A relaxing Sunday Hideaway

Is Sunday the night when treat yourself to a candle-lit bath, apply a cleansing face mask and prepare mind and body for your week ahead? Or are you run ragged catching up with laundry and emails wishing you could simply stop and draw breath? Why not make Sunday night the new Saturday night and slope off to The Grove with a luxury overnight stay designed to put wellbeing at the top of your to-do list…

If you’re in the mood for a break from the norm, it’s time to discover a new way to extend your weekend with our Sunday Hideaway package. This heaven-sent escape includes a choice of complimentary twilight spa treatment, round of golf or private lesson with a pro on our Championship course – and you’ll enjoy full access to our award-wining Sequoia spa. Stay the night in a luxurious room with complimentary breakfast, all for just £145 per person.

Spoil yourself on Sunday

3pm: Check-in
Make your way to your room in the Mansion or West Wing. Unpack, freshen up and get acquainted with your new home for the night!

3.30pm: Ground yourself
What better way to shake off the stress and grind of the city than to pull on comfy walking shoes or wellies and stride out into a pristine slice of English countryside? The beautiful grounds of our 300-acre country estate are at your disposal, with our charming woodland trail begging to be explored. Follow one of three routes along the trail, which winds its way down to the Grand Union Canal. You can go exploring on foot or hire a set of wheels. In addition to a fleet of push bikes, we now also offer guests exciting Segway experiences. (Segway Experience costs £50pp for one hour, tuition included).

4.30pm: R&R or T-time?
Our Twilight package invites you choose from two invigorating ways to enjoy your Sunday afternoon…

Ah, the spa: Having trouble getting some shut-eye? You’re far from alone. As reported by The Guardian, never before have such large numbers of working adults been so sleep deprived. Our long-hours culture has caused an epidemic of sleeplessness that’s damaging our health. Slip into a soft robe and slippers and make your way to our calming treatment rooms to experience the magical healing properties of our Sweet Dreams Massage. Specially created to calm overactive thinking and frazzled nerves, this soothing 55-minute sensory massage uses lavender to destress and sage for clarity of mind, ensuring a wonderfully curative rest. Alternatively, you can also choose from a tempting menu of spa treats, including our signature 55-minute Essential Body Massage, a Personalised Facial, or the Ultimate Body Wrap.

Golf like a champion:  If swinging a club is more your idea of relaxation, then head over to our Golf Shop, where our resident pros are on hand to furnish you with premium quality kit for a 9 or 18-hole adventure through our pristine greens and fairways. You can also book a lesson to hone your golf swing and learn a few tricks guaranteed to raise your game.

Whichever Twilight option you choose, the full run of our fragrant spa , open until 8pm, awaits. Take a dip in our beautiful indoor vitality pool, warm your bones in the heat experiences rooms, or unwind in the bubbling jacuzzi. And feel free to just relax and pad around in your robe and slippers.

8pm: A table for two
Hungry for a delicious, nutritionally-balanced meal that you haven’t had to cook yourself? Your table awaits at The Stables, our laid-back restaurant set in the estate’s original stable block, where simple, home-cooked food is served to perfection in a cosy dining room that exudes country chic.

Start with a tasty vitamin-rich Quinoa salad with pomegranate salsa, beetroot and baby spinach; followed by Seared fillet of sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke, lemon, capers and watercress. Topping up your Omega-3 has never tasted this good! Or, if you’re planning to be a little more relaxed when it comes to counting the calories, indulge in The Stables’ 220g prime beef burger served in a brioche bun with Applewood cheddar and skinny fries or a traditional roast with all the trimmings.

Finish with The Grove’s fruit salad: fresh slices of tropical fruits and ripe berries – heaven in a bowl – or a scoop or two of lush raspberry, mango or blackcurrant sorbet. Then again, you could treat yourself to our mouth-watering iced chocolate and peanut parfait, served in a chocolate sphere with hot caramel sauce.

Drink? Our head barman will help you select the perfect wine or beer to complement your meal – and you can toast to the joys of your Monday morning lie in.

