A Child-Free Weekend at the Hotel du Vin, Henley

by 21stcenturymummy on November 1, 2010

(Photo courtesy of Hotel du Vin)

For Christmas last year, my Uncle, Aunt and cousins bought us a fabulous present of a night at the boutique hotel chain, Hotel du Vin. I love their hotel style, very elegant French boutique chic.

It’s only taken us this long to actually use the voucher. There are various hotels that are part of the chain dotted around England and originally we thought about going to the one in Poole, because I love that part of the world. But, we decided for a night it was a bit too far to drive and plumped for the Hotel du Vin in Henley, only 40 minutes away from London. I get so excited when I know we’re going to have a child-free night. It’s not that I don’t absolutely adore my 3 year old, it’s just nice to spend some time as a couple and have a lie-in every now and then. With Miss C happily ensconced with Granny, we set off.

The Location

The hotel is what was the old Brakspears Brewery, only 50 yards from the riverside moorings and in the heart of the historic town centre. It has 43 rooms and suites located in the various buildings surrounding the Brewers yard. My husband is actually from Henley and we got married there, so we’re really familiar with the area, famous for the the Henley Regatta. The town has lots of little shops, including the gorgeous Asquiths Teddy Bear store and cafés and it’s great to take a stroll along the Thames tow path or have a drink in a pub overlooking the river.

The Accommmodation

5 years before, we stayed in the Hotel du Vin in Henley for our first night. For some inexplicable reason we had picked the most expensive suite available (it was on 3 levels, twin freestanding baths and 2 plasma screens). In hindsight, it had to be biggest pointless waste of money as we arrived drunk at 1am, passed out, missed breakfast and left at midday the next day.

For me, when I stay at a hotel it’s all about the room, bathroom and the service. Our room was a big double room – called Yalumba. It was tastefully decorated, with plenty of space, dark wood furniture, thick curtains and a fireplace full of logs. The bathroom had two things I absolutely love – a freestanding bath and rain shower. The loo was slightly odd – a big wooden flat seat with what could have been a hole in the ground (obviously in keeping with French style!).

Time to Relax

After a bit of a wardrobe crisis – I’d forgotten my hairbrush and leggings that were meant to go with my evening outfit – instead I had to wear tights with a very short dress, we had cocktails in the bar and then dinner in the Bistro. The menu was varied, the food was good and there was a lively atmosphere. I had my first ever crispy hen’s egg aka whole egg in breadcrumbs, lightly fried. We asked for desert to be taken to our room and they were happy to oblige. No longer the party animals we used to be, we went back to our room and watched a DVD. It was sheer bliss to wake up in the morning in our own time, instead of being rudely awoken by a noisy, energetic 3 year old who can give the Duracel bunny a run for his money.

The Service

One of my criticisms when we stayed there the first time was attitude of the reception staff. I was disappointed then and I have to say I was a little this time too. I feel they could have made more of an effort to welcome guests and offer a bit more of a personal service. I also thought paying £15 for a valet to park your car in the underground car park was a bit excessive.

That aside, we had a relaxing and enjoyable stay – there were quite a few children there too, so it’s a place you could take your kids as well.

Rooms at the Hotel du Vin, Henley start at £160.

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