With Windsor Castle practically next-door to the hotel, the most striking thing about Sir Christopher Wren Hotel as it resides on a cobbled side-street, is just how pretty it is. A Grade Two listed building it is very much a townhouse on the Thames and as you walk in the front door you can’t quite help but wish that this was home and you just happen to have left your top hat in the Phaeton.
From the outside you would never guess that there are 93 rooms in this hotel, but taking advantage of … well pretty much the whole street actually, the rooms vary from the exquisitely traditional Wren’s suite with its opulent carved wooden bed, panelled walls and crest emblazoned onto the furniture, to more contemporary Executive Rooms which have been recently renovated. Finding your way around is a bit tricky – being an 18th century building it is a maze of corridors, but every room is different, and if you opt for one with a waterside view and a private balcony, you get the full impact of the hotel’s charm.
The spa has its own rather impressive glass entrance in a contemporary juxtaposition to the otherwise flint and weathered-brick exterior – visions of farriers abound as this was presumably once an entrance to the stables. The character of the facility is in the fact that the building itself retains the atmosphere of a house – it is small, backing onto an outdoor courtyard where there is space to have a cup of tea outside and a hot tub under a canopy as well as a sauna. To get to the three treatment rooms, which use Decléor products in a range of treatments you go up one flight of stairs, and to get to the gym you ascend another. The gym has separate rooms for weights and cardio and an abundance of equipment while at the top of the building is a converted attic-space studio complete with skylights providing the space for a spot of Pilates.
The restaurant is contrastingly contemporary in comparison to the rest of the hotel and its most awe-inspiring feature has to be the view over the Thames, which dominates the restaurant and creates the atmosphere as a mirror runs along one wall reflecting the moving water. It also looks out onto a terrace, so from all angles light pervades the space providing a welcoming and elegant backdrop to a quintessentially British menu.
It couldn’t really be much more central in terms of Windsor, and while parking is limited it comes as a blessed relief to know that there is indeed some private parking for hotel guests. The little street that the hotel is on has the atmosphere of a private road, and as you come out of the front door you are in the shadow of Windsor Castle itself on the one side, and on the other is the bridge that leads you on a merry path into the postcard perfect town of Eton.
The key selling point at this hotel is its location and architecture. Perfectly positioned for exploring Windsor and Eton the historic building combined with a contemporary interpretation of Baroque design on the soft furnishings makes for an incredibly romantic venue for a weekend getaway …
– Make sure you have a meal or afternoon tea in the hotel – the food and the environment are very special … even more so if you have it on the terrace in the summer time.
– Splash out and opt for the Wren suite if you are on a romantic break or if you can go for a room with a view of the river.
– Go for a stroll around Eton – it is just over the river, and is everything you want a historic English town to be.
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