Be mindful on Monday

8am: Wake-up call
As you stir to the sounds of birdsong, relish in the fact that this morning will be light years away from your usual manic Monday. The only pressing decision you need to make is whether you to breakfast like a king or queen at The Glasshouse restaurant or devour warm almond croissants in bed.

Light and airy, The Glasshouse restaurant serves a sumptuous buffet-style breakfast in a relaxed setting, filled with the aroma of freshly-ground coffee. Choose from a smorgasbord of Continental breakfast dishes with the freshest of organic breads, fine meats and cheeses, farm fresh yogurts and fruits, and French pastries that’ll transport you to Provence. Or feast on a power breakfast with eggs and a traditional English spread cooked to your personal satisfaction.

Then again, if a Monday snooze is just too good to miss, plump up your pillows and languish in bed with breakfast delivered to your room. Our extensive room service menu includes healthy options that taste as good as they’ll make you feel.

10am: Power yoga
Joining our Power Yoga class is the perfect way to unravel the knots in your computer-ravaged necks and shoulders, shake up your chakras and start the week feeling energised and refreshed. You’ll be gently put through your paces by our resident yogini, who welcomes guests of all levels of fitness and experience.

11am: Re-hydrate
Replenish your body and refresh your tastebuds at the Sequoia spa juice bar – it’s time to treat yourself to a delicious freshly-made smoothie, mixed with all the fruit and veg your heart desires.

12pm: Checkout
You’ll head for home feeling rejuvenated and rather smug that you’ve now got just a four-day week to look forward to.

For more information visit www.thegrove.co.uk or call our reservations team on 01923 296010

Colette’s unveils inspirational vegan cuisine at The Grove

Are you following the trend for meat-free Mondays, contemplating going vegetarian or perhaps you’re already a dedicated vegan? A fresh appetite for plant-based eating is booming worldwide, as is demand for truly delicious vegan cuisine that packs a nutritious punch without sacrificing on taste.

With this growing passion for wellbeing and sustainability in mind, the launch of our new ‘Nature Menu’ at Colette’s is both timely and, having been created under the watchful eye of Chef Russell Bateman, whose culinary genius has seen Colette’s feted with 3 AA Rosettes, totally inspired.

After listening to his diners, and experiencing first hand this change in mindset, Bateman set about creating his new signature vegan tasting menu, featuring seven new plant-based dishes that offer an imaginative selection of delicious and perfectly proportioned options, that are so often missing on restaurant menus.

The mouth-watering Nature Menu features innovative and richly flavoursome dishes, including Kohlrabi Tagliatelle with Quorn, Carrot Ragu and Pine Nut Pesto, as well as Potato and Truffle Dumplings with Barbequed Leek, Tofu Sauce and Chive Oil.  The menu is served as a stunning five or seven-course tasting menu, but each dish can also be served a la carte.

And this is just the beginning; the menu will continue to evolve and change with the seasons, with Bateman and his team drawing inspiration from the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs handpicked from The Grove’s very own Walled Garden. Far from a flash in the pan, gourmet vegan cuisine will now play a permanent starring role in Colette’s repertoire of fine dining dishes.

Hot news and bang on trend

No longer perceived to be the preserve of hippies and tree-hugging activists, veganism has gone firmly mainstream, largely thanks to its rollcall of celebrity ambassadors from the fields of film, TV, music and sport. Jennifer Lopez, Venus Williams, Ellen de Generes, Moby, Brad Pitt, Woody Harrelson, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are just a few of the biggest names in show businesses to have embraced a vegan diet – and shout about its myriad benefits for health, beauty and all-round vitality.

In the UK, the hunger for delicious vegan and vegetarian dining options is more than a match for the vibe coming out of LA: according to research commissioned by the Vegan Society, the number of people identifying as vegans has increased by a staggering 350%, compared to a decade ago.

