River Arts Club – Maidenhead, Berks

A friend and I decided we wanted to get out of the big smoke for the night, have a good catch up and eat some good food.

Working with a radius of no more than an hour outside of London, I used my Googling powers to pull a shortlist together. Putting the selection to my friend I was delighted she went for the River Arts Club as everything about it floated my boat (including the *actual* boat called Ophelia that the hotel own.

Built in the late 19th Century, this Grade II listed riverside mansion has featured in numerous films and was voted as one of the top ten most beautiful estates in the UK by Channel 4.

Unsurprisingly the Arts Club focuses heavily on the art. Throughout the house striking Sanderson wallpaper creates drama and a feeling of a quintessential English house. This is balanced with eclectic artwork, vintage furniture, beautiful textiles, books and quirky ornaments. Everything comes together to create a welcoming environment – luxurious yet relaxed. Jazz music played in the downstairs room and the honesty bar was a great feature for a quick pre-dinner G&T.

Hosts Iain and Alessandra were charming – nothing was too much trouble. They have clearly dedicated a huge amount of time, money and love into renovating the building. Alessandra even apologised for not having cleared the leaves on the lawn. It’s all about the detail and beautiful aesthetics here. This past Elle Deco article will give you a better feel of the rooms and artworks on display.

Our room – ‘The Turner Suite’ was stunning – a huge oval-shaped window looking out onto the river – a hive of activity with rowers and swans. A free-standing bath and two fireplaces added a touch of luxury – more artwork adorned the walls which were covered in a striking cobalt blue wallpaper.

Fresh fruit, water, nuts, biscuits and a Nespresso machine and lovely toiletries in the bathroom complete with fluffy robes left you wanting for nothing.

One thing to note is that breakfast is continental only. However cheeses, hams, pastries and granola made available in a lovely kitchen was more than sufficient to get the day going.

If you’re a restaurant fan like me, the hotel’s location is perfect for exploring the local gastronomic offerings in nearby Hestonworld (Bray) and Marlow. Blog to follow on those two.

The aforementioned boat can be used to taxi hotel guests to the restaurants nearby which is clearly more stylish then the Toyata Prius we used.

Although quiet in the hotel – I can imagine that when the sun is out and the honesty bar is in full swing some fun times are probably had at this hotel, both inside and out.

I know Maidenhead probably isn’t an obvious choice for a weekend away, but only 30 mins from Paddington this is the perfect escape for some rest and relaxation art lover or not.



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