As far as country escapes go, The Great House at Sonning is the perfect example of countryside warmth and elegance. Sitting on the idyllic village of Sonning, right by the picturesque banks of the Thames - The Great House at Sonning is as remarkable as the landscapes that surround it. A quintessentially British inn that marries contemporary style and essential British charm.
From London Paddington, we make our way to Reading on a gloomy London afternoon, leaving the high rises of the city, and the hustle and bustle for the city for quieter aspirations. Just a short 45 minute train ride takes us to the town of Reading, Henley-on-Thames, and into the glorious countryside of Berkshire. It is these towering trees and fresh green foliages that now serve as the perfect backdrop for The Great House at Sonning. A setting that has inspired many works of art, and has attracted some a-list patrons which include the likes of Jimmy Page and George Clooney, whose vacation home is rumoured to be right by the river-bend, just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.
Originally an Elizabethan coaching Inn and recently purchased by renowned hospitality tycoon Hugh Osmond of Strada fame, The Great House at Sonning has undergone a full refurbishment with Sinclair Beecham at the helm of the hotel’s design. When asked about The Great House, co-founder of Pret-A-Manger and The Hoxton Hotel, Sinclair Beecham laughs and states that the process has been if nothing else, a labour of love. What results is a refreshing take on the British Inn, where every design detail is carefully considered.
The Great House at Sonning boasts 49 rooms from the main house, to the connecting buildings in the property. Each room is renovated to an exceptional standard, dipped in varying hues of blue with the occasional pop of bright orange. There is an industrial element to the design, featuring exposed brick walls, brass furnishings, and eclectic artwork on the walls. There are the welcome retro design elements that ring back to the sixties, red Bakelite phones, and classic fridges that look like they were lifted from the home of a Stepford Wife fill the British Inn. What results is an ambience that is effortlessly cool, yet still fitting to the hotel’s idyllic surroundings.
The Great House at Sonning also boasts a lovely selection of gastronomic delights by The Coppa Club. Breakfast at The Coppa Club is the perfect way to start the day with the chilli salmon toast becoming an instant favourite. Cozy nooks, roaring fireplaces, and rich leather furnishings result in a relaxed environment perfect for a hearty meal and night cap at the bar. In the waning light of the afternoon, The Coppa Club opens up to a spacious backyard facing the water. Lovely woven chairs are dotted around the English garden, where guests are invited to a delightful river cruise. Here, they can enjoy a spectrum of pinks and deep mauves that adorn the sunset, each stunning hue reflecting on the gentle waters of the River Thames. All of this makes The Great House at Sonning the perfect retreat away from the city, a refreshing and modern take on the quintessential British Inn - and a truly unforgettable weekend destination.
Photography by Curtis Gibson
Words by Hannah Tan
View our Gallery of The Great House at Sonning