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Home > > HARTWELL HOUSE & SPA, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

HARTWELL HOUSE & SPA, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

At-a-Glance Guide

An Historic House Hotel of the National Trust, Relais & Chateaux
30 bedrooms & suites in house, 16 in Court; 4-bedrm Old Rectory, accessible rooms
bar, restaurant, spa cafe, private dining
great hall, drawing room, morning room, library
spa, indoor pool, steam, saunas, gym, treatments
90-acre parkland, tennis cts
B&B from £290 per double

HARTWELL HOUSE & SPA, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire


Almost 1000 years ago, Hartwell was the seat of William the Conqueror’s son William, and then of John Earl Mortaigne who succeeded his brother, Richard the Lionheart, as king of England in 1199.
However, the Jacobean and Georgian Hartwell House you see today was built in the early 1600s for Sir Alexander Hampden and passed, through marriage, to the Lees - ancestors of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
One eccentric resident member of that family was Dr. John Lee, President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1862. He built an observatory at Hartwell; put manuscripts, coins and medals collected on his Middle-East travels on display there, and held Temperance Festivals in the park – and paid the local inn-keeper to stay closed while they took place.
A more famous occupant was the exiled king of France, Louis XVIII, who held court here from 1809 until 1814 – and signed the document confirming his accession to the throne in the Library. With him at Hartwell were his queen, Marie-Josephine (portraits of the royal pair hang on the main staircase); his brother, who succeeded him as Charles X; the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, who were beheaded in the French Revolution; and Sweden’s exiled king, Gustave IV.
Hartwell’s 90 acres have seen many changes over the centuries: 300 years ago, the garden was formally laid out with allées, canals, temples, statuary, columns, an obelisk and an amazing yew tree exedra - or semi-circular hedge. By the middle of the 18th century, most of the formality had been swept away by landscaper by Richard Woods - a follower of ‘Capability’ Brown. Around this time, Sir William Lee built two folly walls in the form of a triumphal Roman arch, using – and therefore saving - ornate stone detail from Hartwell’s Jacobean façade.
In 1938, Hartwell was bought by Ernest Cook, grandson of the founder of Thomas Cook Travel Agency. During World War II, it was an Army billet for British and American troops. In 1956, it was a girls’ finishing school. In 1983, Historic House Hotels took on the lease, and restored Hartwell to its stately home magnificence.


The features for which this acclaimed country house are famous – its decorative plasterwork, fine panelling, marble fireplaces and Jacobean staircase - have all been carefully restored, and the magnificent 94 acres of parkland surrounding it are beautifully maintained.


This unique property's outstanding features will weave a spell for those who appreciate fine things and historic surroundings.
Hartwell House is licensed to perform civil wedding ceremonies.


Exquisite public rooms epitomise inviting grandeur, with their superb furnishings, fine paintings, and fresh flowers from the gardens. The Drawing Room’s soft lamps, muted colours and dark woods weave a relaxing spell. The Library flaunts bright upholstery, and a vast collection of books. The beautiful Morning Room, richly embellished with gold, brass and burnished wood, is light and bright on even the dullest days.

As well as a wood-panelled bar, in the main house there are three elegant dining rooms comprising the 3 AA Rosette restaurant, serving imaginative cuisine with a classical foundation. The A La Carte, the six-course Tasting Menu and daily menus all feature seasonal local produce, and Hartwell’s own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Guests can choose a more informal, value-for-money dinner menu on Friday and Saturday nights at the Spa Cafe. Hartwell House maintains an extensive wine cellar.

Guestrooms feature a sofa or two armchairs, flat-screen satellite TV (DVD player on request, plus there is a DVD library for guest use), a dressing table with mirror which doubles as a desk, hospitality tray with mineral water and home-made biscuits, radio alarm, trouser press, hairdryer and towelling robes.

In the Main House, there are 30 bedrooms and three suites – all are individually decorated; some are named after members of the court of Louis XVIII.

