Previously known as Inn on the Green, Mark Fuller – the man behind Embassy and friend to stars of varying degrees of celebrity – has revamped this attractive hotel into a sexy rural sidekick to Sanctum Soho.
Set in tranquil and picturesque surrounds, the exterior wouldn’t be out of place in a Miss Marple episode. Not so inside – English country cottage this ain’t. You’re greeted with sultry photographs of models, bright exotic prints, and a blend of black, cream and metallic tones. Tastefully executed and sensual, it’s drawn comparisons with Babington House and is being sold as a more affordable alternative closer to the Capital, although it has more in keeping with the eclectic media haunt Crazy Bear in Oxfordshire.
The glamour continues in the nine bedrooms complete with diamante door handles, gold leather weave wallpaper and mirrored furniture, while the taupe and mink balance the bling. The bed, adorned with gold croc-effect pillows and a studded headboard, proves supremely comfortable and the decent choice of films and room service menu is useful for those seeking R&R over R&B.
The bright white bathroom, super soft towels and Ren products show class. What’s lacking is information on the area – this is surprising considering it’s a stone’s throw from stunningly beautiful (and stunningly expensive) Cliveden and a few miles from Marlow and pretty Cookham on the river Thames, where Kenneth Graeme was inspired to write Wind in the Willows. But then Sanctum on the Green isn’t the kind of place you stay to go sightseeing. Its luxurious but relaxed ambience is ideally suited to professional couples looking for a bolthole that’s perfect for exciting – or reviving – passions.
One of the big selling points is the marquee on the lawn, which caters to weddings and occasions. There’s also an in-house treatment room, a hot tub, and a pool – something the compact London hotel lacks – that, in keeping with the hotel’s style, is painted black. The lovely walled patio, reminiscent of chic bars in the South of France, is made for summer parties.
Of course, for delicious., it’s as much about the food so we choose a banquette looking out on to the garden and consider the menu. First thing’s first: the wine. We opt for a grassy Spanish Sauvignon Blanc that goes down – according to my merry guest – like a slug on skates. The food is very British and very agreeable: plump Wright Brothers oysters, brought on the ubiquitous piece of slate that you needed bionic arms to lift, is followed by a smooth, well seasoned wild garlic and nettle soup with the wistful taste of the riverbank (pre-industrialisation) and a small, perfectly formed Keen Cheddar quiche with pleasingly short pastry and a sublimely cheesy filling.
For mains, the poached chicken, Earl Grey and truffle broth begs to be tried. It’s a soft, tender bit of bird, fragranced with the increasingly popular infusion of tea, accompanied by a broth subtly flavoured with heady truffle. The veggie option of Ragstone risotto cake with English pea and mint salad is a carb fest with crunch, offset with a light, clean salad.
The spine-tingling chocolate fudge brownie is the kind of pud that puts a skewed world back on its axis – crispy on the outside, soft, gooey and still warm on the inside. Food is attentively prepared here and the kitchen clearly knows its market: the breakfast menu offers the lightest options I’ve seen since a long-forgotten spa break, with egg white omelettes a joy to behold for the health-conscious.
Sanctum on the Green offers reasonably priced luxury in a peaceful setting. With crash pads from £135 it’s like a bucolic version of Brighton – a cool yet friendly place with a vital dash of glamour that reassures Londoners with its all-important proximity to the Capital.
Sanctum on the Green
The Old Cricket Common
Berkshire, SL6 9NZ