BELMOND LE MANOIR AUX QUAT ’ SAISONS
22 Oct 2015
There are some 5000 quintessential English “ Country House Hotels “ in the UK which offer luxury accommodation with a restaurant usually set in acres of rolling countryside with excellent views of our “ green and pleasant land “ These hotels offer varied levels of comfort and standards of cuisine and for the most part are usually a pleasant place to visit.
Then there is “ Le Manoir aux Quat ‘ Saisons “ a 5 Star luxury hotel situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton. Le Manoir represents a life long dream of Chef / Patron Raymond Blanc to ‘ create a hotel and restaurant in harmony where my guests would find perfection in food, comfort, service and welcome ‘. The dream began in 1972 when Raymond, newly arrived from France, while working as a waiter at the Rose Revived restaurant in Whitney stood in for the chef when he became ill. Raymond took over and within 2 years had gained entry into the Michelin Guide. and the rest as they say is ‘ history ‘. He soon went on to open his first restaurant Quat ‘ Saisons in Summertown on the outskirts of Oxford in 1977 and then moved to Le Manoir in Great Milton in 1985 where he was awarded two Michelin stars which he has retained for the last 30 years.
The majority of guests either staying at Le Manor or dining in the restaurant all agree the quality and personalisation and attitude from all the staff is exemplary. Having met Raymond it is obvious that this ethos stems from his very personal, professional but extremely down to earth approach to service. This is also apparent when it comes to the production and serving of the wonderful food in the restaurant.
I first visited the restaurant in 2003 and on numerous occasions since and can honestly say that the standard and consistency of both food and service is quite simply the best I have ever had. The food is not fussy french fine dining, nor is it offered with trendy chemical creations, but rather, it lets the ingredients on offer speak for themselves. His passion and attention to detail is shown in every dish and for a self taught Chef his genius manifests itself by not only holding 2 Michelin stars for over 30 years, being awarded numerous awards including the Relais and Chateaux Purple Shield, but mostly having trained more than 28 Chefs who have since left only to be awarded over 30 Michelin stars between them, quite incredible.
As you now realise that this wonderful place is in my humble opinion, probably the No 1 hotel restaurant in the UK, it is also probably one of the most expensive. all I can say that if you are looking for somewhere really really special for that very very important celebration then if need be, put dining out locally on hold for a month or two and save the money to invest in a visit to Le Manor aux Quat ‘ Saisons. I assure you won’t regret it as it is
‘To Die For ‘.