Wednesday 22 January 2020

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Home > > MACDONALD BERYSTEDE HOTEL & SPA, Ascot, Berkshire


At-a-Glance Guide

126 bedrooms including 6 suites, disabled access rooms
bar, AA Rosette restaurant, private dining
2 lounges
spa, indoor pool, thermal suite, gym, treatments
secluded gardens, terrace, outdoor pool
B&B from £99 per double



The story of the Berystede begins in the 1870s, when the 10th Lord Elibank leased over 30 acres of land to the Standish family, who built the original house on this site. Its name, Bery Stede, came from two old English words: bere meaning ‘pasture land’, and stede meaning ‘the site of a dwelling’.

Henry Standish and Helene de Perusse, daughter of a French count, had married in 1870, when he was 23. They already had estates in both England and France, but their close friendship with the Prince and Princess of Wales - later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra - made a country house within easy reach of London and Windsor essential. Proximity to Ascot racecourse, where the annual Royal Meeting was held, was also important. The Standishes not only joined the Royal Family’s party at the races, but also held their own Ascot Week celebrations – a tradition which the hotel continues today. The young couple’s new residence, with its quaint Gothic/Tudor mix of styles, was the very height of Victorian fashion - and would have looked very much like the core of the present hotel. It was well-staffed: with a butler, a valet, a cook, a housekeeper, maidservants, a lady's maid and a night watchman. A small army of gardeners tended the newly landscaped grounds, and Berystede Lodge - still standing at the Brockenhurst Road entrance – was then (as until recently) the home of the head gardener. The stables - now the garage – housed grooms, footmen, coachmen, fine horses and splendid carriages emblazoned with the Standish crest: an owl, with a rat in its talons proper. For those who both visited and were visited by Royalty, only the very best would suffice. In the early hours of October 27, 1886, the original house was destroyed by fire. There was one fatality: Mrs. Standish's lady's maid, Eliza Kleininger – who had rushed back into the burning building to retrieve the jewellery she’d hoped would help fund her approaching retirement. The following morning, the Prince of Wales came over from Windsor to inspect the ruins and comfort the family.

Following the tragic fire, the land reverted to the Elibanks and remained derelict for some years. Towards the end of the century, the ruins were rebuilt and, soon after, the new Berystede became a hotel. An advertisement in a 1903 issue of Country Life talks of 'rooms, which were not only twice the size of ordinary hotel bedrooms, but were furnished and appointed as only rooms are in the country houses of the best people - sumptuous, elegant and in perfect taste, with fine, genuine old furniture, beautiful flowers and dainty linen’ and adds that ’There is no charge for billiards, none for fires in one's bedroom, or baths, or lights, or attendance. The place is full of titled people and yet the charges are most reasonable’.

The Berystede was bought by the Chaplain family in 1920. In the early 1930s, there was another disastrous fire but, after refurbishment, the hotel emerged a little larger and a lot more modern. In 1937, Trust Houses Ltd. acquired the Berystede, with 14 acres of ground. Although some land was later sold, the old Victorian garden remained a feature.

During the Second World War, the Berystede became the temporary home of the Courts of Justice, and 180 cases were dealt with during this period, with prisoners brought down daily from London to stand trial. Officers of the Royal Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery were billeted at the hotel when Woolwich Arsenal was moved from its vulnerable London address to Ascot Racecourse, where the men and their mounts found a new home. And, from 1943, officers of the 8th and 9th US Air Force, the 1st Allied Airborne Army and the 9th Troop of Carrier Command were accommodated at Berystede, while stationed at nearby Silwood Park.

After the war, the hotel was enlarged and extended and a conference wing added. In 2001, what had been the Forte Heritage Berystede Hotel became the Macdonald Berystede Hotel. Five years later, a £10million redevelopment gave it a spa and 39 new bedrooms.


This luxurious country-house hotel takes pride in recreating, for its Ascot Week guests, the house-party atmosphere of the original Berystede - which was involved in the Royal Meeting from the time it was built, in the 1870s. Two public rooms in the hotel are named after racing events. The Hyperion Restaurant honours the famous Derby winner who, when he died in 1960, had sired the winners of 748 races - more than any horse before him. The bar is named after the Diadem Stakes, a six-furlong sprint first held at Ascot in October, 1946 - the first year in which a meeting other than the Royal Meeting had been held there.


With its award-winning restaurant, secluded gardens, inviting sun terraces, indoor and outdoor pools and spa, it makes a relaxing contrast to a day at the races, and to some of the other attractions for which it’s so well-placed, including Windsor Castle and – for families – Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park. It’s also a good place for a group of girlfriends to gather for a getaway, combined with some treats and treatments in the spa. The hotel is licensed to perform civil wedding ceremonies.


A sweeping oak staircase sets the tone for the Berystede’s very at-home’ ambience – as do open fires on chilly nights. The invitingly cosy Oak Lounge serves morning coffee and afternoon tea, as well as snacks. The Wentworth Lounge, with its soft leather sofas, has the air of a gentlemen’s club, and – like the adjoining Diadem Bar - a sporting theme to accompany its screened sporting events.

Drinks are served in the Diadem Bar, in the lounges and on the terrace.

The Berystede’s acclaimed chefs serve only the finest Scottish beef, lamb, pork and wild white fish, and source local, organic suppliers for vegetables and dairy products where possible. The elegant AA Rosette Hyperion Restaurant has full-length windows to make the most of the view, and an outdoor terrace for al fresco dining. Both an à la carte and a table d'hôte menu are offered.

More casual dining options are available in the Wentworth and Oak Lounges.

Bedrooms are contemporary in design, with plush soft furnishings and luxury en-suite bathrooms. As well as Classic double or twin rooms, there are more spacious Executive rooms, some of which inter-connect while others are spacious enough for two extra beds or cots.
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Ideal for special occasions are the opulent feature rooms. Set in the original manor house, with high ceilings and period features, these include Four-poster and Canopied-bed rooms, as well as the four Turret rooms, each featuring an integral turret lounge.
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The ultimate luxury is a spacious suite. Most have separate living and dining areas, large luxury bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes - plus plenty of room for a whole family. The unique Turret Suite has a separate, alcove seating area and views over the gardens.
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An air of serenity greets you as soon as you enter the fragrant, candlelit inner sanctuary of The Berystede’s Vital Spa. With six spa treatment rooms, a calming relaxation suite and two nail bars, it’s invitingly indulgent. There’s also a detoxifying thermal suite, an indoor pool and a gym.

You can relax or stroll in the landscaped formal gardens, or take a dip in the tropical warmth of the outdoor pool.

Our Book Now and Make an Enquiry buttons connect you directly to the Macdonald Berystede.

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