Sharing the love – plant power for all

Colette’s sumptuous new menu evolution isn’t just for vegans, rather it is designed in response to the rising trend for plant-based eating adopted by growing numbers of consumers who are actively cutting down on the amount of meat they eat in a given week, and are also swapping dairy based milks for nut and soya milks such as almond or coconut in their morning cappuccino.

All of Bateman’s new creations are vegan friendly, but also perfect for guests with allergies such as gluten and dairy, or for those simply looking to reduce the amount of animal products they consume and explore new culinary experiences when dining out.

Bateman is a passionate believer that plant-based eating is not a fad – a truth borne out by substantial statistics that underscore the fact that this is a trend that’s very much here to stay. Nor is it a ‘diet.’ It’s a lifestyle choice to eat a mostly plant-based diet that’s as delicious as it is nutritious, with an understanding and appreciation of the provenance of the ingredients on your fork.

“We wanted to create an exciting menu suitable for everyone,” says Bateman. “The chefs in Colette’s have really enjoyed looking at food differently and working with new ingredients in the kitchen to produce the new dishes.”

Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté, Hazelnuts, Confit Lemon, Vanilla Oil

Kohlrabi Tagliatelle, Quorn & Carrot Ragu, Pine Nut Pesto

Potato & Truffle Dumplings, Barbecued Leek, Tofu Sauce, Chive Oil

Almond & Tonka Bean Ice “Cream”

Baked Chocolate & Coconut Yoghurt, Lime, Mojito

The Nature Menu starts from £65 for three courses, £85 for five courses, or £95 for seven courses. Stays at The Grove start from £340 per room per night on a B&B basis. Colette’s is open to both residents and non-residents.

The 2018 Masters – David Howell’s thoughts

Having played three tournaments in consecutive weeks, which included teeing it up in Qatar, South Africa and India, it is pleasing to know that all of the conditioning work I have been doing with Rob Goldup and the additional practice sessions I’ve done on the driving range and in the gym at The Grove over the last few months is really starting to pay off and hopefully the injuries that have plagued me are now in the rear-view mirror. This upturn in form and fitness enables me to look forward to 2018 with renewed confidence and, for me, like almost every golfer, this means I can turn my attention to the first Major Championship of the year, and with only a few weeks to go, Georgia is now, quite naturally, on my mind.

I have been lucky enough to play at Augusta National Golf Club three times so far in my career and my overriding memory of my Masters experience happened long before I ever set foot on the golf course. Having had a good season in 2004, I’d managed to play my way into the world’s top 50 by the end of the year, so I knew I had made the cut and would be able to play in the 2005 Masters. However, even though it wasn’t a surprise, nothing can prepare you for the moment that the formal invitation arrives through the letterbox. It feels like Christmas and from the moment I opened the envelope I couldn’t wait to get out to Georgia and compete for the green jacket. I was obviously playing well at the time, but you can never be sure that you will receive the invitation again so I was very conscious of the fact that I needed to make the most of the experience, so plans were immediately put in place for a number of family and friends to travel out with me so we could enjoy the adventure together.

Arriving at Augusta National Golf Club is another moment that I will never forget. Having watched the tournament on TV for years you feel a certain familiarity with the venue, but nothing can prepare you for that first time you arrive as a guest of the club and I spent the first day just walking around to not only get my bearings, but to fully immerse myself in the whole experience. The other thing that I noticed quite early on in 2005, and it was the same in 2006 and 2007, is that all of the players are just like you and everyone is in a really good mood and slightly awe-struck of the splendour of it all, which certainly helps put you at ease. I made the cut in 2005 and eventually finished tied 11th – my best finish at Augusta – 10 shots behind Tiger Woods, who managed to hold off the challenge from Chris DiMarco, in part thanks to that miraculous chip-in on the 16th hole.

It is great to have Tiger back playing again and his name will now rightly join the thousands of conversations people will have around who will claim this year’s title. For me, there are so many players coming into the tournament in such good form that it is as open as it has been for many years, so I am looking forward to tuning into the TV and watching all of the action unfold.

