Fairmont Windsor Park: A Quintessentially British Retreat

A hop skip from 11th-Century Windsor Castle, iconic residence to the late Queen Elizabeth II, an equally regal affair awaits you. The Fairmont Windsor Park is a luxurious countryside hotel brimming with elegance and charm, set on 40 acres of manicured grounds next door to Windsor Great Park. Wind your way up its long and twisty driveway, past the padel courts and over the quaint, fairytale bridge atop its magnificent lake, and you’ll arrive at a faux Jacobean mansion intended to make grand impressions.

We are at the edge of Windsor, a market town steeped in royal history in Berkshire, England. It is to many, the quintessential English town, speckled with tiny tea rooms and cozy, oak-beamed pubs. Royal Ascot sits to one side, Eton College to another, and the historic towers and ramparts of Windsor Castle loom above it all. Wander its cobbled streets, stroll along the banks of the River Thames, gorge yourself on homemade English fudge, Time seems to move slower here, and it’s only an hour’s drive from London.

A stay at the £200 million built-from-scratch Fairmont Windsor Park is just as indulgent, where the world fades away and a side to Windsor saved for only the most leisurely luxury travelers is revealed. Step through its towering entrance and you’ll find yourself in the grandiose lobby, a domed glass roof flooding the marble-clad atrium with light as a roaring fire warms fingers and toes. Magnificent fresh flower displays, changed weekly, are a spectacle for the eye, and little boutiques line the entrance—offering items from fragrances to candy for childish minds. To the left, an afternoon tea parlor, to the right, a library lounge with chess boards and a Macallan whisky corner. Contemporary, traditional luxury meets the eye at every corner, every touch, every smell.

For those in search of a royal retreat, there is only one room to see and remain unseen in. The Signature Royal Suite is an apartment-style home stretching across 2,230 square feet, laden with opulence. Two huge ensuite bedrooms sandwich separate lounge and dining rooms, with a butler’s pantry, wine fridge, kitchen and alternative entrance. Chandeliers hang above, Swarovski crystal artwork lines the walls and a cocktail bar waits to provide the evening’s entertainment.

Of course, no royal suite is complete without its own elevator down to the private spa suite, right? It’s yours to use and yours alone. Everything in the Signature Royal Suite feels exquisite, right down to the throne in the bathroom—a warmed, automatic, Japanese smart toilet with more settings than you could dream of. With the large, round jacuzzi bathtub, the enormous bedroom flatscreen TV, the four-poster beds and the regal balcony overlooking soothing park views, this seems an experience made with Royals in mind (and though the hotel is sworn to secrecy, we suspect it’s likely been put to the test).

Whether guests are hungry or thirsty, a plethora of bars and restaurants cater for special dinners, casual lunches, decadent breakfasts and tiny tummies. Its MOREISH restaurant serves Middle-Eastern dishes in a relaxed setting, while in the summer, The Terrace pumps out freshly-baked pizza. For those looking for something more luxurious, 1215 Restaurant—so named after the date the Magna Carta was signed in not-too-far-away medieval Runnymede—serves British fine dining at its best. Choose between à la carte or a set tasting menu across five or eight dishes, all using ingredients with local British provenance. We chose the tasting menu, and it was divine.

Often, you can tell a lot about a restaurant by its bread; here we had a freshly baked mini loaf of honey-crusted oat and rye, slices of warm stretchy sourdough and a stunning soda bread, all with freshly whipped butter. Following on, the delicate cod with smoked carrots and a rich bouillabaisse lingered on our palette, the rich, local venison with celeriac and walnut was seared to perfection and the creamy duck liver parfait was lifted by pickled beetroot and plum ketchup. After dinner, head to the 1215 bar for shorts, with its magnificently lit ceiling and one of two impressive Renaissance fireplaces saved from the previous stately home.

The Fairmont Windsor Park’s award-winning spa has been voted “Best in the UK” on multiple occasions and exudes peace and tranquility. In the main spa, there is a 20m indoor lap pool, a thermal suite with detoxifying sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, Himalayan salt room and a Japanese Ashiyu foot ritual bath. A courtyard vitality pool, lined by hanging chairs, awaits for summer dips and winter reinvigoration. The wellness complex sprawls across two basement floors, with a cryotherapy chamber, traditional marble hammam, dark and silent quiet room and a finishing studio for precision mani and pedis. The FaceBible, a doctor-led wellness and aesthetics clinic, has taken up residency here, and, of course, there is a beautiful gym to sweat in, too.

But the area you’ll be using is off-limits to all others, a retreat inside a retreat for royal exclusivity. The Salutaris Suite, with direct access by elevator from your apartment upstairs, is a private spa with two treatment beds, a hot tub, rasul steam room, day bed and showers. For couples, friends or those traveling solo in need of extra solitude, it is a space for total decompression. The spa treatments are exceptional; sink into the heated treatment bed as your therapist carries out a ritual personalized to you, ranging from deeply hydrating facials with cryo spoons to warming salt stone massages. Whatever it is you choose, you’re sure to leave royally rested.

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