Monday, April 25, 2011

England's Hideaways

Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons 

What is it about being on a vacation that inspires me to go on future vacations?  Silly question, I know the answer.  I always, always find a cozy book store where ever I am and browse to my heart's content.  And this weekend in Montecito was no exception. When we visit here, we always make a beeline to our favorite independent book store, Tecolote Books in a charming little shopping center in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, California.  And this is where I spotted the beautiful book "England's Hideaways," published by Rizzoli.

I really haven't recovered from the euphoria generated by last summer's trip to the Cotswolds.  I know I have written about it on my blog and shown some of the images from the glorious gardens and properties we saw.  But for me it just whetted my appetite for more trips to England.  And this book is the perfect guide.

First of all, can we talk about the cover?  This is Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons hotel in Oxfordshire where I stayed for a couple of nights last summer.  Our room was "Hollyhock" which is pictured in the book.  It was beautifully English and soothingly traditional.  This hotel is stunning; it is a Victorian English country-house hotel that is famous for its fine dining restaurant.  It is nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside and the property abounds in gorgeous gardens. And this is what so many of these properties feature --  exquisite archictecture, bountiful gardens, and beautiful interior design.

Hollyhock guest room at Le Manoir Aux' Quat Saisons

Barnsley House where legendary gardener Rosemary Verey lived

Whatley Manor, Easton Grey, Malmesbury

Sitting Room at Hambleton Hall Hotel, Oakham, Rutland

The author, Meg Nolan Van Reesma, writes in the introduction about the interior design focus in this book.   "England's Hideaways" is not just a collection of beautiful places to stay in England, but it is also a book about the classic, traditional decor that is known as English style.  All of the hotels in the book are decorated in this English Country style and exude coziness and warmth.  These are the kinds of rooms that make you want to curl up in front of the fire with a book and a cup of tea and never leave.  The author writes,

"From the floral wallpapers and beloved chintz to the gleaming walnut furnishings of Queen Anne and oak-panelled walls of the Tudor reign, English design has not only existed since the beginning of time but has also withstood the test of it.  I believe the country's recipe for success is its ability to evolve and stay fresh and sophisticated while maintaining a strong sentiment of home."

The Blue Room, Hambleton Hall Hotel

The magnificent rose gardens behind Stone Easton Park, near Bath, Somerset

This book will not only entice you to make a trip to England, but it will also inspire you with its great  design ideas for your own home.  Many of us aspire to make our homes welcoming retreats and soothing havens -- this book is filled with ideas for accomplishing that goal.  At the same time we get to be an armchair traveller and visit the great country-house hotels of England.  Trust me, you will want to be planning your next trip!



  1. Oh sounds simply marvelous!! The cover is indeed beautiful. It must have been heaven to stay there!! Putting it on my list immediately!

  2. My mother (who you will meet at the Robinson Gardens event) lives in Montecito and we always go to the Tecolote book store to buy something or anything. She's justifiably fearful that it will go the way of almost all the independent bookstores, and it's so wonderful to browse in there and find a surprise.
    I think I'll ask her to pick me up a copy of "English Hideaways" from there for Mother's Day. Thanks!

  3. Your grace doesn't end in the way you walk or hold yourself, it extends to your words, your experiences and how you translate them in your blog. I love visiting your site and seeing what you've been up to!

  4. We love that bookstore as well. To say nothing of the English countryside.
    We're going this summer, but unfortunately only to london on our way to and back from Italy. but we will get to stay in my favorite place in LOndon, The Connaught. Cheers.

  5. I dream of the Manor House...I love that picture of the 4 of us standing by the front door. Heather and I frolicked through the gardens...and it's where I first fell in love with cheese. Ahhhh

  6. So gorgeous! I love this! Best memories from my "woman trip"

  7. Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it. Please check out my blog for upcoming signings and the ability to order signed copies online.

  8. Hi Meg, Yes I really do love your book. It's just gorgeous and your text is very interesting. I like your focus on the interior design element of all these great country-house hotels in England. And it brought back so many memories of my garden tour of the Cotswolds last summer, which was put on by Garden Conservancy. We had dinner at Barnsley House and walked through the garden and we stayed at Lower Slaughter Manor. I am thrilled to know about your blog and will follow it now. I will see if you are coming to Los Angeles.

  9. More inspiration! It's incredible, the way one can experience then share, breathing new life into another's. I feel as though I've visited many new places since you've begun blogging.
    Special work, Sunday!

  10. This looks like a lovely book, I just published a post on my trip to the Cotswolds this past weekend, it is a magnificent place, Hidcote especially, I feel lucky to live surrounded by so much inspiration. Le Manoir is one of my favourite places too.

  11. If you fancy a self catering base in the UK try They have some great properties and are all of a similar standard.