Saturday, February 6, 2010

In a Manor of Speaking

I have just returned from a business trip to the UK where I got to stay in one of my favorite places, The Hanbury Manor. It is actually a renovated Jacobean style mansion that was built in 1890 by Edmund Hanbury for his wife, after she refused to live in the existing home on the 2000 acre property that was built in the 16th century. After Edmund died in 1913, the property was vacant until it was bought and renovated for use as a convent. The Marriott bought the property in the 1990's, renovated it again, and then opened it as a hotel, spa and championship golf course.

The property has a wide sweeping circular drive that gives a good view of the entire impressive structure, which is impossible to capture in a single photo.

I really love the twisting chimneys.

For the first time in my many stays here, I got a room in the older section of the hotel, part of the original mansion. The Marriott added a wing but kept with the original architecture, and added a completely separate building a good walk from the main building, this is where I normally stay.

Here are some shots of the hallway in the older section of the hotel.

The view out of the window of my room. The windows didn't open so I had to shoot through the glass.

There are many other impressive features inside the hotel, but I haven't quite mastered the crazy picture taking blogger "I don't care what you think of me" attitude yet so I went for a walk around the grounds instead. Winter isn't the prettiest time of year to visit, but the grass was still green and the sky was blue that day.

It is hard to adequately capture the size of the trees on the grounds of the hotel, but they are massive. There just aren't trees like this in our part of the U.S.

These are the gardens, surrounded by this really tall wall. The other building of rooms I mentioned above is on the other side of this massive garden. It is VERY dark at night and quite a scary walk from the main building, where all the restaurants are.

On one of my stays in the summer time, I was walking through the garden and found an older man in his bathrobe (with nothing that I could tell underneath) playing croquet. That is an image I wish I could erase from my mind.

Later that day, I was out walking the grounds and had to dive into the bushes when a police car came screeching past with sirens blasting. I have no idea if it was related to the bathrobe man or not.

The next morning, I was sitting in the very impressive hall that sits just outside of the reception area waiting for my taxi. Picture a 2 story high ceiling with dark mahogany features, fireplaces, antique furniture and decor. I heard a bunch of commotion, and in ran a squirrel, followed by several members of the staff with brooms. It was a very entertaining trip. The rest of my stays have been uneventful, in comparison.

On the front side of the building is the beautiful golf course.

After this I went to Barnard Castle, which is in the north of England. I stayed at the Jersey Farm hotel again where I stayed in September. You can read about it here. It was very cold, snowy and foggy, all of their animals must have been in the barn, and I was only there for 1 night and 1 day so I didn't get any good pictures this time.

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