The Crown Inn, Amersham, hotel review
Dating back to the 16th-century The Crown manages to skilfully combine the character of a period coaching inn and the luxury of a modern hotel.
Tell us more…
The 37-bedroom establishment surrounds a pretty cobbled courtyard which is accessed under an archway from the High Street – back in the day coaches would pass under here when stopping for a night’s stay at the inn.
The hotel, bar and restaurant were all redesigned in 2009 by celebrated interior designer Ilse Crawford, whose portfolio includes Soho House New York and Grand Hotel Stockholm.
Part of Dhillon Hotels Ltd, The Crown is one of a small family of modern coaching inns, all in historic timber-framed buildings.
Where is the hotel?
The hotel is on the main High Street and the corner of Church Street in Amersham, a quaint little market town in Buckinghamshire.
How to get there
Heathrow airport is about 18 miles away. There is free parking available should you want to drive. Or, if you get the train, the inn is only a mile or so from Amersham train station. The best thing to do is to get a cab from there, don’t do as I did and attempt to walk from the station. I followed the maps on my phone and ended up walking down a rather scary pitch-black alley followed by a dangerous hike down a country road with no pavements.
What’s in the area?
There is so much history in the little market town. Wander up and down the cobbled streets and you’ll see pretty Georgian houses, trendy fashion shops and the Market Hall – built in 1682, the building is still in use with various stalls being held in its arcade.
If you want to get out and about, the rolling hills and valleys of the Chilterns are a must. You can walk, run, cycle or ride on the network of footpaths and bridleways around Amersham.
How was the room?
The room was one of the best I’ve ever stayed in – minimalist without being cold, modern without being fussy, traditional without being chintzy.
Contemporary slate-coloured walls and dark wooden floor boards were softened by countryside touches such as rush matting, sheepskins and tweeds. Beautiful wooden furniture filled the room; from mismatched chairs to a writing desk, cabinets to bedside tables – I wanted to take it all home and put it in my own home.
The bed was huge and super comfy with luxurious Egyptian cotton bedsheets and Jacob’s wool blankets.
Great additions to the room included a mini bar stocked with mini wines, beer and water that was all (hooray!) completely free to help yourself to, a retro red Roberts radio and tea and coffee making facilities.
How about the bathroom?
As well as a luxurious bathroom with drench shower and a trough sink big enough to bathe in, there was also a beautiful claw-footed roll-top bath in the bedroom. After a wine-fuelled dinner I wasted no time in taking a dip and making use of all the free Jo Malone bathroom goodies.
How was dinner?
It was raining buckets when we visited so we were thankful dinner was just a quick run across the cobbles from our room to the pub. The limited menu is seasonal and very meat-heavy but there are some vegetarian options as well.
Classic pub favourites are updated with modern touches. My starter of smoked duck breast came with with crispy-coated egg and fresh lemon balm; my boyfriend Rick had ham hock but in croquette form with a poached egg and caper-and-gherkin mayonnaise. The rich mains impressed the most though; roasted venison with salt-baked celeriac, shaved cobnuts and blackberries for Rick and I had Dingley Dell pork cutlet with a salty pancetta crumb, turnips, a creamy potato and bacon gratin and stewed apples.
We couldn’t possibly have a dessert each but couldn’t resist sharing a hot chocolate fondant with malt ice cream. It was wonderful – so good that we were duelling with spoons over the last mouthful of molten chocolate… perhaps sharing wasn’t the best option after all.
Service in the restaurant was as smooth as silk, we were even offered a bottle of off-menu wine to compliment our both very different dinners.
How was breakfast?
Breakfast, served until 10am, was a banquet of fresh juices, cereals, pastries, muffins, yogurt, cheeses, meats and fresh fruits. We took advantage of the buffet items and then plumped (plump being the operative word) for eggs benedict with lots of coffee. We could have spent hours grazing in the relaxed dining room.
What’s the damage?
Double room prices start from £139 and include breakfast. In the restaurant, the menu changes monthly and according to season, on our visit starters were around £7, mains £20 and desserts £6. Wines start from £18.50 but don’t forget to ask about the off-menu options too.
Everything about our stay was delightful. The staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful. All the food we ate, even including welcome nibbles in our room, was top notch. Our room was cosy with everything you needed to never leave.
It was more like staying in a friend’s (a rich friend with great taste and impeccable cooking skills) country cottage than a hotel. I can imagine spending chilly winter nights wrapping up warm in those soft woollen blankets, then spreading the very same blankets in the hotel’s garden for picnics in the summer.
The Crown Inn
16 High Street,