The perfect weekend break for London's city slickers? Inn on the Green.
Don’t rely on sat-nav to get you to Cookham Dean’s Inn on the Green – it’s likely to try and take you up a steep and precarious, National Trust-signposted bridal path.
Mind you, once you’ve found it, you’ll thank the indiscriminate Gods of TomTom for keeping it so hidden. The Inn on the Green – a self-styled ‘restaurant with rooms’ – is one of those well-kept secrets the wealthy and stylish like to keep for themselves.
With only nine boutique hotel-esque rooms – each one individually designed and uniquely styled – and a Michelin-starred chef at the helm, The Inn on the Green doesn’t need to work hard to reap the good word of mouth that comes its way.
The food in the restaurant is famous in the area (one local we stopped for directions looked back wistfully when we said where we were going), while the hotel itself is a quirky mix of rural pub (think red, leather Chesterfields in the bar), country house hotel (outdoor hot tub? Check) and upmarket B&B (prices start from just £100 per room).
Our room, unusually, came with the bath and basin in the bedroom, along with gold paint on the walls, purple sashes at the window and fabulous wooden beams up above. Molton Brown supplied the lotions and potions and the music wafting up from the bar? A little Norah Jones.
The real genius of this hotel, however, is its location: just 45 minutes outside London and within a stone’s throw of Henley, Marlow and Windsor (not to mention the motorway), it’s the perfect weekend bolthole. Yet, despite being so close to so many towns and cities, you still feel in the depths of the countryside.
Situated on an old cricket green, and with two lovely pubs in walking distance, as well as a number of National Trust walking trails, the only things to do in Cookham Dean are eat, sleep and ramble around the country lanes. And, quite frankly, that was AOK with us.
Details: The Inn on the Green, The Old Cricket Common, Cookham Dean, Berkshire, SL6 9NZ (01628 482638, www.cookhamdean.com)