When we first made our way down the main road and entered Stratford-upon-Avon, the architecture was exactly what you would imagine from the town where William Shakespeare was born and reared, his presence still very much felt, from the various posters boasting Shakespeare tours and exhibitions to the 'Ghost of Shakespeare' who is somewhat of a local celebrity amongst the townspeople. There were a myriad of picturesque town houses, lined up so neatly and perfectly on one side of the road, and on the opposite a park of green and late autumn shades of red and auburn. Stratford-upon-Avon feels as British as can be, and as we pulled onto the drive of Arden House we were met by the exact beautiful, symmetrically architecture you would expect from such an establishment. It doesn't boast or shout in your face, it is exactly how it is described on their website, a home from home. Familiar with a touch of luxury. Comfortable, but completely decadent.
Arden house is an original Victorian Town house, and the designers have managed to balance the modern luxuries you would hope for from a hotel, whilst maintaining the original charm and class of the building. Each room is unique in its design, but the whole house maintains an obvious theme, with delicate textures, beautiful fabrics, and that je ne sais quoi that makes the experience of staying in a luxury hotel truly special. Each room has its own beautiful en suite, with a marble theme throughout and all the extra touches you could possibly need for your stay. In some ways, it is like traveling back in time, with the gallery staircases leading off to each side of the house so you can access your rooms, the original victorian flooring in the hallway and the meticulously selected pieces of furniture in the lounge area, yet it manages to maintain the things I love about staying in a modern establishment, the clean white bedding and the carefully curated decor.
The tiled floors echo your footsteps as you step into the lounge area, a vision in gold, marble and navy velvet. The glass tables strewn with an eclectic mix of magazines, a platter of fresh apples to take whenever you fancy, a bookshelf stacked with board games, a perfect fireplace surrounded by comfortable yet beautiful chairs, the high ceilings boast geometric light fittings and the textured wallpaper gives a slightly french chic vibe, while the real marble surfaces of the sideboards scream luxury. Each corner has been designed with clear intent, to create an almost fantasy like environment whilst keeping the feeling of being at home. Every step reveals another perfect touch. Enter the dining area and you are greeted by a room filled with light, an array of places to sit and enjoy your afternoon tea, the huge victorian windows looking out onto the park so you can watch the world go by. One of my favourite little corners of Arden House was the tiny conservatory on the end of the dining room, a little haven of light with a beautiful white bench, perfect for quiet moments reading. The sideboard in the dining area are stacked with complimentary snacks: olives, biscuits, popcorn, all carefully selected from small run businesses. The coffee machine is also a help yourself affair, meaning you can take a drink whenever you fancy.
When the people at the Eden Collection contacted me about a visit to Arden house, they described to me less of a stay and more of an experience. They described sideboards stuffed with afternoon tea, a selection of delicious gins for the taking, a luxury weekend in a homely atmosphere. This experience is exactly what we received and more. We were treated like royalty from the moment we set foot over the doorstep, with a house host there to cater for our every need. We were never hungry and our glass was never dry, yet we felt truly relaxed and at ease in this other worldly environment. It was a hotel experience like no other, a home from home, except a truly exquisite version.