West Lodge Park Hotel and The Beale Arboretum in Hertfordshire, England
We stayed at the West Lodge Park, a four star hotel in Hertfordshire, on a Saturday night in August 2015. It was £165 for two to stay in a room with a king size bed, bathroom, walk in wardrobe and patio. Breakfast is an extra £17 per person.
The place has a long history and Henry Coventry a Secretary of State to Charles II, even lived at West Lodge and was visited there in June 1676 by the writer John Evelyn who wrote a favourable description of the place in his diary. Henry Coventry's portrait hangs in the hall at the foot of the main staircase.
For nearly a century until 1924 West Lodge was used as a family house by various families. In 1916 it was used briefly as a rest home for nurses during the First World War. It has been used by the current owners since 1945.
When you first arrive it is all very impressive. The long tree-lined driveway and the big house. But when you get to reception it is in a narrow corridor and the decor is looking tired. The receptionist was perfectly friendly as was the man who took our bags to our room.
Our room though was a disappointment. It was large and had an outside patio (good) but the decor appeared as if it was last decorated in the 1980s and it was frankly shabby. The wallpaper was peeling in various places, the divan was very scuffed, there were cobwebs across the lights and the outside patio was filthy - with old leaves and lots of cigarette butts from previous visitors. Not what you expect at this price. On the plus side the bed was very comfy, the free wi-fi was fast and there were free snacks - plus it was lovely and quiet so we slept well.
The breakfast the following morning was perfectly acceptable - with local sausages and black pudding. There was confusion about where to find plates for the hot food though but it turned out this is because the chef serves you and they have the plates behind the counter - there was no chef for a few minutes when we arrived for breakfast at 8.15am on the Sunday morning.
We might stay again if we had an event to go to in the area, as the grounds are beautiful (read about the arboretum below) and the hotel does have a nice cosy atmosphere but it really does need updating to meet modern standards.
THE BEALE ARBORETUM
The Beale Arboretum at West Lodge Park Hotel was founded in 1963 by Edward Beale, one of the owners, and has over 800 species of trees from around the world set in 35 acres of parkland. And all within the M25 near London. Hotel guests can visit the grounds any time but visitors can only do this from 2-5pm and have to pay £2.50. This is well worth a walk around to look at all the different trees and each a has a plaque telling you what the tree is.
West Lodge Park, Cockfosters Road, Hadley Wood, Herts, EN4 0PY
*We paid for everything, as this was a private visit and not a PR arranged one