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Hotel Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
Church Rd, Great Milton, Oxford OX44 7PD, Royaume-Uni Oxford, United Kingdom -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons has one of the most reputable restaurants in the country and is headed by the French Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc, also the founder of the hotel. The highlight at the hotel is of course the two-Michelin-star restaurant serving fare cooked to perfection and rustled up with organically grown produce that Blanc grows in the hotel's kitchen garden for the most-part. Stopping here for lunch or dinner is a must (but book in advance). While the exteriors of the hotel are charming, along with quaint Japanese gardens, flower gardens and even a pond, the 32 rooms leave a lot to be desired in term of style and character. Located in Oxfordshire, the hotel is a half-hour drive to the town of Oxford.

Raymond Blanc's Oxfordshire bolthole is, predictably, more about the food than anything else

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    Location 3.0 /10

    The hotel is located in Oxfordshire a 10-minute drive to Oxford, the nearest town. The Cotswolds proper is about 40 minutes away by car.

    Accommodation 6.70 /10

    The 32 rooms are all different decorated to Raymond Blanc's personal specifications. While one has an oriental feel, complete with its own aquarium and steam room (superior suite), another has a more conventionally luxe style in a palette of creams and beiges that may be suited to an older clientele like the garden suites. There are eight room categories in total, including the presidential Blanc de Blanc suite. Although well appointed and spacious, the rooms lack soul and character. We personally didn't find that the rooms were particularly tastefully decorated either, which was a real shame as the rest of the hotel is lovely. All the rooms have a bath tub and gorgeous organic Olive Branch toiletries. In terms of amenities, all rooms have an LCD screen, iPod docking station, safe and bottled water. Rooms do not have mini-bars.

    Overview 7.70 /10

    Le Manoir proudly wears the prestigious Relais & Châteaux label and was created by French chef Raymond Blanc, or 'RB' as he is known on site by the staff. The irony however, is that he has become a household name in Britain but isn't known in his home country. His renown comes from his cuisine and his will to make his establishment as environmentally friendly as possible. For instance, he grows over 90 varieties of fruit and vegetables in his kitchen garden, which is the hotel's pride and joy. As well as serving up fine French food, he also runs a cooking school out of the hotel and, like the tables in his restaurant, places are hard to come by.

    Blanc commissioned the building of the entire hotel, the starting point being the original house where the reception is found today. The rest of the hotel, although well crafted, is a new-build and dates back to the early 1980s. The hotel officially opened in 1984.

    The hotel, although five-star, doesn't have other facilities aside from the main attraction, the two-Michelin-star restaurant, bar and bedrooms so guests shouldn't expect a lavish spa, tennis courts, gym and the like. Le Manoir gardens are a big attraction too due to the variety of flora. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and there is a fairly large car-park (free for guests and diners).

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    Open for lunch and dinner Le Manoir restaurant is one of the country's biggest attractions. With excellent refined French fare, the main feature is not that every single dish is impeccable and extremely tantalising, but that Raymond Blanc, the celebrated adopted English chef, grows most of the vegetables used in the kitchen in the hotel's backyard. Blanc's responsible attitude and various initiatives are a celebration of environmental awareness.

    We were welcomed by a clean-shaven meticulously dressed young man in the original house at reception, who led us to his colleague (another meticulously groomed young man), who handed us on to a waitor at the bar who took our coats and sat us down in a room adjoining the restaurant. The staff, a little cold, didn't explain the process, which would have spared us wondering whether we were expected to order a drink or to wait to be seated in the restaurant or both. Instead, we were left waiting for 15 minutes before anyone spoke to us again, by which stage we were ready to order a drink, which came later with hors-d'oeuvres so pretty that we didn't want to eat them; but seeing how hungry we were by this stage, we didn't hesitate long. Half-an-hour later we were still sitting in the waiting area-cum-bar, glasses empty, fingers crossed for the fox-like maitre d'hôtel who was busy schmoozing with other guests to come and take us to our table.

    Eventually we had to ask to be taken to the restaurant. A conservatory with a garden view, the restaurant has 32 tables, like the number of rooms. The staff, French for the most-part, were nimble and moved without sound. Diners can choose between à la carte dishes and a Menu Dégustation (tasting menu), which we highly recommend - however be aware that you need a few hours to get through all the courses and for logistical reasons the whole table needs to opt for it.

    The Alba truffle risotto was simply mind-blowing, as was the main of spiced Cornish monkfish mussels seasoned with saffron and Gewurztraminer, an aromatic white grape. The wine list comprises 1,000 wines, 60 percent of which come from France and is worth eating at the restaurant for the incredible hand-chosen wines of Blanc's list alone. A word of warning: if ordering à la carte do save some room for the delectable selection of French and local cheeses - you might end up regretting it as the cheese trolley is wheeled from table to table.

    Spa

    Although there is no spa at the hotel, guests can have order to have treatments in their rooms.

    To know

    The restaurant is worth stopping by for but in terms of accommodation there are other options that are just as upmarket but that offer more in terms of style and facilities.

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Spa

      massage

    advantage

    • The excellent fare rustled up by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc at the two-Michelin-star restaurant.
    • The beautiful gardens and Cotswold stone buildings.

    disadvantages

    • The décor of the rooms might not be to most people's taste.
    • No mini-bar in the rooms.
    • The strictly trained staff can come across as unwelcoming.
    • Some guests might find the experience overpriced.

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10