Other than the giveaway in its name and the occasional low-flying aeroplane, guests at the sumptuous Luton Hoo could be forgiven for being unaware of its proximity to Luton airport.
The peace, calm and luxury make the hotel feel like a rural idyll, yet it is just 30 minutes up the M1 from North London. A winding, gravel drive flanked by towering trees, brings you to the magnificent palladian Mansion House built by Robert Adam in 1767, its 1,000 acres of parkland containing gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.
Bought in 1903 by Jewish diamond magnate Julius Wernher, who decorated it in lavish French style, it was sold and converted to a hotel five years ago, when an 18-hole golf course was added.
Rooms are spread between four buildings including the stately Mansion House and the new Warren Weir, whose grand ballroom is perfect for simchahs.
The formal dining option is the Wernher Restaurant (jacket and tie please, chaps) where the style of the erstwhile owner is recalled in ornate panelling and glistening chandeliers. A large menu includes well-prepared fish and vegetarian dishes, best enjoyed at a table with views of the gardens.
At the less-formal Adam's Brasserie, Sunday jazz brunches are a big attraction. Breakfasts feature fresh fruit, cereals, pastries, eggs and deli items.
The spa is a real treat, with large pool, sauna and steam room, plus pampering and therapeutic treatments. All perfect for a decadent break close to London.
RATES: Deluxe double from £270
PHONE: 01582 734437