Hello. How may I help? I’m calling down again to the front desk at Luton Hoo Hotel with yet another random request, and not once do they falter. May I borrow a bike this evening to explore the park at sundown? That’s fine. Do you have an American to UK adaptor? I’ll find one. Is the gym still open? Let us get you a golf cart to take you there. What’s the internet code? (for the third time)….and so on…always charming, the reception staff are the cherry on top of this Palladian wedding cake of a hotel.
As I am such a last minute arrival, I have been given not the cupboard that my idiocy deserves, but the Queen Mary suite, two rooms so large that I regret not being able to hold a cocktail party here as it would fit forty or so people with ease.
I have two bathrooms, one with a beautiful stand alone roll top bath, and one with a walk in shower. The bedroom, hidden behind a secret door is, hands down, the most alluring I have slept in for LLG, because it feels like part of a home – albeit an extremely grand one.
There is a simply giant bed with a half tester, marble fireplace, antique furniture, (proper dressing table, cheval mirror and chest of drawers), and a dressing room with another (locked) external door, which I presume must have been an erstwhile servant’s entrance in the days from when the people staying here had ladies maids and valets. The view from the bed is over the sweeping courtyard at the front of the house and out over the landscaped grounds,
It’s a joy in sleep in a bedroom which, with it’s irregular shape and soaring ceiling is part of the fabric of the house, not a thinly-disguised & soulless corporate box carved out of a bigger space courtesy of sheetrock & plaster. Staying here in this room, with its hotpotch of beautiful furniture, soaring windows & covetable chandelier, is the closest I think anyone could get to replicating the experience of staying in a private stately home.
All that’s missing are damp sheets, moulting Labradors on the bed, & the obligatory biscuit tin and water carafe found bedside in smart homes – oh and the ladies maid. I kept thinking of Fanny’s description of staying at Hampton in Love in a Cold Climate, and of Emily Fox-Seton staying at Mallowe in The Making of a Marchioness and thinking I was rather glad to have the best of both worlds.
Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa The Mansion House, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 3TQ, United Kingdom