Our corner stateroom was on the top floor of the old manor house, and after Neil had carried our bags up the three flights of stairs and left us with our jaws agape, we settled in by doing several laps of our stateroom, squeaking out exclamations of inarticulate noise! The first priority (after squealing!) was taking pics with the iphone and posting them online for the world to see how truly blessed we are! We could see the 18th hole of the golf course from our bathroom window – actually, THREE neo-gothic windows that are part of the original architecture of the manor. AND this bathroom is bigger than our entire living room!
After managing to affect a calm demeanour, we reluctantly left the room to explore the rest of the manor. Food was calling (it was 2pm, and we hadn’t had any lunch!), so we made our way to the drawing room and library where lunch was still being served (or high tea, if we preferred). We selected two elegant wingback chairs in the library with views of the garden and the prettily sculpted box hedge in the shape of a Celtic cross, and ordered champagne (of course!) and carrot and coriander soup. Delicious and light – didn’t want to spoil our appetites for our extensive dinner by chef Mark Donohue (and it’s ALWAYS the right time for champagne! – this one was a de Venoge – tastes a bit like Verve, must investigate!).
At 3pm daily there are historical tours of the house, and being the eager little pupils we are, we jumped at the opportunity to learn more about this stunning building. Neil was our tour guide; his patter was informative and his lovely manner so helpful and obliging with our many questions. We were shown the Presidential Suite (on the website as Lady Caroline’s room), which used to be a private dining room, so the ornate ceiling is quite spectacular. But it was not as fabulous as the Dunraven Stateroom – its lush red velvet furnishings were quite divine, and the dark oak carved four-poster bed screamed royalty . . . or a least celebrity (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones have stayed there!).
The sun decided to grace us with her presence so we took a turn about the grounds. It was nice to get up a bit of a pace in the great outdoors without it being a rain escaping dash! We explored the rose garden, with the immaculately pruned bushes, covered in young shoots in preparation for their nurturing of buds, planted in smooth, graceful lines, echoing the form and symmetry of every aspect of the grand house.