First Time Visiting Sopwell House, St Albans UK

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.

Sopwell House | The Travelista

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.

Sopwell House | The Travelista | Twins that Travel
Sopwell House | Bloggers

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!

Sopwell House | Mini Burgers

Sopwell House | Wraps | Garden Party

Sopwell House | Preferred Hotels

Sopwell House | Pimms Dessert

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.

Sopwell House | Garden

Sopwell House | Wedding Gazebo

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.

Sopwell House | Mews Cottages

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.

Sopwell House | Lavender Mews Duplex Suite

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.

Sopwell House | Lavender Mews Duplex Suite

Sopwell House | Lavender Mews Duplex Suite

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.

Sopwell House | Lavender Mews Duplex Suite | Bed Sopwell House | Mews Plunge Pool

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.

Sopwell House | Cornish Crab

Sopwell House | Cod and Chorizo

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. 

Sopwell House | The Restaurant

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.

Sopwell House | The Pool

Sopwell House | Preferred Hotels Blogger Gift

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

Sopwell House | The Travelista

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.


Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


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