The White House, De Vere Beaumont Estate, Windsor

The perfect base from which to explore Windsor, this hotel has a hidden gem at its heart


For practical, family stays in pretty locations across the UK, the De Vere group is always a dependable name, but there are few surprises in its line-up of contemporary hotels. Instead, it’s in its small collection of country estate hotels where you’ll find the brand’s true soul.

And after an expansive £50 million restoration project, these characterful properties have never looked better. The De Vere Beaumont Estate, close to Old Windsor, has just undergone the latest of these facelifts, with a £12 million makeover.

At first sight, it’s another sprawling, modern hotel (over 400 bedrooms and no less than 75 event spaces), but swerve right within the grounds away from the main building, and you’ll soon come to its glorious centrepiece.

The White House is an apt name for the impressive (all white, of course) 18th century mansion house that sits at the heart of the estate.

Dating from the 14th century, the original house was built for Hugo de Remenham, but from 1854 to 1967, it was home to Beaumont College, a Jesuit public school.

Treated as a hotel-within-a-hotel, The White House has its own pillared entrance and grand public rooms, as well as 26 newly-designed bedrooms, which include 10 spacious suites.

The result is a boutique bolthole that stands head and shoulders above the main accommodation (perfectly serviceable, but somewhat functional), so that you feel as if you have happened upon a hidden-away, intimate manor house within the grounds.

As part of the refurbishment, many of the building’s original details have been exposed and brought to the fore again.

Old carpets have been pulled up to reveal ornate, original tiling in the porch, while an elegant, curving staircase has been given a starring role in the lobby. Gorgeous turned bannisters and decorative wrought-iron spindles are highlighted with an oversized chandelier and classical dove-grey wallpaper.

The lounge space continues this Regency-era feel, with gilded mirrors, marble fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling French doors opening up to the grounds beyond. The great outdoors is reflected in the hand-painted botanical wallpaper and prints featuring flora and fauna.

The English countryside theme is also the inspiration behind the design ethos of the bedrooms. Tan leather headboards are reminiscent of old chesterfield sofas and are mix-matched with tartan textiles and black-and-white photography showing close-ups of nature from the grounds — think butterflies, tree trunks and flower petals.

The suites have a similar décor except the rooms are larger, have views over the estate and some come with lovely period details, such as ornate fireplaces.

They also have an extra smattering of luxury touches, such as Roberts radios, soft robes and slippers and stand-alone tubs in the chic bathrooms.

Nods to the building’s scholarly past are seen throughout The White House too, with vintage ‘tuck’ trunks dotted around, retro typewriters repurposed as art and original school-boy caps mounted on walls. The Grade-II-listed chapel has also been revamped with an ornate painted ceiling and stained-glass windows restored.

Thankfully, however, the restaurant offering has moved on from school dinners: Beaumont College was famous for its awful meals, apart from one dish which it invented — The Menchikoff pudding was made of sherry-soaked sponge, sweet almonds, eggs and vanilla, and was a draw for many visitors.

Now, as well as the more traditional Beaumont Restaurant and all-day café The Pantry, the culinary hub is at 1705. This includes a stylish bar and dining room (with vintage school photos, velvet banquettes and potted olive trees) and a menu packed with crowd-pleasers.

Celebrating British produce, it has a Mediterranean feel, with mezze sharing plates, Italian-style Panzanella salads and home-made pastas: ricotta and spinach ravioli is a stand-out.

There’s enough choice for non-meat eaters, too, including a tasty black-bean and sweet potato chilli, vegan burger and a delicious superfood salad topped with crispy quinoa falafel.

With Windsor Castle and the Magna Carta centre at Runnymede nearby, it’s not hard to fill several; days out. But you could easily stay put and enjoy the tennis courts, swimming pool (due to open soon after its renovation is complete) and the 44 acres of grounds surrounding the hotel.

Walks here are uplifting, especially with the willow sculptures of leaping hares, by local artist Emma Stothard. All in all, it’s the best form of education.


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