Venue Review: Wivenhoe House, 4* Hotel in Colchester, Essex
30th June 2023
Whether it is a stop off when you are working away from home, that long awaited weekend break or as I did for my review, an enjoyable evening of fine wines and food pairings, nothing appeals more than a comfortable night’s stay at a welcoming hotel. Located on the grounds of University of Essex and within the 200-acre award-winning and beautiful Wivenhoe (Nature) Park, the hotel is secluded in its ideal setting affording visitors a peaceful stopover with nothing more than the sound of willow hitting cricket balls as students practice in the adjacent fields.
“Wivenhoe House has (its own) 34 hectare landscape park established on the site of a former deer park between 1776 and 1780 by Richard Woods. The gardens around the house were laid out in the late-1840s by W A Nesfield. The western half of the park now has an extensive range of university buildings. The house was converted into a conference centre in 1977.” source Park & Gardens
Colchester Town is just a few minutes car ride away, or thirty minutes by foot, with plenty of shops and further wine and dining options as well as a station with direct trains to and from central London. The 18th-century property that is Wivenhoe House Hotel has an overall positive score on reliable review booking websites, with booking.com showing: 8.8 / 10 and ‘Fabulous‘ status from 1,460 reviews!
As you enter the university campus and your stress levels reduce, as does your speed to the 20 MPH restriction of the private roads, you lazily make your way off to the east side where the impressive façade of Wivenhoe House appears and grows as you approach. Plenty of parking just outside of the entrance with steps leading up to a larger, welcoming reception area depicting the internal décor quality omitting a luxurious genre.
Staff are very welcoming and friendly and to be honest, even the prices for rooms are cheerful with options of Classic / Superior / Deluxe / Luxury ranging from just £105 per night up to £250 depending on when in the year you are booking.
Settling into our luxury bedroom named Baxter Story, arrived at via the grand staircase (lift available too), you are taken in by the cleanliness and spacious layout. Amenities are plentiful with tea/coffee making facilities, large-screen television and bathrobes, plus additional extras such as in-room safe, hairdryer and more. The bathroom is yet again spacious, an inviting bathtub with a double wash basin along with a sizable shower unit.
Catching up on emails (guest WIFI available and strong signal) and hanging up my evening wear, I decided to take some time to wander around the building, inside and out, to take in the setting and architectural features. The internal of the building shows many great original details and you are invited to rest in the guest lounge should you wish to take tea / coffee or even to occupy the children with a selection of board games. Outside gives a very secluded feeling, though you are on a university campus, there are no youngsters running around and being noisy, I only noted a couple cycling and hotel guests I bumped into in the reception area earlier taking a walk on the grounds.
The bar area is calling, so it is off to the Wivenhoe House Brasserie (bar and restaurant) which is located within the 2012 (Edge Hotel School) extension with 40 bedrooms. You can enjoy a glass of English Sparkling Wine (at the time of my visit the promotion was on Chapel Down Brut) along with most other popular beverages. Not only does breakfast take place here (an additional fee though worthy in my books) you can also book for lunch or dinner. There is an area to enjoy drinks and food outside also.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.