On the mezzanine and second floors are 14 luxuriously decorated Standard double and twin rooms, and compact single rooms that offer every comfort for a short stay.
B&B rates per room per night: single-bedded room, £175; double-bedded room, single occupancy, £215; double or twin-bedded room, £290. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

Six Superior Royal double and twin bedded rooms, decorated in traditional country-house style, are on the first floor, with a four-poster bedroom on the Mezzanine Floor.
B&B rates per room per night: double room, single occupancy, £290; double or twin-bedded room, £390; four-poster bedroom, £390. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

The four magnificent Royal Four Poster Rooms, one at each corner of the house, have king-size beds, antiques, fine paintings and awe-inspiring views over the parklands and lake.
B&B rate per night: £500. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

The Duc de Berry Suite is the second-largest suite in the Main House and situated on the first floor. It has a living room, and bedroom with a large, en-suite bathroom and separate walk-in shower, and faces south, with views over the South Avenue and landscaped gardens. This suite is air-conditioned.
B&B rate per night: £500. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

The south-facing Lee Suite is the largest and grandest in Hartwell House, with views down the South Avenue and landscaped gardens. It has a separate drawing room and a bedroom with en-suite bathroom and shower room. Both the drawing room and bedroom feature window-seats on which to sit and enjoy the views. This suite is air-conditioned.
B&B rate per night: £700. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

A further 10 suites and six bedrooms (dogs accepted) are in Hartwell Court - a restored 18th century indoor riding school and stable on the approach to Hartwell House, and close to the Spa.
Second-floor Court Single or Small Double strong rooms have 4’6” beds.
B&B rates per room per night: single-bedded room, £175; small double, £205. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

First-floor Court Luxury Double or Twin rooms are decorated to the same high standards as those in the main house, and have king-size beds.
B&B rates per room per night: double-bedded room, single occupancy, £205; double or twin-bedded room, £270. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

Court Suites and Gallery Suites strong are on the ground and first floors. Some have immediate access to the gardens - ideal for dogs and their owners. Gallery Suites have a living room on the ground floor and a bedroom on a mezzanine galleried level – both rooms have views from the large windows.
B&B rate per night: £370. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS.

The secluded, beautifully restored Georgian Old Rectory standing in the grounds, has a 2-acre garden and a private outdoor swimming pool. It offers elegant comfort and self-contained privacy for a family or small group of friends, and features a drawing room, living room and dining room, a four-poster master bedroom with sitting room, and three other bedrooms – two king-size or twin doubles and one single - all en-suite.
Rate: £2,500 plus VAT per day, for a maximum of seven residential guests, includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, reception drinks, dinner, private dining and personal service and use of the Hartwell Spa. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFERS

Guests who stay at Hartwell House on a Saturday night and confirm Sunday lunch for two the next day can delay their check-out from 11.30am until 5pm – and have the opportunity to enjoy lunch and depart at their leisure. Please confirm your luncheon reservation when making your room booking. Offer subject to availability.

Stay on any Sunday* for just £180p for two in a Classic double or twin room or £280 for two in a Royal double or twin room - a saving of £110 on the published room rate. Offer includes cooked breakfast and use of the Hartwell Spa. Offer subject to availability. *Excludes Bank Holidays.

Enjoy a luxurious break to the Buckinghamshire countryside and see the seasons at their finest with walks around our gardens and parkland; scattered with follies, monuments and a lake. Or take up the VIP invitation from Bicester Village and indulge in some deluxe retail therapy at this luxury shopping outlet. On arrival, champagne and chocolates will await you in your room; then take advantage of a discount on treatments in the Hartwell Spa before dinner in our award-winning restaurant. Offer includes overnight accommodation, half a bottle of champagne and Hartwell chocolates, dinner to the value of £50pp per night, VIP Bicester invitation, 20% discount on treatments in the Hartwell Spa (Monday to Thursday), a cooked English breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Offer price, inclusive of VAT, is from £180pp per night (Mondays to Thursdays), £199pp per night (Fridays or Saturdays). Upgrades to a Royal Room: £35pp per night.

Hartwell Spa, modelled on an orangery, has an indoor pool, a whirlpool bath, saunas and a steam room, an all-weather, outdoor hydrotherapy hot tub and a gymnasium. A wide range of beauty treatments is available.

One of the exceptional features of Hartwell’s grounds today is the bridge over the lake – it’s one of three spans which crossed the Thames at Kew until 1900. Another is the acclaimed spring garden, planted with snowdrops, daffodils, eranthis, primroses and anemones; a path leading to the canal temple was planted with 10,000 daffodils in 2001.

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Pat's Review:
This hotel has been Personally Reviewed by Pat Richardson, founder of Hotels That Were Not . . . More 
Inside Story:

PAST & PRESENT: Fit for a king