Belmond le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons review – my big birthday celebration round two!

UK Hotels

Here is an updated Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons review.

We first went to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for my 50th birthday a few years back. It was just after my cancer and was a suitable celebration after some difficult weeks.

When our plans for this Christmas fell apart due to the planned border control strike, we decided to treat ourselves to one diner and one night there just before New Year’s Eve.

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons prices

  • 32 rooms
  • Double room from £660
  • For families: cot & highchair available. The gastronomic restaurant offers a menu for children

Belmond Le Manoir is an easy drive from London

Location: 3/5

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is located in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England. It is a picturesque small village home to a 16th Century manor house, a 12th Century church, and a number of listed buildings from various eras. It is a picturesque place to visit and walk around after your overnight at the hotel.

It’s a very easy drive from London, about one hour.

My first recommendation would actually be to consider getting a taxi there for diner (as you don’t want to drive after drinking). Yes it wouldn’t be a cheap ride but it probably would end up being cheaper than staying overnight as the rooms are really expensive.

The hotel itself has gardens to explore but not much more, at leat not in the winter. In 2023 there will be the addition of a spa with a pool as I mentioned in my list of new hotels opening in 2023.

A luxury welcome at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons

Service: 5/5

Without doubt a stellar service through and through.

The welcome was a very special on arrival. The lady came to the car with an umbrella to make sure we wouldn’t get wet from the rain and then as soon as we were in the lobby, she offered some champagne and a soft drink for Mademoiselle.

The checkin was actually done in the room as she showed us around while registering us on a tablet. Such a comfortable way to start your stay. There was another bottle of champagne waiting for us, some fruits and a delicious lemon drizzle cake. They even provided a box to be able to take the fruits and cakes back home, which we did.

Whether at diner, breakfast of when walking around, every member of the team was extremely friendly and professional and clearly enjoying their job.

Choose your room carefully at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons

Style: 3/5

While everything else is stellar at Le Manoir, I do think the style around the hotel has to be updated.

The main areas, the lounges, the restaurant, are classic and that’s fine. There was a very lovely Christmassy atmosphere with lots of lights and decorations and it felt very cosy.

The rooms though are a bit stuck in what was considered luxury 20 years ago. 5 years ago, we had one of the highest category room, called L’Orangerie. While it was big and relatively understated compared to others in the hotel, it lacked personality in my view. It was also in the gardens so built more recently.

This year, we had a Studio suite and I had specifically asked for Hydrangea, which was really lovely. It was in the main house which meant we had the charm of the windows, under the roof beams and lovely views over the classic lavender entrance pathway.

It was classic in style but quite understated with a fresh flowery theme and most of all lots of space!

My second recommendation is thus to look very carefully at the photos on the website and to not hesitate to ask for the ones you prefer. I was told that they couldn’t guarantee my preference but in the end, we did get the one I had selected, which was great.

As soon as we walked in the room, we really liked the sense of space. It had a big king-size bed for Mr Big and a lot of seating areas to relax. The sofa was turned into a sofabed for Mademoiselle for the night. The bathroom was spacious with a bath that looked more like a min pool, a big shower and some very fragrant olive oil toiletries.

Lots of little touches to make us feel special. I mentioned the cakes and fruits but also complimentary soft drinks, complimentary slippers, soaps etc.

A 2 Michelin star diner at Belmond Le Manoir

Food: 4.5/5

Obviously you mostly come here for Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant.

The food was really good throughout, the choice of produce was perfect and totally seasonal.  Every thing you ate was so good and so French!

I enjoyed the experience more the first time as we were able to choose à la carte: I had the langoustines to start followed by the duck.  Mr Bigg had the salmon to start followed by beef.  We were both very very happy with our choice.

Maybe because it was the festive season, this year, we had no choice but to go for the 7 course taster menu. It seems to be the trend at the moment. While I appreciate that it’s easier for the kitchen and can help guests discover more dishes, it takes away the pleasure of the choice and seeing who out of the two of you picked the best dish. It also means that by the 5 dish, you are quite full and can appreciate the last ones as much.

Which is a bit of a pity as every dish deserves for you to have your full palette and appetite. We loved the onion soup with Vacherin, the scallop with citrus, the truffled egg and the turbot. The beef was perfectly judged too but that’s when we started to falter. The lemon panacotta was a refreshing break and the chocolate desert was sublime. I wish I was still hungry by then as this was an absolute stunner but I just couldn’t finish it.

By the way, they are totally child friendly. 5 years ago, Mademoiselle was able to go to the kitchen to choose her menu and she loved it! This year she went with the same as us but they certainly indicate on the menu that children have options.

My third recommendation is thus to go when you do have the option to choose à la carte.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quatre saisons video tour

Here is the video of our stay this year and for the fun of it, I also link to the tour of the room we had 5 years ago.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons video tour

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons review – our verdict

What we liked

What could be improved

  • The food of course: the diner, the breakfast, the fantastic hot chocolate….
  • Really big room with enough space for the three of us
  • Massive and very comfortable four poster bed: 4 of us could have easily slept in there
  • Beautiful marble bathroom
  • TV falling from the roof of the bed, TV in the lounge, TV in the bathroom: the three of us could have chosen a different program each and be happy!
  • Lots of storage space
  • Outdoor area which must be lovely in warmer days
  • Nice heating in the winter!
  • Professional and very warm staff.  The fact that about half of them were French was also an advantage for me!
  • Very expensive: a burger was £42 in the lounges for instance.  Therefore it’s really a place to go for a very very special occasion.
  • Room decor varies a lot so do ask lots of questions to figure out which style will be the one you prefer.
  • It is mostly a restaurant with lovely rooms attached. It wouldn’t be our choice for a country weekend with activities, relaxing by the lounges etc (as the lounges are basically the waiting area for restaurant guests)

Our conclusion when we left was that it’s definitely a place to go to for a celebratory meal.  A full weekend is probably too much and too expensive.  But yes, the food is outstanding!

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2 Comments

  1. Encore une belle review et c’est très charmant d’entendre Mademoiselle faire le “room tour” ! well done, elle est bien partie pour une grande carrière de YouTubeuse je suis sûre ! 🙂 Je suis ravie de découvrir cet endroit (qui me fait rêver aussi depuis longtemps) sur ton blog, vous avez dû passer un formidable moment. bises

    • Merci beaucoup Argone. Oui je crois que la relève est assurée avec Mademoiselle. Le Manoir te plairait surement. Je pense qu’au printemps, le jardin doit être vraiment magnifique. Quand à la cuisine, c’est tellement agréable de revenir à la vraie cuisine classique de grande classe. A bientôt.

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