As one of the most prestigious and well known luxury hotels in the UK when Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons invited us to visit the property, we jumped at the chance!
We were there for hours with Sophie Perrett the brilliant Sales Manager exploring the property and getting a fantastic insight into what spaces are available for corporate events, weddings and private celebrations. The property did not disappoint and with a staff to guest ratio of 2:1 service levels were extraordinary.
Part of Belmond (Orient Express Hotels Ltd), the group is made up of a collection 46 iconic hotels, trains and river cruises in 24 countries. Other well known members include the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, and trains Belmond Royal Scotsman, Belmond British Pullman and the new Belmond Grand Hibernian (in Ireland). There's a much anticipated opening to come in late 2018 of Belmond Cadogan Hotel in London which forms part of an impressive, aggressive plan to double the number of properties in the group by 2020.
We love the story that Raymond Blanc bought Belmond Le Manoir in 1983 from an advert he saw in Country Life Magazine. He drove straight out to the 15th century property situated in the beautiful village of Great Milton, between Thame and Oxford, knocked on the door and explained his vision to the then owner Lady Cromwell. One year later, in 1984, the restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin Stars and they still stand today.
Belmond Le Manoir really does offer bespoke and flexible events. Quite often, in our experience, venues of this calibre are not willing to stray from standard procedure and events can either be done one way or another using just their list of preferred suppliers. Belmond Le Manoir was refreshingly accommodating and their events team works with planners to be truly individual and unique for their clients.
Thirty-two bedrooms are split between the main manor house and the courtyard. Each is individually designed and completely unique. The Blanc de Blanc is an all white suite which is licensed for small wedding ceremonies and offers its own private garden.
The main event space, La Belle Époque, is self contained and is surprisingly versatile. The beautiful wooden panelled dining room can seat 26 on one long table or 44 theatre style, the modern glass conservatory (can that take up to 70 theatre style) opens out onto a stunning private garden space perfect for a drinks reception. There's also a pretty stone foyer area that can take 50 for drinks.
The main restaurant can seat 118-120 guests and when combined with La Belle Époque 168 guests can be fed in one sitting. Belmond Le Manoir is available for exclusive use lunch hires along with dinner and overnight buy outs and there is so much flexibility in terms of activities that can be offered; the Raymond Blanc Cookery School can take 10 people at a time, there's a glass house in the gardens for small events for 8-10 guests, you can put a marquee on the croquet lawn, there's a wine cellar for wine tasting activities, a champagne bar and two lounge areas. Offsite there are a variety of options not too far away, from shopping at Bicester Village, EJ Churchill's shooting grounds, Blenheim Palace and Wormsley Estate, home of Garsington Opera, can offer farm land for activities and private dinners on an island on their lake. Raymond has recently bought the Black Horse pub in nearby Thame so there's also an option for nearby casual offsite dinners too.
Not at all stuffy and pretentious as you might imagine, Belmond Le Manoir is just beautiful. A sensory feast, it's so much more than just a hotel and restaurant, it's an immersive experience and feels more of a private country house than a hotel. It's a modern classic, it's authentic and iconic and I think that's just how Raymond would want it. We loved it there and can’t wait to return. So whether you want to look at a full property buy out, a small and intimate wedding or celebration or a corporate meeting, get in touch.
Raspberry Rhubarb is a luxury event management company. Our passion lies in creating exquisite, bespoke corporate and private events. We have the expertise and vision to deliver truly remarkable luxury events, that will create lasting memories. Our purpose is simple: to deliver exceptional luxury events, across the UK, and worldwide.