Arriving at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, you wonder how much of an escape this can be, given that it is within roaring distance of the M40 motorway. Driving through the ornamental gateway and into the imposing front entrance, though, you are quickly transported into the world-famous chef’s tranquil hideaway, nestling behind the honey-colored stone walls. This is the kind of place where the emphasis is so much on making sure you have the perfect stay that it seems your arrival has been planned in minute detail for days beforehand.
Doors are opened before you get the chance to look for a doorknob; bags are slipped out of your hand and whisked away before you wonder what to do with them. Everything is done to make you feel special, regardless of which room you are staying in. However, this is not one of those scary, pompous places where you dare not sneeze or raise your voice. Here, the overwhelming mood is relaxed and easygoing.
Great attention to detail is paid to the “food, comfort, service, and welcome” at Le Manoir, and no room is the same—perfect for repeat visits. With two Michelin stars to his name, Blanc is one of the few household-name chefs who are still very much hands-on in their own kitchen. Treat yourself to the ten-course Le Decouverte tasting menu and prepare to have your taste buds transported to foodie heaven. Make sure you also find the time to take a stroll around the hotel garden. Here grows much of the fresh produce that later will end up on your plate.