This was our 2nd stay at Le Manoir (end of July 2008) and this time we also took another couple with us as our guests. We had booked on the mid-week stay package in superior rooms.
The last time we went to Le Manoir was a couple of years earlier and we thought of it at the time as one of those once in a lifetime treats. Since then however, we have visited many fine restaurants and hotels – some of which ended up costing almost as much as Le Manoir – but nothing ever came anywhere near Le Manoir in terms of service, food and overall unforgettable experience. We therefore decided that we had to go back, but with some trepidation, that it may not live up to the memories we had of our first visit.
We arrived shortly before 2pm and pulled up to the front of the main house. In reception our names were taken and, without reference to any paperwork, the receptionist told us that our guests had already arrived and had been taken to their room. Our car keys were taken and, as our room was not quite ready, we were told that they would park our car, deliver our luggage to our room once it was ready and would come and find us to let us know (it always amazes me that they never ask which is your car and, after arriving, you are never usually asked again who you are or what room you are in – they really do have service down to an art here – everything is so seamless). We were asked whether we wished to be escorted to the lounge/bar/garden for a drink but we asked to meet with our friends and reception rang through to ask them if this was convenient and then escorted us to their room.
They were staying in Crystal which is a beautiful, quite contemporary room with beautiful open fire, fantastic over sized marble bathroom and its own private outdoor terrace (we particularly like the superior rooms with terraces for when the weather is agreeable – which it was this particular day). Another nice touch in their room (in addition to the fantastic toiletries, fruit dish, complementary Madeira, soft music and lighting etc) was the card that had been left in their room with our “party” details on i.e. the name and room number of all guests. We saw that we were again in Mon Plaisir – the same room we had stayed in last time so were very pleased with this.
After exploring their room, we walked around the gardens (which as usual were beautiful and very tranquil) and then opted to sit outside on the lawns and order afternoon tea. We were advised to only order 2 afternoon teas between the 4 of us as these are quite large and we are so glad we did or we would never have managed dinner that evening. Tea consisted of a selection of beautifully made sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream (the lightest scones we had ever tasted) and an amazing selection of pastries, many with gold leaf on top and all, even the chocolate ganache ones, were so light that it would have been easy to have eaten far too much (as we probably all did). Three of our party tried a selection of different exotic teas and I had champagne. About half way through our afternoon tea we were advised that our room was ready and to advise them when we were ready and they would escort us there.
Mon Plasir is also a beautiful room, also with an outdoor terrace but is slightly more traditional in décor that Crystal and has a light marble bathroom and also has an open fireplace. Our luggage, as promised, had been removed from the car and was ready for us in our room.
After a leisurely couple of hours or so getting ready for dinner, we met our dinner guests outside on the lawns again for pre-dinner drinks. We all chose to have the discovery menu and were shown to our table in the main house (last time we ate in the conservatory).
The food, as usual, was absolutely incredible and none of us found anything that we did not like (even though some of the dishes contained individual ingredients that some of us disliked we all enjoyed every dish). The biggest thing that really sets this place apart though is the service – it is hard to explain how accommodating, unassuming, seamless and completely lacking in pomposity (that you sometimes get from staff in establishments that like to consider themselves as more up market) this place is – they really do make you feel exceptionally well looked after. One of our guests had an appetite that had to be seen to be believed but the staff just continued to bring an endless supply of fresh bread throughout the meal and the butter was also regularly replenished for him (the rest of us only managed one piece of bread with our appetisers). During dinner, one of our guests accidentally knocked over a small glass containing part of her dessert which spilled all over the table. Without any fuss at all, two of the staff came over with a large napkin to place over the wet area of the tablecloth (they could not remove the tablecloth as the table was laid and we were all eating) and also placed a piece of foil under the napkin to stop the moisture seeping through and a further dessert was also brought. Our guest was as equally impressed with their service as she was mortified at her own clumsiness!
We chose to have coffee and petit fours (which were amazing also but we struggled to finish these) in one of the cosy lounges before retiring back to our turned-down room where soft music had been left playing and cosy lighting set.
We ordered early morning coffee to be served with our morning paper on our terrace before breakfast and as it was a beautiful morning, this was a fantastic start to the day. We opted for breakfast in our room, whilst our guests chose to eat in the restaurant. Both of us had a fabulous breakfast – the pasties are truly amazing.
We tried really hard but cannot fault any part of the service we have ever received at Le Manoir and despite, the enormous price, have decided that until we are able to find anywhere else that is able to offer this sort of service level, it still offers value for money (i.e. you do get what you pay for) for a self-indulgent treat and somewhere we have now decided we will be re-visiting on at least an annual basis.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.