Last week I hopped on a train down to St Albans via London to attend the 50th Birthday celebrations of Preferred Hotels. Naturally, the event was held at one of Preferred’s member hotels, which was the luxurious Sopwell House located just outside of St Albans. With lots of blogger friends on the guestlist, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with familiar faces, allow myself a day off work and celebrate a brand I love to work with. As I was travelling down from Leeds, I also checked in for an overnight stay at Sopwell House after the celebrations so I could make the most of the hotel and its facilities.
Preferred Hotels 50th Birthday Celebrations
The lovely garden-party affair could have epitomised all that is great about an English summer’s day. On arrival we were offered a glass of champagne before heading out to mingle on the hotel’s perfectly maintained lawn. On the lawn stood a specialist gin truck serving up unique gin creations, some of which had been inspired by Preferred Hotel’s brand logo; the pineapple. It was so nice to catch up with some of my fellow bloggers including Angie from Twenty First Century Gent, Claire and Laura from Twenty First Century Gent, Katie from Kalanchoe, Bonnie from The Style Traveller, Ben from Twenty First Century Gent and Giulia from Mondomulia.
The main event was the afternoon tea picnic which had an incredible selection of sweet and savoury treats (many of which were quintessentially British). A bookshelf became the most impressive cake stand I have ever seen and mouthwatering savoury treats included mini burgers, coronation chicken ciabattas, falafel and hummus wraps and rustic sausage rolls. It was such a treat and I savoured every bite!
There was bunting, picnic blankets, crazy golf and croquet to keep us occupied, but in typically blogger fashion most of us were focused on taking photos and catching up with one another. Everything was just too Instagrammable! We were also taken on a tour of the hotel where we learned about Sopwell House’s impressive state-of-the-art spa renovation.
We were also shown around the exclusive Mews Cottages, a collection of individual cottages tucked away in a private part of the hotel grounds. The mews cottages are often hired collectively to accommodate visiting football teams, wedding parties and for corporate events.
Overnight at Sopwell House
After the event I headed to the hotel reception to check in to my room. I was excited to find out I had been allocated a mews cottage of my own, which was called Lavender. The luxurious duplex mews cottage had its own little gate, patio and front door which immediately made it feel 10x more homely and personal compared to a standard hotel room.
Downstairs there was an open plan kitchenette, dining and lounge area rolled in to one. The furnishings oozed style and quality and I loved that the sleek kitchenette was complete with a sink, hob and a fridge. There was also glasses, mugs, pots and pans so you could easily self-cater and entertain in these cottages if you wanted to.
Upstairs was a cosy bedroom with a king sized bed, plush bedding and quirky artwork which injected a nice bit of character. The bathroom was spacious and had a spa bath, which was another huge tick for me. The ESPA toiletries also smelt incredible, with aromatherapy scents that make you feel like you've just stepped out of a heavenly spa treatment. The bedroom looked out on to my favourite feature of the mews complex, the private plunge pool and patio area. This pool was reserved exclusively for guests of the mews cottages and was surrounded a stylish lounge area.
2 AA Rosette Dining
I was also treated to dinner at the hotels 2 AA Rosette restaurant, which is simply called The Restaurant. I enjoyed the experience with a few other bloggers who were also staying over for the night. From the dinner menu I chose Cornish crab to start followed by Atlantic cod with chorizo, spring onion and a 65 degree egg yolk which was poached to perfection. I’ve never tasted this combination of flavours before but it totally worked and the semi-cooked yolk added a real richness to the dish.
The restaurant was pretty quiet whilst we were dining so I can’t say there was much atmosphere but the service was outstanding and the waiters were very knowledgeable about the menu. After a delicious meal I strolled back to my mews cottage for a long, deep sleep.
My train back to Leeds departed at 12 the following day, so I had enough time for a leisurely breakfast in The Brasserie and a refreshing swim in the spa pool. I absolutely loved everything about my time at Sopwell House, from the garden party to the blissful overnight stay. It reminded me quite a lot of Rudding Park in Harrogate, especially as its focusing on a big spa renovation, just like Rudding Park has recently done. I’d love to come back when the new spa renovations are complete as I think this will really take the hotel to the next level.
Read more Sopwell House reviews on TripAdvisor
Happy 50th Birthday to Preferred Hotels and thank you for inviting me to celebrate this exciting milestone.
What do you think of Sopwell House? Have you visited St Albans before? If you enjoyed this post please leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x
My stay at Sopwell House was provided complimentary as part of the 50th Birthday celebrations with Preferred Hotels. All words and photos are my own.