If the roaring twenties had a spiritual home, it was Beaverbrook. This extraordinary Victorian mansion, now reinvented as a playfully glamorous country house hotel, has a history as elegant and illustrious as its former owner, the press baron and war-time MP Lord Beaverbrook.
When the media mogul drove past this grand late-Victorian mansion in the Surrey Hills in 1910 with his pal Rudyard Kipling, he knew instantly that this was the place for him. He snapped it up, quickly transforming it into the party pad du jour for the great and the good. His infamous bashes were where Charlie Chaplin partied with Elizabeth Taylor, where Ian Fleming swapped stories with Rudyard Kipling, and where Sir Winston Churchill held court at the bar.
Beaverbrook doesn’t feel like a hotel; it feels like staying in the country retreat of an effortlessly stylish, slightly mischievous friend. Guests can stay either in The Garden House or The Main House, which has 18 elegantly revamped guestrooms designed by Susie Atkinson, best known for her Soho House interiors. Each room, named after one of its former prestigious guests, reflects the history of the building while adding chic, contemporary touches. Abstract prints, silk lampshades and seagrass floors blend cleverly with roll top baths, grand four-posters and elegant antiques. And from everywhere are dreamy views over the landscaped, 470-acre estate, with the Surrey Hills rolling beyond.
A five-minute stroll takes you to The Garden House, a whimsical cottage with 11 colourful, country-chic guest rooms designed by Nicola Harding, filled with antiques, eclectic art and with views over the kitchen gardens. Downstairs is the airy, farm-to-fork restaurant, as well as the School of Cookery, offering seasonal, hands-on classes on everything from making sushi or pasta from scratch to bread-making and BBQ masterclasses.
At the centre of it all is the glamorous Sir Franks Bar, a sophisticated art deco space with a brushed bronze bar just made for propping up, martini in hand. The plush cinema, still lined with its original glossy wood panelling, features a selection of movies carefully curated by Alan Parker, the director of Fame and Bugsy Malone. This room was the UK’s first home cinema, and is where Beaverbrook and Churchill would withdraw to discuss the war’s progress.
Don’t expect standard country house fare at Beaverbrook. The Japanese Grill, overlooking the terrace and gardens, serves innovative Asian cuisine influenced by local ingredients and created by ex-Nobu Executive Chef, Taiji Maruyama. The highly experienced sommelier, Giovanni Tallu, honed his craft during a 22 year tenure at Annabelle’s in Mayfair.
The latest addition to Beaverbrook is The Coach House Health Club & Spa, offering a thoroughly holistic approach to wellness, with AMAN’s former regional spa director, Rene van Eyssen, at the helm. Everything is nurturing and nature-based, inspired by the bucolic British countryside, for a deeply healing experience. With a dramatic, stained-glass entrance and rooms flooded with natural light, deeply healing treatments and in-depth consultations with the resident naturopath encourage guests to recharge and re-energize. The state-of-the-art gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, full-time personal trainer and daily programme of classes ramps things up for guests wanting to keep active during their time away.
Give your team a shot in the arm with our Bear Grylls Survival Academy, offering a choice of adrenaline-fuelled adventures with a team hand-picked by Britain’s best-known outdoor survival expert. Shape up your skills with activities including the Everest challenge, rock rappelling and rifle shooting.
The final addition to this gem are the three new interconnecting family suites attached to The Coach House with separate living and bedrooms, picturesque private terraces and plenty of room for families to kick back and spread out. Children are kept busy at weekends with one of the UK’s most entertaining kids clubs, run by party supremos Sharky & George, with high-octane immersive woodland activities organised from a gigantic treehouse, hidden away in the estate’s forest.