My review of Cliveden House, A Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel

Its partnership with Mr and Mrs Smith adds a lot of excellent hotels to IHG’s portfolio. IHG members enjoy Smith Extras when staying with them, which usually means a bottle of Champagne, a box of chocolate or sometimes free breakfast. Ambassador members are also entitled to GoldSmith benefits, which includes space-available room upgrade and potentially enhanced Smith Extras.

You can redeem IHG points on reward stays at Mr & Mrs Smith hotels too, at a rate of $6.2 per 1K points roughly. Even better, the free night voucher issued by the UK Creation credit card is valid on them as well, although I’m not sure if it’s a bug.

One of the best redemptions in Europe is probably The Retreat at Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

There are many outstanding choices in the UK too, and my decision went with the Cliveden House in the end simply because it’s closest to London. There are a few properties in the same league, such as Lucknam Park, Chewton Glen and Heckfield Place.

IHG paid £1,200 for the night.

Cliveden House is at the centre of the Cliveden National Trust, which is about one hour’s drive from central London. Hotel guests need to pay £18 per person as a result, unless you have a valid National Trust membership.

The only other similar property that I’ve ever stayed at is the Langley, a Luxury Collection hotel. In terms of the neighbourhood Cliveden House wins hands down. Langley is only a local park which isn’t well taken care of, whereas Cliveden is a very well maintained National Trust site and probably one of the nicest parks you can find near London.

A beautiful boulevard leads you to the house.

There are a huge lawn and mazes at the back of the house. You can follow the steps down to River Thames.

Cliveden House was built in the 17th century by Duke of Buckingham as a hunting lodge for his mistress and guests. It was bought by William Waldorf Astor in the 19th century, and you can still see the name Astor in many places.

Meghan Markle stayed here in 2018 the night before the Royal Wedding.

The house was last renovated in 2015. It doesn’t look as new as The Langley, but ages well.

IHG’s IT system is a mystery, and I don’t know how they decide what room type you can redeem vouchers for. I was able to use mine on Deluxe Room with Hot Tub, which is only one level below the suites and almost doubles the cost of a standard room.

The room is located at the same wing as the spa centre.

Cliveden House has no room numbers, and instead rooms are named after titles. I’m Load Lothian obviously, which doesn’t sound bad at all 😉

There’s a wardrobe once I enter the room, with the bathroom to the right and bedroom to the left.

The room is nothing much to write about, except for the bed which is quite comfy. There’s a nice tub in the bathroom, but trust me you won’t need it!

Best feature of this room is a small terrace:

Plus a private hot tub:

The terrace is connected right to the swimming pool. I don’t even need to check in at the spa centre!

The facilities are great. The swimming pool is quite deep though (1.83m) and too scary for an amateur like me.

According to my observations, there are a total of four rooms with a terrace, and mine is the only one that has direct access to the swimming pool. Privacy may be one concern though.

My friend who visited the following week told me there’s actually an indoor swimming pool, and took a photo for me.

Smith Extras are a small bottle of Laurent Perrier and some chocolate / snacks. No room upgrade is offered, but to be honest I don’t really want to sacrifice my terrace for a suite 😛

For breakfast there are two options:

  • Continental only: £20
  • Continental + hot breakfast: £25

They’ve put some good thoughts in furnishing the restaurant, however the continental selection is very limited.

I ordered eggs benedict and porridge for my breakfast. Honestly they are mediocre at best, although £25 is a fair price for an expensive hotel like Cliveden House.

Besides the main restaurant, you can also dine at the Aston Grill or the bar.

Cliveden’s visitor centre is a short walk away, where you can get some simple food and refreshment.

Check-out time is 11am, and you can probably request a one-hour extension but no further. You are still invited to use the pool after check-out which is a nice gesture.

There’s a problem with my door, and they can only unlock the room with a special device which causes a lot of inconvenience to me. The staff are very apologetic though. Not sure if it’s related, but they didn’t charge me for the breakfast in the end.

It is truthfully a very unique experience for me and no doubt Cliveden House is the best hotel I’ve stayed at so far in the United Kingdom – although according to the staff they usually refer to is as a House rather than Hotel. I’m not sure if it’s worth paying cash here via IHG (as prices may be lower elsewhere), but if you have sufficient points or some free night vouchers to burn, I highly recommend staying here for a couple of nights.

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