Luxury five -star hotel Luton Hoo celebrated the official opening of its dedicated meeting venue at the weekend, with two full days of events including falconry, clay pigeon shooting, archery and helicopter rides around the estate, culminating in a sit down banquet for 170 guests on the Saturday night.
Ten years in the planning, and the final £20 million of a total £100 million spend on Luton Hoo, Warren Weir is a purpose-built brand new meeting venue with five function rooms, hospitality lounge, 84 bedrooms and suites and its own leisure facilities including a snooker room, 18 metre indoor swimming pool, whirl pool and fitness studio with Technogym equipment.
The addition of Warren Weir now means there are three separate hotels set in the 1000 acres plus of Capability Brown landscaped gardens, from the main Grade-1 listed, Sir Robert Adam-designed house (where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent their honeymoon in 1947), through to the country club in the Grade II-listed stable-block with its 18-hole championship golf course and now Warren Weir.
Transport between the main house and Warren Weir, which is a walk of 15 minutes through the grounds, is provided either by electric carts or London Taxi cabs with personalised number plates. The style of the new conference centre is art and crafts on the exterior, with wooden balconies and steeply shelving roofs, while the interiors are modern but traditional in style, with dark wood furniture, rooms named after local birds and with a site which overlooks the River Lea, water meadows and willow trees.
Warren Weir has 61 bedrooms, 21 Junior suites and two suites, flat screen TVs, heated bathrooms floors and mirrors and wifi access throughout. There are five individual function rooms catering for up to 300 delegates and car parking for up to 140 cars on site.
To show the capability of the venue, and also to wow the many meeting and events organisers invited for the weekend, 24-hours of activities were arranged, including a black tie gala dinner with entertainment provided firstly by drumming group BassToneSlap who managed to get the normally world-weary event organisers accompanying them on percussion instruments, then a firework display over the 60-acre lake before a band kept the entertainment going until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Luton Hoo was bought by Sir Julius Wernher in 1903 and once displayed his collection of art, including the largest collection of the works of Carl Faberge outside the Royal Collection of the British Monarchy. Since 2007 it has been a luxury hotel, part of the small UK-based hotel group Elite Hotels which also owns Tylney Hall, Hampshire, Ashdown Park, East Sussex and The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne. It is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Report by Tom Otley