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14 Jan 2019
'The List' 2019 is revealed; a month-by-month guide of out of the ordinary transformative travel experiences, unique to the wonderful world of Belmond.
Step InsideBelmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is the creation of Michelin-starred chef and author Raymond Blanc OBE, and is the vivid manifestation of his life's work. At its heart, Belmond Le Manoir is a rare gastronomic experience, which is enhanced by the opportunity to stay in one of the manor house's 32 individually-designed hotel rooms and suites – each also a representation of Raymond Blanc's taste and passion for collecting – and to while away some hours in the 10 hectares of beautifully-landscaped organic gardens.
Cookery school and entertainmentThe Michelin-starred restaurant, rooms and gardens may be the star attractions, but with a well-established private dining room, the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School, annual Raymond Blanc Festival of Music, and a programme of gently enlightening talks from visiting designers, gardeners, florists, wine experts or sports personalities, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is definitely more than the sum of its parts.
Awards It was named ‘Best UK Hotel’ for the third year in a row at the prestigious Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards 2015; and recognised as one of the ‘Top 20 Hotels in the UK’ at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2015.
Location The manor is situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton, surrounded by the gently undulating green hills of the Cotswold escarpment, about eight miles south-east of Oxford, 35 miles from Heathrow Airport and 50 miles from London. The ancient village was recorded in the Domesday Book (a survey of England completed in 1086) and Great Milton Manor itself was primarily built in the 16th century, although parts of it date from the late 15th century and other areas were added later. It sits close to the village's Norman church, and is constructed in a deep-honey Cotswold stone, with irregular parapeted gables and mullioned windows.
Raymond Blanc's VisionRaymond Blanc, chef-patron of the Oxford restaurant Les Quat' Saisons from 1977, was not looking for a manor house when he stumbled across Great Milton Manor in 1980. As he says, “My dream was for a tiny place which I could have called 'home sweet home', with a little patch of grass, a few vegetables growing and a couple of guest bedrooms for my friends. But life is not like that; one doesn't control one's destiny. When I first saw this beautiful big house I completely fell in love with it and I knew that it would suit my cuisine so well. I chose this house precisely because it is a house. It is not a grand castle, which dictates to you how to behave. There are no ancestors looking down at you in a disapproving manner, there is no head waiter who looks like a Prime Minister...”
Restoration and developmentThe first guests were welcomed in 1984 and, as business grew, Raymond Blanc sought out specialists who could sympathetically develop the manor without destroying its character. Symm & Company, an old-established Oxfordshire firm, was appointed to add a conservatory, extend the kitchen and transform the dovecote and stables into more bedrooms. Work was also undertaken to restore and re-landscape the gardens, again with local specialist help.
The manor todayToday, framed by lavender walks, magnolia grandiflora and a dark burgundy chocolate vine, Great Milton Manor is a shining example of a piece of English architectural heritage that has been lovingly and charmingly given a new lease of life, by a Frenchman with an eye for perfection.
Raymond Blanc’s idyllic Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is a haven of culinary excellence offering individually designed bedrooms and award-winning gardens.
Its two-Michelin starred restaurant, renowned as one of Britain's finest gastronomic experiences, will delight your clients with fresh ingredients gathered from the two-acre kitchen garden. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons has its own cooking school, where your clients will learn not only the secrets of producing the finest food, but the reasons behind those secrets.Download Factsheet