The Vineyard Hotel
To say this is a hotel for wine lovers would an understatement. Upon minutes of entering the elegant lobby, we were presented with two sleek welcome glasses of vintage sparkling wine. Once we made it upstairs to our lavish suite and began unpacking, there was a friendly knock at the door. We opened it to find a smiling member of staff bearing a tray with... you guessed it - more wine.
We finished these naughty glasses off as we mastered the finishing touches to our makeup before we slipped our highest heels on and wobbled our way down to the hotel's 3 AA Rosette restaurant for dinner. The Vineyard's talented chef Robby Jenks was responsible for the outstanding five course Discovery Tasting Menu - consisting of numerous dishes of exquisite culinary masterpieces, each companied by... (that's right) more glasses of wine.
I would love to describe in great detail each delicious offering devoured by us, yet sadly, due to the generous servings of fine wine we were plied with, I have a somewhat hazy recollection of my meal.
I can say with all honestly that all dishes tasted almost otherworldly and were beautifully presented (thank goodness for Instagram photos).
Luckily the hotel's website was rather handy in helping me remember the glorious food we consumed on that fabulously fuzzy evening;
Braised octopus, barbequed sweetcorn, seaweed broth
Beef sirloin tartar, sorrel sorbet, raisins and bone marrow crumb
Fillet of halibut, parsley, mussels and sea herbs
Pork tenderloin and belly, lovage, beer roasted onion
Thyme parfait, strawberry sauce, lemon
The fine wines we merrily nursed throughout the evening were meticulously selected by the award-winning head sommelier Romain Bourger, who ensured they matched perfectly to the flavours of each dish. Being home to 30,000 bottles of wine, I'm sure he had no problem in achieving this creative task.
After booze-fuelled, frivolous conversation and glorious food, we made our way back up to our suite to gracefully retire for the evening - or more accurately, pass out face first on the plush beds. I vaguely remember drifting off in a haze of giggles after finding a wine bottle-shaped 'do not disturb' sign with the words "wine down time" on one side and "time to top me up" on the other. Trust me, it's actually hilarious after a few glasses of Malbec.
The next morning we took our fuzzy-headed selves down to the dining room for a hearty full English breakfast and piping hot cups of tea before sashaying over to the hotel's luxury spa.
After falling into a slight food coma on the comfortable sun loungers in front of the pool, I plodded along to a treatment room where I was pummelled and stroked to a state of pure bliss by an expert masseuse. My hangover seemed to melt away as I let go of all tension and breathed in the revitalising aroma of the zesty aromatherapy oils.
Although at this stage we felt to recoil in horror at the sight of more wine, we were treated to a tour of The Vineyard's wine cellar, a delightfully musky smelling maze of wine bottles, and home to a £20,000 bottle of 1982 Chateau Petrus. Swanky.
By the end of our stay we found it hard to return to the hustle and bustle of London life, yet we thought of the health of our livers so managed to persevere and finally pry ourselves away.
For more information visit www.the-vineyard.co.uk. Accommodation and breakfast at The Vineyard is priced from £247 based on two guests.