Shots to help master Augusta

It is obviously important to drive the ball well and being able to hit the ball over 350 yards is a clear advantage, but it is actually quite generous from the tee, so the key to a having a good week at Augusta is how well you manage your game around the greens. You will often find yourself slightly out of position having to play off a tight lie onto greens that are as quick as any we play on Tour and with the severe slopes you often can’t just hit the ball towards the hole, you have to be creative with your shot choices, which is something that I always really enjoyed.

WATCH: David’s top tip to play off a tight lie around the green

David’s Ones-to-Watch

The big names such as Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and of course Jordan Spieth can never be written off, but of the American challengers I’m going to pick Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. Both come into the week having won recently and with five green jackets between them, the layout of the course obviously suits their games and I expect both to be in contention on Sunday afternoon.

Of the European contenders, I think Tommy Fleetwood has a great chance. His game has matured so much over the last couple of years and he is now consistently playing well week in and week out and he has all of the attributes to do well at Augusta so I would expect him to continue the upward trajectory his career is on at the moment. My second tip would be Justin Rose. Justin came so close last year and he comes into the tournament in good form having finished the 2017 season off so strongly so it wouldn’t surprise me if he claimed his first green jacket on April 8.

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day at The Grove

We are proud to champion equality in the workplace and today, on International Women’s Day, we are sharing the journeys of a few of our most inspiring women at The Grove.

Anna Darnell | Director of Golf and Leisure

I started my journey as a keen young golfer at the age of 5 and by the time I started senior school I knew that I wanted a career in golf. I took the positives from being in a very male dominated sport and was fortunate enough to stand out from the crowd, which secured my first role as a trainee professional at an exclusive private members club.  From there, I took on a challenge in the Middle East and continued to teach students such as the King of Bahrain, other diplomatic dignitaries and the national golf team.  After I met my husband, now of 13 years, I moved back to the UK to pursue a role in golf operations.  I joined The Grove in March 2005 and since then I have moved from corporate sales to retail and instruction to golf operations and finally stepped into my dream role as Director of Golf in March 2011. I felt this was a huge achievement as a female at the age of 29. One of my proudest moments was the final day of the British Masters in 2016, when we were able to look back and see how well we performed as a team. Since then, my role has become much broader and I am now looking at how we can improve the experience of our leisure guests through the resort reservations and activities teams, and more recently how we can bring our golf guest journey together with our food and beverage team in The Stables.  With the varied teams I deal with on a daily basis, there is never one day the same and always new challenges that present themselves, which has been the biggest learning curve for me, but also what I enjoy most about my role.

Natasha Geldenhuys | Deputy Head Gardener

My journey at The Grove started back in 2003 at the grand opening, when I was working as part of the contractor team for McQueen’s florist, London. My love grew for the estate and after four years I became a part time gardener. After a short break and relocation from The Grove, I returned in April 2010 as a full time gardener, dropping my first child at Anouska’s Nursery every morning. In December 2010 I became Formal Gardens Supervisor and I think I can safely say that with help I re-planted every inch of the Formal Gardens. I then took another break in 2013 to have my second child; I couldn’t wait to return so as soon as he was 3 months, I was back to my paradise gardens at The Grove. Whilst away I had so many ideas of how to create wow factors within the gardens and couldn’t wait to get started. In 2015 I created what is now ‘The Vista’, a border with an airy feel, alive with bees, butterflies and birds. Later that year I was promoted to Deputy Head Gardener, I must say was very nervous about this and without the support from The Head Gardener and the gardens team this could have been a tough call. During the last three years our department has flourished, creating gardens for all to enjoy, complete with woodland benches and shelters crafted from recycled materials. We joined the Wildlife Trust in 2017, which has given the gardens department new direction; we are all eager to plough forward in developing our estate management skills. I try to create individual objectives for each member of the team by embracing their interests, talents and strengths, which has proven to be both enjoyable and successful. Most importantly, I love getting my hands dirty, getting stuck into the task at hand, I strive to improve our environment for our team and guests alike. I am proud after nine years to be part of The Grove gardens and estate department and can’t wait to get into work every day.

