Having ever-so-slightly fallen head over heels in love with Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (we stayed at Hartwell House), we decided to book a second two-night break in this beautiful part of rural England. And now, as they say, for something completely different.
Darwin Escapes recently unveiled its Springs Resort & Golf Club in Oxfordshire, following many years of investment, culminating in the loving restoration of the 19th Century Manor House previously owned by rock legend Ian Gillan of Deep Purple.
Ian, at one point, had developed the property and grounds as a home, complete with guitar shaped swimming pool, and then a hotel. It was subsequently sold; but, over several decades, business waned, and the Manor eventually closed and fell into disrepair. Skip a few years forward and it’s acquired by Darwin Escapes who, in the words of John Hammond in Jurassic Park have “spared no expense” turning the property into something really rather special.
The resort, including hotel, spa and four new lakeside lodges, is located a mere thirty minutes from Oxford, benefitting from easy access to major road networks but surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside.
We stayed in the Orange Balsam suite. One of eight that have been individually designed “to offer guests an intimate, chic and relaxing stay”. Ours certainly did. For the price, we were genuinely blown away by the quality – beautifully designed in a boutique style but certainly not in a clichéd way.
It wasn’t long before Jennifer headed for the 1893 Spa, named after the year the Manor House was originally built, with its stunning spa lounge and hydrotherapy pool with underwater ceramic beds. Later we enjoyed dinner at the newly renovated Springs clubhouse, home to The Ridgeway Restaurant, overlooking the golf course. Our three-course meal was superb.
The following day, we visited Henley-on-Thames, Marlow (an excellent suggestion by the ladies on reception), and Oxford (we ended up watching Dune at the cinema while students queued eagerly to see Jordan Peterson at the Oxford Union). in the evening, we headed to the market town of Thame for a light evening meal. It was, in rock parlance ‘just a perfect day’. That’s the great thing about The Springs location. It’s smack bang in the middle of some of the most beautiful English towns and villages – you won’t be bored that’s for sure.
We’re not golfers, but The Springs golf course provides an excellent experience with an 18-hole, par-72 course that tracks the River Thames through 133 acres of stunning Oxfordshire countryside. I imagine if you are a golfer, this would be pure heaven – it certainly felt like it to us.
Springs Resort has also unveiled four new two-bedroom Millpond lodges, all of which come with a hot tub and landscaped decking area with beautiful views across the millpond. A further 15 one-bedroom lodges and 27 hotel lodge rooms will be opening in spring 2022 to offer a wide variety of accommodation to guests.
Drum roll please…
We have to commend everyone at The Springs for making our short stay so enjoyable. As we often say, “people make places”, and this couldn’t be truer here. Every member of staff we encountered was a credit to the company.
The Springs Resort & Golf Club
Wallingford OX10 6BE
For further information about Darwin Escapes and its numerous golf and holiday destinations and facilities visit www.darwinescapes.co.uk or follow them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @DarwinEscapes
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