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LAURA ASHLEY ELSTREE

11 January 2015

Last autumn I was invited along with a bunch of bloggers for afternoon tea at Laura Ashley's first hotel, in Hertfordshire.  The four star boutique hotel opened in 2013 to celebrate the British brand's 60th anniversary and I'd wanted to visit ever since so gladly accepted.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

We were picked up in a vintage gold bus in London and driven the 45 minutes or so to Elstree in Herts and pulled up at the beautiful black and white Tudor style property before sitting down in the elegant dining room.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

We feasted on classic cucumber, cream cheese and smoked salmon finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and little cakes, tarts and macarons along with pots of english breakfast tea and coffee served in pretty crockery.  I say feast because we couldn't finish it - plenty of hearty portions here.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

We then had a tour of some of the bedrooms, including the massive suites furnished with luxe fabrics, sparkling mirror and glass accessories and a lovely view over the stretching gardens, giant chessboard and woodlands, and finished with a couple of glasses of fizz outside on the patio before heading back home.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

For a brand with such rich heritage and one which regularly revisits the archives for collaborations and brings retro prints back to life in new collections, I was expecting a bit more character - I wish that there were old photos of the designer herself, black and white behind-the-scenes photos of the manufacturing, vintage pieces of furniture, ditzy florals everywhere, first catalogue photos etc.  It was a teensy bit beige, but that's my only criticism - it's a lovely place to spend an afternoon and the rooms look great too.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

 Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotelVintage gold bus in London

Bloggers Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

The Manor Hotel, Barnet Lane, Elstree WD6 3RE

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