“ COUNTRY HOTEL. Jarvis Hotel. Elcot, Nr Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8NJ. „
The Elcot Park Hotel is hidden just south of Halfway between Newbury and Hungerford. Although signposted from the main road you may feel a little nervous tootling down an unlit, one track, unmade road, but it is worth it! You are greeted by a large country house, with reasonably well blended new buildings attached. Reception staff seem a little disorganised, but are well meaning and friendly. There is no lift so guests with mobility difficulties should call ahead to guarantee a ground floor room. The restaurant serves a good standard of food, but is best described as spacious. Cavernous would seem a more appropriate adjective when I was there as it was rather empty. You can eat in the bar which is a little smaller and there are cosy lounges and a pleasant conservatory area with excellent views of the gardens. The room service menu is limited with a few fancy schmancy sandwiches and a 'SuperBowl' menu which consists of pub standards like burger and chips and pasta bolognaise, served in a big bowl rather than a plate. This 'bowl' concept seems to be used to justify the hefty £10.95 price tag. Continental breakfast is available in room at no extra charge, or you can opt for a bacon buttie for a few quid extra. The hotel is attached to a Sebastian Coe Health Centre so it has an excellent gym (or so I'm told!). The pool isn't big enough for serious swimming, but it is deep enough for aquarobics. More importantly there is a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna for those of us who prefer to get a sweat on without too much effort. Some of the rooms here are superb, with large four poster beds, banquette seating and spa baths. You do have a trade off in that the floorboards creak and the windows rattle, but it seems to be a fair trade. Sadly this level of luxury is wasted on the mid week 'just give me somewhere to sleep' crew, but is excellent for a romantic getaway. Other rooms are a little mo re practical, but would be disappointing for leisure travellers. I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a nice quiet weekend, but it's really a little too much if you are on your own.