the boxes of a luxury stay, from its championship golf course to its experiential spa. Quirks, like the bold contemporary art and the urban beach, add to the charm. You'd barely believe it was near a tube station.
- Shilpa Ganatra, Travel writer
It doesn't get better than this within the M25. Thanks to 300 acres of gardens, a golf course, rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands and the Grand Union Canal, it offers the illusion of a rural retreat. Watford's tube and train stations are a 10-minute taxi ride away, so there are excellent public transport links too.
Style & character
Styled by Martin Hulbert, every detail like the interesting contemporary art, the black velvet curtain-lined corridors, and the exaggerated service, suggests pure five-star opulence. It's no wonder it's a favourite for major sports teams – the England football team were guests during our last stay, it's Manchester United ahead of the FA Cup Final this time. Otherwise, the clientele range from groups of gals to high-flying couples; the hotel has plenty of space for all.
Service & facilities
Guests don't get bored, especially as the championship golf course and spa are the main draws. The spa in particular is divine, offering countless rooms to explore and world-class attention to detail, from extra wide, heated massage tables to an overly active hydrotherapy pool. Other activities include Segways and bikes to rent, fitness classes and a beach complete with deckchairs, though a whole day could be whiled away with a book in one of its six elegantly-designed lounges. When it comes to service, staff are unfailingly attentive – a real treat when in the mood for being pampered, but a little overbearing for those who prefer a low-key stay.
- Room service
- Kids' club
- Tennis court
- Fitness centre
- Golf course
- Steam room/hammam
Most of the standard rooms are found in the West Wing, and feature fluffy slippers and robes, Bose speakers, plush furnishings of simple but excellent quality, and well-sized bathrooms with ESPA toiletries. Try to get a room with a balcony. The 18th-century mansion house rooms are generously sized, with Nespresso machines and ginoromous televisions among its added features. The rooms are lovely and all, but it's difficult to stay away from The Grove's public facilities.
Food & drink
Three main restaurants are dotted around the complex. The light and airy gastropub of The Stables suits the more casual diner, while the most formal might opt for the fine-dining experience of Collette's, where much of the greens are grown onsite – the garden has 15 types of mint for starters. Overall spectacle was a little lacking for the £65 set menu cost.
True to its name, the main restaurant of The Glasshouse is a bright suntrap, with dramatic, citrus tones and plants embedded in the design. It’s a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with chefs behind each station adding to the theatre of it all. Breakfast was truly exceptional, with four types of sausages (pork, Cumberland, chicken, vegetarian), two types of bacon, and an overwhelming range of accoutrements, from freshly made guacamole to passion fruit pastries. Dinner was equally premium, with all-you-can-eat sushi, meats flamed on a robata grill, and freshly made naan in the tandoor area, some of which can be altered for dietary requirements – though it’s still susceptible to the universal shortcomings of buffet dinners: the odd unlabelled dish, and items that quickly turn lukewarm.
Value for money
Double rooms from £240 year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Yes; all 75 Deluxe rooms in the west wing are step-free, and two Superior rooms are adapted.
An on-site crèche, children's menu in The Stables and babysitting services are available, as well as play areas and a children's swimming pool. For Harry Potter fans, the Grove is also near the Warner Bros Studio Tour. Extra beds or sofa beds for three-12 year olds are £35 per night including breakfast. There are family rooms, and interconnecting rooms that are offered at a 30 per cent discount on their standard rate.