Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Focus On: The GroveCombining two distinctively different experiences into one that the consummate golfer and traveler will appreciate is a difficult challenge. Then again, this describes The Grove so naturally, you’d assume anything is possible…
The Grove, as it’s so aptly named, is located just outside of London in Hertfordshire, England, and presents the ever-so-spoiled tourist with yet another set of decadent indulgences that aim to please not only a golfer, but also the type who prefers to hobnob with upper-class London socialites, exfoliate at the spa and sip English tea late in the afternoon. The history of The Grove is as storied as it is varied, having served as a retreat for royal dignitaries, a wartime LMS Railway headquarters, a boarding school and now, a world-class golf venue that has hosted the best players in the world. Nevertheless, guests can’t help but notice the modern-day influences of abstract art, dÃ©cor and chic fashion that fill the halls, 211 guestrooms and 16 master suites. New guests are encouraged to question what’s antique and what isn’t—a quandary that follows guests outside the hotel and onto one of the best new golf courses built in England in the last 25 years.
The course, a Kyle Phillips design, exudes a modern flair that, like the adjacent hotel, melds well with the same grounds Queen Victoria took afternoon walks on several hundred years ago. Its wide fairways pinch at critical places, and the often diabolical pin placements tempt golfers to play for position over panache. It’s a fairly new course, with the intent on becoming an attractive venue for high-caliber competition, thanks to ample mounding and space between holes to accommodate galleries of spectators.
Buy honestly, why come to The Grove? Is it the fabulous cuisine? The inspiring art and plasma-screen TVs? The historical edifices? The beautiful golf course? The answer is yes to them all, but the overriding reason to visit The Grove is to experience a level of friendly and attentive service that manages to be timely and consistent without being overtly stuffy and demanding. It’s a high-level of service that’s easy to get used to, extending from the friendly hotel staff to the golf course staff, replete with caddie and forecaddie programs that promise to make your game a lot more enjoyable.
When you visit The Grove, you’ll understand what they mean by “country living at a contemporary pace.” It’s all that, and more.