I do love a minibreak. There’s no huge panic over packing, you can leave whenever you like and there’s no schedule and it really is true that a change is as good as a rest sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be unlikely to choose a night in Amersham over a fortnight in the Maldives, but I do love a night away in the UK.
This weekend was Mr M’s birthday, so I generously regifted some vouchers that my parents had bought me for my birthday last year for Mr & Mrs Smith, and booked us a night away at The Crown Inn in Amersham. I get to go too and I don’t have to spend too much while we are saving – everyone’s a winner.
So we arrived on Saturday and the outside of the building was pretty in a period coaching inn style, but fairly underwhelming. So we dropped off the car and wandered down the cobbled path to venture down the Amersham’s picturesque High Street for lunch.
Is it just me though, who worries endlessly about everything going wrong when I book something for other people? Even if I have read all reviews and looked at every image of the place on the internet, I still fret a bit that all will go pear-shaped and it will be on my shoulders.
So I was a bit apprehensive when we’d filled our tummies and headed back to check in.
As I entered the building however, my concerns started to ease a little. The Crown is a Grade II listed, timber-framed, Elizabethan building. But inside, it has been stripped back to show its original beauty, while being tastefully updated by style guru Ilse Crawford. The bar, restaurant and reception area is understated with luxurious touches such as the big wooden chairs with sheepskin covers in the reception area. Where, by the way, Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw was chilling out with friends. Good sign, eh? The famous are frequenting.
The service was friendly and efficient, but not over-effusive, which I must admit I prefer to a fawning concierge, who although representing luxury, often leave me feeling a little uncomfortable. The staff are young and enthusiastic at the Crown, but non-invasive.
So we headed up to our room and all remaining tension immediately dispersed as we unlocked the door to room eight.
Stripped back beams and floors left the room open to the sunlight pouring through the large windows, while adding in gorgeous design pieces such as the sheepskin adorned rocking chair, retro chair and desk, floor standing lamps and Roberts Radio. I just loved the muted, understated yet elegant and sophisticated overall look and feel of the room.
The eye for style however, did not give way to comfort, and we were greeted with a huge super king size memory foam bed, draped with Egyptian cotton sheets, Welsh wool blankets, and lets not ignore that beautiful roll-top bath and the thick fluffy white towels.
The attention to detail didn’t go unnoticed by us. The free bottle of wine and crisps, the Penguin classics at the bedside and the ‘proper’ tea and coffee and teapots on the drinks tray.
You can tell a lot about a place by the bathroom, I always think, and this one didn’t disappoint either.
The small space had been cleverly converted into a crisp, clean and modern bathroom with the nod to the traditional heritage with the faucets, etc, but still, as it seemed was a theme, the luxury continued with your very own full set of The White Company miniatures. Happy girl.
So, suitably impressed, we went down for a drink and the service was great again. I asked for decaf coffee, they had run out, so apologised profusely and went out to buy some. Talk about feeling like a diva.
After drinking in the sunshine for an hour or so, we headed back up to the room. I had the comfiest nap, while Mr M watched Arsenal on the iPad courtesy of free wifi. It’s so nice when you’re not at home, just to chill and spend some time in each other’s company.
Having got ready, we headed down to dinner. We had decided that we didn’t really want the fuss of a posh alacarte menu and a formal restaurant, so we had booked a table in the bar. The candles in the inglenook fireplaces and the sumptuous furnishings give the bar area a really lovely ambience, but I must say that the furniture was really not that comfortable to sit on for any length of time, which probably cut our evening short a little. The table was too small and the chairs were pretty hard. On reflection, we’d have probably been better off in the restaurant.
The food however, was spot on. I had a burger and Mr M had pie of the day and it was all really tasty and well-cooked, with good quality ingredients.
Again, the service was great. Attentive, calm and friendly but not in your face and everything came pretty quickly. For dessert we chose the Bakewell tart and clotted cream, which didn’t disappoint – yummy!
For booking through Mr & Mrs Smith, we got a free bottle of champagne, which was a really nice touch. I had a glass, which was naughty really, but a real treat, but Mr M didn’t quite manage to polish off the rest of the bottle. As an aside, I must say that I LOVE Mr & Mrs Smith. How would you ever even find places like this without them? Let alone trust that they are going to be great and worth the money. It’s a great service and super easy to book.
After a fabulous night’s sleep on the huge, oh-so-comfortable bed, we headed down for breakfast. Because we hadn’t eaten enough that weekend obviously.
Breakfast lived up to the rest of the standards of the stay, with good coffee, a continental buffet (which we did manage to resist, but looked great) and then a choice of full English or some Breakfast ‘treats’ as they were called – Eggs Benedict etc – made to order. We went for full English and did not need to eat again until dinner time.
Overall a great stay, which I would recommend to anyone looking for a bit of R&R.
*Please note, I was not paid to stay at The Crown and this review reflects my own thoughts.