Daisy Telliam | Head Therapist

My first role after completing my Beauty Therapy course was on board the Royal Carribean Radiance of the Seas – I got to see the most amazing places, from Australia to Bora Bora, Hawaii to Alaska but most importantly I found a career that I loved, where I was able to help people feel their best. Once I returned, I started my first role with The Grove. I have now been with the company for 3 and a half years and in that time I have progressed from Essential Therapist to Advanced Therapist, then Senior Therapist to Head Therapist. When I was first offered the role of Head Therapist, I knew that it would be a challenge as it was outside of my comfort zone, but I was prepared to do what I needed to do to not only make myself proud but my managers and teammates proud too. I love managing our therapy team and I feel that in my role I am not just ensuring the day to day running of the spa is in order, I am also taking care of our guests and my team that I care so much about. I am able to have an impact on their journeys as therapists and I hope that I can encourage them to fulfil their potential. I hope that from my journey they can see that anything is possible with hard work, dedication and a positive attitude.

Amelia Lawrence | Executive Housekeeper

Liaising with a whole host of suppliers, from florists to maintenance engineers, I oversee the activity to maintain the cleanliness and appearance of the hotel. I have been at The Grove for almost seven years and have a strong team, who enjoy working in housekeeping as much as I do. Every day is different, every day has its challenges, but every day we ensure that guests have the best possible experience. Throughout my career, I have managed housekeeping departments with 150 bedrooms right through to 1000, winning UK Housekeeper of The Year in 1995 and 2017, as well as being runner up in the AA Housekeeper of The Year in 2009 and 2013. It is an amazing job, which I have been proudly doing for 30 years.

Andrea Laszlo | Chef de Partie at The Stables

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to become a Chef, following in my Grandfather’s footsteps. As soon as I moved to the UK, I started my Chef’s Academy training, and after a number of roles in restaurants and hotels I secured my position at The Grove, working as part of a small team at The Stables. It is a male dominated environment but as a confident and driven woman, I don’t let that stand in my way. I don’t treat my job as work, I genuinely love what I do so spend my spare time dreaming up new dishes with innovative flavor combinations, that often become our specials. I am constantly striving to improve, and started my HIT training last year with the help of The Grove. Earlier this week I entered my first UK competition, the Hotelympia Masterchefs of Great Britain Challenge and won bronze. Next year, I have made it my mission to win gold!

Magical Easter breaks for families at The Grove

Dreaming of a luxury family Easter break to really put a spring in your step? At The Grove hotel, we love creating activities to delight our youngest guests throughout the year, but this Easter we’ve pulled some extra stunning tricks out of our hat.

Whether you’re planning an overnight stay combined with a day out in leafy Hertfordshire and beyond, or a longer break during the Easter holiday period, we’ve got a whole host of fun-filled activities in store.  Check out the highlights of our special family events for Easter, which run from Saturday 24 March to 1 April (Easter Monday) – and you can also enjoy many of these activities during stays up until 15 April…

The Grove Easter Egg Hunt

No Easter would be complete without a traditional egg hunt, which is exactly what you can expect on Easter Sunday at The Grove. Keep your eyes peeled for our Easter Bunny who will be hopping around to create a delightful Easter Egg Hunt in our Walled Garden. Come and collect a basket and your little ones can run around and find the Easter tokens (pictures and plastic eggs) hidden by our Bunny – which they can then exchange for sweets in The Potting Shed. Here, you’ll find a pop-up traditional sweet shop, where our activities team will exchange your tokens for bags of sweets (supervised by you, so you can keep an eye on the sugar). We also ensure every child receives a small chocolate Easter egg, along with a certificate to keep as a memento of the day.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Fancy a trip to Wonderland? Then book your child a seat at the Mad Hatter’s table on 2 April. Created by a troupe of professional actors who dress up as characters from Alice in Wonderland, this exciting tea party hosts up to 30 children on a long table (with a black and white checked tablecloth, of course) in The Potting Shed. While the kids are tucking into delicious finger food and getting their photos taken with the characters, you can relax in the nearby lounge area. (Costs £15 per child and parents must be in attendance).

