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Pop the champers! Hartwell House’s private dining room is fab

The Octagon Room in Hartwell House is so gorgeous, I threw a party there! See what all the fuss is about and book it for yourself.

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GIVE ME STRENGTH!  I’m desperate to go Muddying on walks, shops and pub visits, but am on the hobble after a knee op. I’ll be driving again next week, but until then, here’s a great tip for a private dinner party or special occasion…

You’ve probably had afternoon tea here, maybe used the spa too, but I used the private dining room at Hartwell House for my birthday recently and it was AMAZING.

You can hire one of two private rooms. The bigger one is ordinary, but the smaller one, the Octagon Room, holds 24-26 (depending on you configure the tables) and is just stunning – chandeliers, ornamental fireplace, gorgeous Regency wallpaper and triple window.

The Octagon Dining Room, where we had dinner

You have to organise the evening using the Hartwell events team, but that was great for me, because it took the sting out the whole evening. The only bits I sorted were choosing the food and wine, buying flowers (because their prices were silly) and writing the place names (because they were going to do them in biro). I used a fantastic local caligrapher Camilla who wrote them beautifully and inexpensively in burgundy red. You can contact her at [email protected].

My deal included sole use of the stunning gilt Morning Room and the Library afterwards (below)

The Morning Room. Like my lounge, only smaller. We met in here for champagne and hors d’oeuvres

… and everyone stayed at the hotel for a discounted rate. The next day we were able to stay all day, walking the grounds and using the spa. I’m sorry to admit that I was so hungover I just lay by the pool waiting to die, scientific proof that, in fact, you can have too much champagne.

One more thing. I used Rob James, a brilliant close-up table magician during the meal, who I’d also really recommend. He was incredible. Even the most cynical and gimlet-eyed of my friends were won over. He’s not local, but like most magicians flies on his carpet up and down the M4, M40 and M1 on weekends doing parties and shows. Expect to pay between £300-400. He’s worth every penny.

Highlights? The food was absolutely great and the service was brilliant too – attentive without being irritating. They sorted out a last minute menu glitch for a friend with a wheat allergy without any fuss at all. And the building was so beautiful, it really lifted the evening. The hotel rooms were lovely. Not trendy – mine even had a cork floor bathroom! – but big, comfortable and homely with fantastic views.

Any negatives? Well, it wasn’t a cheap night – there’s a healthy mark-up on wine list prices and you have to use Hartwell’s champagne. And there are noise restrictions with no music allowed in the communal areas, though we were fine to set up speakers in the Octagon Room.

These are small quibbles though. It was one of the best evenings I’ve had in years. Take a look around and if you book it, let your fellow Stilettoists know how it goes!

2 comments on “Pop the champers! Hartwell House’s private dining room is fab”

  • Rachel February 1, 2011

    Coincidentally I went to one of Hartwells cocktail canape and geleration nail evenings at the spa. It was great.A gel is applied onto your nail to protect it (no fake tips) and then painted with a special varnish (I went for Rouge Noir)Then it’s baked under a uv.Fab shiney nails that last 3 weeks, pomegranite cocktails and yummy canapes. Bargain at £45 I thought 🙂

  • Muddy Stilettoes February 2, 2011

    Sounds great, especially the pomegranate cocktails… x


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon