jilla ad final


Loading Flickr slideshow...

Coworth Park

Nicole Trilivas finds pastoral elegance and Michelin-starred fare at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park in Ascot

The credentials:

Coworth Park serves Georgian manor house luxury sans stuffy pretension in idyllic Berkshire. This five-star property is set on a 240-acre country estate fully equipped with all the quintessentially English essentials: two professional polo fields, manicured gardens, an impressive spa with an indoor pool, croquet and tennis courts, equestrian centre, and three restaurants—one of which, Restaurant Coworth Park, was just awarded a Michelin star in October (this restaurant is well worth the visit alone). Calling itself “the country house hotel that rewrites the rules,” a visit to Coworth Park is, by all means, luxurious, but by no means stuffy or as expected.

It’s just a quick dash from London and because it’s set alongside the sweeping parkland of Windsor Great Park and the famous Ascot Racecourse, Coworth Park feels worlds away from London with none of the fuss that comes with extended travel.


Coworth Park’s 70 guestrooms are divided between the main Mansion House, self-contained cottages, and two blocks of stable rooms. Country-chic neutrals, comfortable fabrics, and sprigs of fresh wildflowers come together to create open but warming interiors. Many of the impeccably designed, light-filled guestrooms also boast grand four-poster beds with the most deliciously fluffy linens. Grand marble bathrooms have heated floors, plush hooded bathrobes, and—the pièce de résistance—totally Instagrammable freestanding copper tubs. I also love delightful little touches like the sleep-inducing chamomile and lavender pillow spray left at turndown service.

Everything has been recently refurbished to the high standard you would expect from any Dorchester Collection property; however, Coworth Park’s preference for local British products and amenities is more aligned to what you would find at a top-tier boutique country hotel. Fringing your in-room Nespresso machine, you’ll find bespoke ceramic coffee cups by Grayshott Pottery, based in Surrey. The lovely Mitchell and Peach bath and body products are hand-blended in a family farm in Kent. Even the brand of bottled water, Llanllyr SOURCE from the organic fields of Llanllyr, Wales, aligns with Coworth Park’s enthusiasm for Great British produce.

I love this sort of commitment because travel is about place: I want to feel as though I’m in the English countryside—not in some over-branded, cookie-cutter chain hotel that looks the same in Budapest as it does Berkshire.


With Restaurant Coworth Park’s brand new Michelin star, there’s no better time to visit than right now. Executive Chef Adam Smith uses fresh, home-grown ingredients to craft an ever-changing menu that pays homage to the seasons. My meal starts with farmhouse bread that even Paul Hollywood would swoon over and salty seaweed-infused butter that’s creative and complementary. For a starter, I opt for sautéed duck liver, which is served with grapes, almonds, and ginger. It’s a standout dish in its own right, but when Head Sommelier Michael Fiducia pours me a Swedish ice cider (Brännland Iscider Barrique 2014), the flavours become animated and the cider’s surprising acidic finish cuts right through the velvety liver, impeccably seared.

My main of native lobster with artichoke, bergamot, and crosnes (a crunchy and nutty root vegetable) shows off Smith’s aptitude for combining textures and flavours, as well as his technical restraint in allowing the native flavours of the raw ingredients to shine through. He says his favourite dish is the caviar tart, which is served with Cornish crab, yuzu, and cucumber.

My meal closes with a chocolatey tart, constructed with Tuscan Amedei chocolate and adorned with gold leaf and Tonka bean ice cream. It’s a remarkably decadent but not overbearing way to end a lovely meal. All dishes are elegantly plated and the service is refined but friendly—the experience is everything you would wish for at a country estate with a prestigious award under its belt.

The high-ceilinged restaurant sports understated décor, relying instead on showy displays from mammoth bouquets of seasonal flora and an overhead bronze leaf sculpture. Breakfast is served in the same space, and it’s a simple but satisfying selection.

There are also two additional restaurants on the premises. The Barn serves a laid back brasserie-style menu with a monthly ale selection in a rustic setting (though not one for cloying cocktails, I highly recommend their seasonal Pumpkin Pie Martini, which is just the right amount of sweet). There’s also The Spatisserie for light, healthy refreshments in the spa. Lastly, there’s an adorable Picnic Menu for al fresco dining, from which you can choose a pre-packed picnic hamper stocked with everything from afternoon tea necessities to champagne and cheese boards.

Who goes there?

Coworth Park is extremely family-friendly—especially on a Sunday, when well-dressed and impressively well-behaved broods enjoy their Sunday Roasts in Restaurant Coworth Park. The hotel does an excellent job of providing family-friendly activities that don’t interfere with other guests’ experiences (for example, children are welcome for “splash time” at the spa pool—but only during a limited timeframe). This ensures that Coworth Park remains a lovely choice for couples in search of quiet relaxation.

Out & about:

This impressive estate is so well equipped that there’s no need to leave the premises. The contemporary, airy spa is particularly extraordinary, with a heated, 18-metre swimming pool decked out with giant amethyst geodes and an underwater sound system. There are also eight treatment rooms, “experience” showers, a gym, and The Spatisserie for casual eats.

There are plenty of other activities to choose from too: go for a bike ride with Coworth Park’s new bicycle fleet (there’s even a tandem bike!), try horse riding, or take a polo lesson with a member of the world’s most famous polo club, Guards Polo Academy.

Or just throw on your wellies and go for a stroll across the green meadows and rolling farmland, where you’ll pass silvery ponds teeming with ducks, charming gazebos, and breathtaking fields of untamed wildflowers. This part of England is pretty in any season.

The worst thing:

Someone once told me that the most important piece of tech that a hotel can provide to its guests is an electrical socket by the bed. There was only one easily accessible plug in our room (by the desk), and my husband and I found ourselves fighting over it in order to charge our phones. But, in fairness, we should spend less time on our phones—especially when in the picture-perfect countryside! So really, no major points off.

The best thing:

The location makes Coworth Park perfect for a quick one-night jaunt. It’s a 50-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo Station or a 45-minute Uber ride from west London. When you’re in a setting like this—surrounded by faultless natural beauty and with your every need considered—it’s easy to find utter relaxation in only one day. In fact, Restaurant Coworth Park alone is good enough to warrant a day trip.

The details:

Rooms start around £300
Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7SE; www.dorchestercollection.com/en/ascot/coworth-park

If you would like to stay up to date with our restaurant reviews, subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.