Berystede Hotel & Spa
Location: Ascot, Berkshire
Minutes from Royal Windsor in the beautiful Thames Valley, Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa in Berkshire has the elegance of a stately home and all the indulgence of a luxury spa.
Savour delicious local dishes in the award-winning Hyperion restaurant or take time out with a massage in the Vital Spa.
For more information about the hotel please visit their web site
† These prices are based on two people sharing a standard double or twin bedroom
In 1870 the 23 year old Henry Noailles Widdrington Standish married Helene de Perusse, daughter of the French Compte de Cars. The couple had estates in both England and France, but their close friendship with the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) made a country house within easy reach of London and Windsor essential.
The choice of site was probably influenced by their friendship with the Barnetts who were already in residence at Kings Beeches on the eastern side of Bagshot Road.
The original building would have looked very much like the 'core' of the present hotel, its quaint Gothic/Tudor mix of styles the height of Victorian fashion. The turrets, then both conical, were a delightful reminder of the couple's French connections.
On 27th October 1886 in the early hours of the morning the original house was destroyed by fire. Local newspaper reports give a graphic account of the conflagration including the death of a Ms Eliza Kleininger. Eliza was lady's maid to Mrs Standish and as befitting the role of a faithful advisor and confidante would often be bestowed gifts of jewels not only from her mistress but also from visiting unattended ladies staying as house guests. Eliza kept these precious gifts in a box in her room - her retirement insurance. Small wonder then that she was tempted to rush back into the burning Berystede to retrieve it. The following day her charred bones were found at the foot of the servants' staircase, surrounded by the trinkets that she had so nearly saved. Today her spirit still wanders the north side of the house, forever searching for her precious jewels....
After the fire of 1886, the house remained derelict until 1903 when the Berystede greeted the new century not as a private house but as a grand hotel. An advertisement in Country Life magazine advertised the Berystede as 'sumptuous, elegant and in perfect taste'.
Ownership of the hotel changed hands numerous times during its first thirty or so years, and the hotel also suffered another fire in 1931 resulting in the destruction of the northern turret and the rebuilding of the present 'odd' one. The hotel was purchased by the Trusthouse group in 1937 and remained part of (Trusthouse) Forte until a few years ago. During the War the hotel was requisitioned and used as courts of justice with 180 cases being heard in the hotel premises. Later, UK and American troops used the hotel as very cosy billets during their station at nearby Silwood park.
The Berystede has of course always been associated with Royal Ascot racecourse. From its beginning in the 1870s the house was an integral part of the Ascot circle. The Standishes not only joined the Royal family's party at the races but also held their own Ascot week celebrations. This tradition still continues on to this day when the hotel plays host to its most celebrated week of the year. Always in high demand, the Berystede puts on a lavish programme of entertainment and refreshment, continuing in the original Standish spirit. The hotel has even named two of its public rooms in honour of the great meeting. The Hyperion restaurant is named in honour of the famous Derby winner who sired more champions than any horse before him. When he died in 1960 he had sired the winners of 748 races. The hotel bar is named after the Diadem stakes, a six furlong sprint first held at Ascot in October 1946, the first year in which a meeting other than the royal meeting had been held.