The Vineyard is one of the finest hotels in Berkshire, a country house turned gastronomic centre just outside the historic town of Newbury. It’s part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group.
Wine features heavily, not only on the menus but also in inspiring the interior architecture and decoration, and the hotel has an enviable private art collection which adorns the walls.
The building is an inspiring combination of old and new features. Stepping through the main entrance through the classic facade brings you face to face with a strikingly lit wine cellar and a vast oil painting depicting The Judgement of Paris, the now infamous blind tasting competition when Californian wines first triumphed over their French rivals. Award certificates line the stairs, and around every corner is another original artwork or wine-themed curiosity to catch your eye.
The Vineyard is, as the name implies, the perfect getaway for wine lovers. Owner Peter Michael’s winery is, in fact, half a world away in California, but as most people’s priority is drinking fine wines, not watching the grapes grow, that’s no worry. There are some 2,500 different wines on the menu, 30,000 bottles in the cellars, and Head Somelier, Romain Bourger, is a walking encyclopaedia of wine knowledge. He won the UK Young Sommelier of the Year 2016, and the accolade is well deserved.
The Vineyard is an extensive property set in its own attractive grounds. The 5* spa boasts a circular pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna, and a broad range of relaxing treatments. The Elemental Herbology Facial, is particularly good.
Guest rooms and suites at The Vineyard are in a modern, purpose-built building alongside the main house, and all of them are oriented so as to overlook the well-kept gardens or next door golf course. Mine was a huge space with enormous windows, stylish contemporary furniture, and an immaculate bathroom larger than my flat. The furniture was arranged so as to create distinct sleeping and sitting areas, which is a nice touch if you’re planning to spend a few days at the hotel or might need to do some work whilst you are there. The Nespresso coffee machine allows you to kickstart your day with caffeine at the time of your choosing, and teas and mineral water are also provided for free.
Food and drink
The food and drink is the highlight of any stay at The Vineyard, and indeed many guests come just for the evening to be wined and dined in the restaurant. I began my gastronomic adventure with a glass of English sparkling wine in the bar, then moved through to the main dining room for the mouthwatering Discovery tasting menu.
Each course was paired with wines, and the sommelier went to great lengths to explain about the wine, where it came from, and the characteristics which made it the perfect accompaniment for the dish I was eating. I tried a total of six different wines during the course of the evening, including the Cintila Rose Castelao (2015), Mac Forbes Chenin Blanc (2015)m and the Schloss Gobelsburg GV Eiswein (2013).
Is WiFi available
WiFi is available to guests for free throughout the hotel.
There’s a surprisingly large number of things to see and do in and around Newbury, starting with a visit to Highclere Castle, the home of Downton Abbey. Set on a 5,000 acre estate, you can explore this Jacobean mansion and walk, cycle, and picnic in the grounds. Newbury Racecourse makes for a great day out, especially when events such as the Hennessy Gold Cup are on, and families with young children will love the 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park and Farm.
Luxury Double rooms at The Vineyard start from £175 per night. The six-course Discovery tasting menu is £85, and the wine pairing is £55.