The Woodland Trail

Are you concerned that your children are spending too much time indoors, glued to their digital screens? Our magical Woodland Trail, nestled in our 300-acre country estate, offers all our guests a rejuvenating breath of fresh air. Perfect for children of all ages, this landscaped pathway runs through the hotel grounds and is designed for outdoor pursuits, leisurely strolls and the provides the opportunity to engage with nature.

Grab a pair of wellies and head down to the woods to discover our nine musical stations along the trail, including instruments crafted from salvaged wood and bamboo. You can take your pick of three routes: the first comprises a 20-minute walk, including the music stations; the second is a 30-40-minute stroll down to the Grand Union Canal and takes in our nature area, created in association with the Wildlife Trust. The third route goes beyond the canal and back up through the other side of the estate and takes around one hour on foot.

Peddle power

In addition to standard bikes, which can be hired by guests whenever the mood to peddle off strikes, we now offer exciting Segway Experiences for adults, and children aged 10 and above (£50 adult; £25 children). Our activities team will give you a training session on how to operate and steer the Segways before taking you on a tour through The Woodland Trail. The experience lasts one hour, and tuition is included in the price.

Treasure hunts

Come in search of bounty? We’ve got two great games to appeal to young pirates and little special detectives. Pick up our Treasure Hunt map from reception, which features 11 clues, each representing a letter you’ll find hidden around the grounds of the hotel. The 11 letters make a word – if you think you’ve unscrambled it to make the correct word, come back to reception to claim your prize of chocolate coins, sweets or fruit. There’s a new treasure hunt every day. Or maybe a little game of ‘I spy?’ Younger kids love our fun scavenger hunt, which challenges them to spot 12 natural features and animals – such as ladybirds, rabbits and trees in our grounds – tick them off the Scavenger Hunt list, which you can also pick up from reception.

Falconry displays

Our new ‘Hawking Displays’ have become a big hit with guests who gather on the lawns outside The Glasshouse restaurant to watch displays of birds of prey, including golden eagles, over the golf course and grounds, performed by our expert instructor.  The displays take place every weekend.

Easter down to a ‘t’

Our Championship Golf Course is perfect for seasoned professionals and budding golfers alike. Our Kids’ Golf Clinic, in which our resident pros teach them the basics before playing fun games, is open to children aged 5-15 years. It costs £20pp and runs 10-11am every Saturday and Sunday. For guests staying mid-week, we also have a three-hour Golf Camp for Kids (also 5-15 years), usually held on Wednesdays, from 9-12am. Parents can drop their children off for both activities – which are fully supervised by our team.

Indoor games

When the sun is nowhere to be seen, there is no shortage of indoor play. Set in the heart of our Walled Garden, the Potting Shed houses our indoor play area, complete with board games, arts and crafts, playstations, Lego and even a cosy corner showing their favourite Disney films. There’s also Twister, giant Jenga and classic games such as Monopoly and Frustration.

Splash time

Hidden behind the enchanting gates of our Walled Garden are the turquoise waters of our heated outdoor pool, complete with urban beach area. If the weather is not looking too bright, then take a dip in our dedicated indoor kids’ pool. Both are free to use but please note that children must always be accompanied by an adult.

Wizard excursions

Are your children fans of Harry, Hermione and Ron? If so, why not include a trip to the nearby Warner Bros. Studios and take The Making of Harry Potter Tour. It’s also a fun day out for anyone transfixed by the artistry of movie special effects. This immersive experience takes you deep inside the world of technical, design, animation and filmmaking genius that bring the magic of J.K. Rowling’s much-loved books to life.

On the trail of Easter Deals

Take your pick from our special offers for Easter holiday breaks, available for stays from 23 March – 15 April, including 50% off your second night, and three nights for the price of two. For Easter Weekend Breaks (29 March -3 April), we’re also offering a complimentary night when you stay for three nights, giving you a little longer to enjoy all The Grove has to offer.