When we originally booked the tickets and hotel for our visit to the Harry Potter Tour, it was going to be for my birthday, so we were prepared to spend a little more on accommodations than usual. But our first priority was proximity to the studio itself. After driving all the way down to London - a five hour drive - the last thing we wanted to do was spend ages hunting down the studio on the day.
A quick google search uncovered Hunton Park, a De Vere hotel. One look at the website and we were sold, the beautiful grounds and building were exactly what anyone could hope for as a birthday treat. But, as some of you may know, I ended up in hospital a couple of weeks before hand, so we had to move our bookings, but decided to stick with the hotel we had chosen as a delayed birthday for the two of us.
It was by far the most beautiful place I have ever stayed. The gardens were stunning, the rooms were stylishly furnished and the bed was like heaven after long days on the road. The hotel had a spa, a pool and a fancy restaurant, but my favourite room by far was the 'coffee spot'. Located next to but conveniently separated from the bar, the dark walls and deep purples and golds were sumptuous and welcoming and the plush leather sofa was my spot of choice. Free tea and coffee as well as various snacks and fruit were available all day, and it was open to everyone just to sit and watch the large television. Relax.
It was also the first time I'd ever had room service, definitely an element that I miss most now that I'm home. The staff were friendly, efficient and competent, frequently going out of their way to cater to my needs. One morning, after I'd spilt scolding tea all over myself, a woman took me to the kitchen to help me dry off. When I explained that I'd missed the breakfast times because my illness means I can't get up so early, she went off to speak to the chef. They made me pancakes especially and gifted to me, an amazing start to the day.
It is so rare to find a place that makes you feel at home, especially for Stu and I, who are particularly fussy about our surroundings. But we were completely relaxed here, content. Before we had even left, we booked again for next year. We hope to actually make it for my birthday this time, and spent a little extra time in the hotel, giving us a chance to really enjoy the amazing amenities. I genuinely think that a hotel can make or break your holiday, and this definitely made a fantastic trip all the more extraordinary!