Lady Golfer review: The Grove
My boyfriend and I have recently adopted a Chihuahua type mongrel. His skill set includes sleeping, foraging scraps and moulting. Moulting he does well.
So when we arrived at The Grove, my black coat covered in white fur, I was anxious. In posh places, I am perpetually worried that people will spot I’m an imposter.
The Grove is a 5-star country mansion and golf resort of high repute and rich history. Its foundations date back to 1703 and, having undergone many transformations, it was reborn in its current semblance in 2003. Since then it has hosted the G20 London summit and the World Golf Championship. But despite all of this, it’s not posh, or stuffy, but rather plush, cosy and unfailingly welcoming.
We stayed in The Mansion wing where a chic boudoir aesthetic runs from the dark velvet curtains and low lighting that line the corridors, to the ostrich feathers that mark the corners of the modern four-poster beds. But it is not excessive; these touches remind you that you are somewhere new and special, a place to indulge, while everything else works to make you feel at ease.
The beds are big and comfy, the bathrooms are spacious and well lit, the views are sprawling and green and the mini bar is well stocked.
The dining options range from an easy going but extensive buffet set up in the Glass House, to a more formal experience in Colette’s restaurant. Perhaps the best, or certainly the most lively, atmosphere can be found at The Stables restaurant, where a beautifully executed bar menu covers everything from fish and chips to pot roast shoulder of salt marsh lamb and enticing smoked Hartlepool haddock, leek and parsley risotto.
Everything is homemade, carb-heavy and delicious. For a touch of sophisticated gluttony, sample afternoon tea in the lounge. The tea selection alone warrants its own menu, while dainty cakes, uniform, crustless sandwiches and warmed scones come as standard. Everything is homemade, carb-heavy and delicious.
Refurbishments on The Grove’s Espa spa, Sequoia, were completed in September 2014 and it is now at its immaculate best. New facilities include the heat experience rooms; a sauna, steam room and sensory shower and a relaxation room, where guests can nestle in and embrace deep, uninterrupted slumber.
While the pool house is all wooden beams and big windows, the indoor pool is a slick, onyx black cube, akin to something you’d see in a bond villain’s lair. The spa treatment list includes both male and female, golf specific treatments at around the £120 mark. The signature is The Orangery Experience, a top-to-toe ritual designed to nourish and firm the entire body. After a facial, full body exfoliation, foot bath, anti-oxidant mousse wrap and anti-aging contouring facial massage, the treatment leaves you invigorated, yet blissfully weak and de-stressed.
Opened to much acclaim in 2003, the course doesn’t have the illustrious history of the Manor House but you would be hard pressed to notice. What it lacks in age it makes up for in breeding, designed by Kyle Phillips and host to the 2006 WGC-American Express Championship, won by Tiger Woods.
From the second you set foot on the practice range to the moment you shake hands on the 18th you get the feeling that no expense has been spared. Despite The Grove’s excellent reputation for course condition, I was taken aback – a country estate/parkland course is rarely this good in high summer, let alone in the winter.
The course follows the natural undulations of the estate, while Phillips’ design can be seen in the raised greens and visually deceiving bunker placement. Regardless of your ability, much like the hotel and spa, golf here is a truly luxury experience.