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Review – Foxhills Club and Resort.
Don’t you just love a little staycation? The sort where you really don’t have to travel far from home but, find yourself in luxurious surroundings, in the heart of the English countryside. Where you just know that whatever kind of pampering you are looking for will be on hand. Where someone else cooks and cleans. And, where you can rest assured that you’ll eat well and enjoy excellent service. That was the promise of an overnight stay at Foxhills, less than an hour from home.
Travelling by train from London meant getting a taxi to collect me from Chertsey, which the club organised without hesitation, despite a rather garbled location estimate from me as I made my way along the railway tracks. They say first impressions count and Foxhills scores top points with a magnificent entrance and one of those long sweeping driveways that just makes you want to step back in time. The history of Foxhills, dates back to the 1780s, when Charles James Fox, politician and local resident, lived there. A rather hedonistic character, he was expelled from Eton for being ‘too witty and a little too wicked’. The Manor House, the heart of the current estate, was built a little later, in the 19th Century. Refurbished by designer Alex Michaelis who is known for his work at clubs such as The Groucho and Soho House, I’m sure the sumptuous and glamorous decor would have appealed to Fox.
I checked in and found my way to my room which was spacious with a balcony looking out over the residents’ pool. None of the bedrooms are in the main manor house, instead located in smaller buildings a minute or two away. I was immediately impressed by the space, the large comfortable bed and bathroom with bath and separate rain shower. White company toiletries, robe and slippers made for the promise of a great night’s sleep. The decor was subtly rich, the kind of design I would like to copy for home. Everything was immaculately clean too and fixtures and fittings excellent quality.
Cocktails on the terrace made a great start to the evening. We were there to check out the newly refurbished and repositioned restaurant, The Fox which Tej Walia, the general manager, explained had been carefully positioned to sit somewhere in between a brasserie and a fine dining restaurant. There are three dining areas so that you never feel you are in an anonymous void and there’s a menu with plenty of options to pick from, including vegetarian and vegan dishes and a children’s menu.
We started with bread and flavoured butter. I have to say, I think I rather overindulged at this stage and particularly enjoyed the soft, house-baked bread with anchovy butter.
It was hard to pick from the selection of starters – soft shell crab was a popular choice in our group and rightly so. My pick was one of the vegetarian options – wild mushrooms with ale toast, béarnaise and truffle. A delicious mixture which I’ll definitely re-order and might even try to make at home.
For my main course, I picked the cod with black garlic, squid and potatoes. The cod was beautifully cooked, firm and flaky with a light buttery golden crust. And, the black garlic jus made a great accompaniment.
Other options included a richly crusty Himalayan rib eye with triple cooked chips, onion and béarnaise and a stunning plate of roasted monkfish with brandade, prawn and samphire. Main course prices ranged from £16 to £35 for the steak.
By the time it came to dessert I wasn’t capable of eating another mouthful, though under normal circumstances I’d have indulged in the chocolate orange mousse with Cointreau or the lemon poppy seedcake with limoncello, blueberries and poppy seed. There was a solution though, the Fox dining rooms has chocolate truffles on offer as a mini dessert and perfect complement for a good cup of coffee.
Breakfast the next morning was similarly high quality, with an extensive buffet selection and a la carte menu. I was trying my best to eat a healthy option since I had time booked in the spa, so opted for the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and didn’t feel in the least deprived.
Back to my luxurious room to put on a swimming costume and try out the spa facilities – I had just enough time to work my way through the heated indoor pool, jacuzzi and steam room before it was time for an Elemis facial. The spa was busy but not unpleasantly so and there were plenty of spaces to chill and spend relaxation time. I would imagine in the summer it’s quite idyllic, with outdoor pools to complement the indoor spa and gym.
The Foxhills estate is notably home to two 18-hole golf courses and a 9-hole par-three which are very popular. There are 11 tennis courts, three squash courts, four swimming pools, the spa, conference and meeting facilities, a gym and a brand new yoga hut. In short, everything you might want to help you relax and enjoy your stay. There are 70 rooms and three restaurants of which The Fox has recently been refurbished and reopened.
There are elegant spaces to enjoy during the day too – plenty of lounge areas and extensive outdoor terraces
Foxhills itself is family owned and run. Pam and Ian Hayton bought the estate in 1983 and Marc Hayton their son took over as managing director in 2010. Tej Walia, the general manager joined the team in the summer of 2019 with a background in hospitality management from Oberoi hotels, Kempinski and Grand Hyatt. The result of this highly professional and well-established management team is somewhere that feels like a home from home but with none of the imperfections. I’ll be watching to see what comes next in this little pocket of Surrey where you can let your life come to a standstill and just relax.
Surrey KT16 0EL
Nearest stations – Woking (just over 5 miles) and Chertsey (3 miles). Foxhills is under an hour from Central London by train or car.
Looking for alternative places to Staycation from London? We loved The Talbot in Ripley. Or for the ultimate City to Country escape take a look at Home Farm Glamping…you could spend the night under canvas in less than half an hour from the office!