Moose and I recently had the pleasure to experience a stay at the charming Great Fosters located in the heart of Surrey, just outside Windsor. Great Fosters is the second hotel we’ve been lucky enough to visit that is part of the Alexander Hotel Collection, a group of luxurious hotels found in Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
The dog friendly estate is set in 50 acres of perfectly manicured gardens complete with mazes, fountains, a Saxon moat and a Japanese bridge. All that set against the iconic red bricked hotel makes for a truly picturesque setting. You’ll find a total of 56 individually designed bedrooms and suites to choose from and it didn’t take long for Moose to make himself at home.
Continue reading to hear everything about our royal stay at the iconic Great Fosters…
As we turned into the driveway, immediately stood in front of us was the red bricked facade and instantly I knew we were in for an unforgettable stay. We parked the car and made our way through to the main reception to check in and was greeted with a very warm welcome. As always, when staff saw four legs and a waggy tail, Moose had all eyes on him – he loves it.
Whilst checking in, I began to notice our surroundings and can only imagine the careful planning and attention to detail that must have gone into designing the hotel. I was just itching to see our suite…
THE BYFLEET SUITE
We were fortunate to be able to stay in one of Great Fosters historic suites in the Dower House, each named after other Dower Houses around England, ‘Byfleet’ being one of them. Some of you may recall Byfleet Manor shot to global fame thanks to the popular TV show, Downton Abbey.
Great Fosters Byfleet Suite can be found on the first floor of the Dower House and features views across the Cloisters and the ancient roofline of the estate. The suite is cosy and beautifully decorated featuring botanic patterns, velvet furnishings and a grand four-poster bed. The room also featured a double vanity, a dressing room, space to dine, a drench shower and a very inviting free-standing bath tub. Sitting on the dinner table was a welcome plate of chocolates and strawberries ready for me to devour on arrival. Moose had his own welcome treats too.
FOOD AND DRINK
After unpacking, a quick change and having enjoyed the chocolates and strawberries, we went in search of more delicious treats and were met with an experience that exceeded all expectations. The hotel had arranged a table for us on their picturesque terrace overlooking the moat for not just myself to enjoy a royal afternoon tea, but for Moose to enjoy his own doggy afternoon tea as well!
I can’t begin to find the words to describe how cute the experience was. It’s not something we’ve ever done before or even knew existed BUT now we do, we’re big fans and Moose has become quite the afternoon tea connoisseur. Whilst I enjoyed delicately delicious scones, sandwiches and sweet treats, Moose got his paws stuck into a selection of the finest hot dog sausages, bakery biscuits and iced muffins. If you have a dog, this should be on your bucket list.
In addition to the terrace and patio dining areas, Great Fosters has a Michelin starred restaurant Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room and a charming 2-AA rosette restaurant called The Estate Grill. Wherever you choose to dine you can expect to enjoy the finest local ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Typically at all hotels we’ve visited, dogs are not allowed in the main dining restaurants however there is always a space which is just as good, if not better as it’s usually a quieter dining experience! At Great Fosters they’ve set aside the Cocktail Bar as their pup-friendly dining zone which features views over the terrace and gardens.
Everything on the menu looked so good. I chose the Smoked Mackerel Pate to start, Asparagus Risotto for main and the Chocolate Brownie Sundae for dessert.
In case you didn’t know, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and Great Fosters didn’t disappoint. We reserved a spot by the window in the Cocktail Bar where we could soak up the sunshine while tucking into the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Full english, eggs, pancakes, yoghurt, fresh fruit, warm pastries, cereal, toast, coffees, teas and fresh juice the chef has thought of everything.
MOOSE AND HIS STAY
The staff went above and beyond to make Moose feel at home during his stay. He had his own comfy bed waiting for him in The Byfleet Suite along with stylish dining bowls and some of his favourite treats. He spent hours exploring the scents and smells across the topiary, amphitheatre, lake and woodland areas. I just had to make sure he didn’t go diving in the moat which he had his eye on.
He was treated like a royal and managed to put a smile on everyones face, including all other guests who were keen to say hello. Moose is always thrilled to make new friends, especially if it means he gets a fuss.
Great Fosters sits among 50 acres of immaculate landscape and manicured gardens. Whether you’re travelling alone, with your partner, with kids or like me your dog, you’re not going to run out of places to discover and explore.
Take a break from wandering the woodland and enjoy Great Fosters very own Utopia Retreat which boasts an art-deco heated outdoor pool and hot tub which opens for guests during the summer months along with spa treatment rooms across the estate. Everyone deserves to relax and unwind with a massage or facial. You don’t actually have to be staying to use the spa and pool facilities, anyone can book in for some quality me-time.
Be it a romantic getaway, a spa retreat, an escape to the countryside or a dog friendly break, Great Fosters is your answer to the ultimate unforgettable luxury stay that you’ll be dreaming of long after you’ve checked out. We hope to be back very soon.