02/02/2012 05:33 GMT | Updated 01/04/2012 06:12 BST

Coworth Park: The Ideal Country Retreat

By Emyr Thomas

The Dorchester Collection is synonymous with grand, iconic hotels in some of the world's most desirable destinations, with each hotel as stylish and sophisticated as the next.

Coworth Park, the group's first standalone launch, opened in the autumn of 2010 on a 240 acre estate of rolling meadows and polo fields in Berkshire near Ascot, less than an hour by car from London and a mere 20 minutes from Heathrow airport.

In a clear contrast to its other UK properties (The Dorchester and the recently opened 45 Park Lane), Coworth Park is the epitome of a true country house estate and an ideal weekend getaway from London.

Most of the action occurs in the main Georgian manor house, the Mansion House, with views of immaculate grounds from every corner. There are 70 rooms and suites in total, spread between the Mansion House and the converted stable block and renovated cottages, which adds to the charm of the property.

The rooms are of a contemporary classic style, exuding a sense of understated luxury, with warm, neutral tones and splashes of autumnal colours creating a calming and relaxing mood. The stables, which feature a combination of lateral and vertical suites, some with their own staircases, are of a similar design aesthetic, interspersed with witty equestrian references. Spacious bathrooms feature large rainfall showers, dual sinks and freestanding copper baths.

One of the highlights of the visit was dinner at 'Restaurant Coworth Park', the hotel's main restaurant. The dining room exudes sophistication with a beautiful and dramatic light feature dominating the room. The restaurant was originally under the guidance of John Campbell, the celebrated chef who held 2 Michelin stars at the Vineyard at Stockcross. He has since departed, but the current chef is incredibly talented as we were served a refined, interesting and meticulously prepared 8 course tasting menu, which richly deserved its first Michelin star in the 2012 UK Michelin Guide.

The Barn offers a casual yet refined dining alternative, with a 'rustic chic' design of stone floors and reclaimed wood dining tables. The menu features classic, hearty dishes such as fish pie, sirloin steak and roast chicken, which is ideal for lunch after a long walk through the impeccably groomed grounds.

For the more active guest, there is an array of activities available, including tennis and horse riding at the equestrian centre, but the spa was too tempting an alternative for us. The spa is a modern, eco-building, over two floors, half of which is underground with plants growing on the roof.

The spa has eight treatment rooms, a relaxation room, an 18m heated pool, a steam room and a 'Spatisserie' if you want a light snack and a glass of champagne in between treatments.

While service seemed to lack the finesse of some of the group's other properties (this will surely come with time), the staff were all charming, polite and professional. On our visit, there were a few mishaps with the air conditioning and the shower, but these issues were handled with impeccable care and grace.

With its understated glamour and contemporary classic style, Coworth Park is a beautifully modern take on the traditional country house hotel, which makes a perfect weekend retreat from London.

For further information or to make a booking, please contact your concierge at Bon Vivant. To make sure you're kept informed of similar updates on a regular basis, subscribe to the blog, our fortnightly newsletter, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook!