Monkey Island Estate
Perhaps the best-kept secret of the English countryside, Monkey Island Estate can be reached in just 20 minutes car ride from London Heathrow airport. Having visited London more times than I can count, I wanted to find a countryside escape for my weekend visit as I had just 48 hours between flights. I arrived in London on a Saturday evening and would spend the Sunday and Monday enjoying the English countryside.
Monkey Island Estate is located near the town of Bray, a small village with a lot of character. The nearest city is popular Windsor, just a further 20 minutes drive from Bray and home to the famous Windsor castle, official residence of the Queen. The hotel is located on an island on the River Thames which can be accessed by a footbridge. Despite being so close to the airport, the estate feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of London. This makes for the perfect weekend escape from the city or short stopover for those who would prefer the countryside to the city lifestyle.
A rich history
Monkey Island Estate has an impressive history centuries old. It has long been a home away from home for aristocrats, artists and writers. Now it is one of the newest luxury hotels in the countryside.
In 1723 the Duke of Marlborough commissioned the estate to become a fishing retreat. It is this long line of history that has warranted the property to become heritage listed. With heritage status comes a lot of responsibility to maintain the history of the property, which has resulted in a beautiful restoration of the estate.
The estate sits on 7 acres on an island on the River Thames. There are 27 guest rooms in total with the prized possession being the Wedgewood Suite. Guests also have access to a small private lounge near the guest rooms which is stocked daily with fresh homemade cookies and coffee (not many people know about this so do pay a visit!)
A Floating Spa on the River Thames
Perhaps the highlight of my stay was a visit to the hotel’s floating spa. Located on a house boat on the River Thames, the floating spa is one of the most unique spas I have visited. The facial I had was also incredibly relaxing and perfect to combat jet lag. Treatments include a welcome refreshment and herbal tea at the conclusion of your visit. I can’t recommend this enough!
Floating down the Thames
Late on Sunday afternoon I made my way to the houseboat for an early evening cruise along the river. It was about 45 minutes and a great way to see some of the houses along the river. I also spotted the old Bray Film studios. This is where the Spice Girls recorded a music video back in the nineties! The cruise includes a bottle of bubbles and snacks from the area.
A very warm thank you to YTL Hotels for welcoming me to stay at Monkey Island Estate. I visited the hotel as a hosted guest however all opinions and photos are my own.