The Vibe: A brave and innovative take on the traditional country house hotel.
The Area: For easy access from London (thirty minutes), Birch is well-located on its Hertfordshire outskirts, within minutes of the M25. If you are looking for a country house hotel in beautiful countryside, this is not it: the surroundings are fairly urban.
The DNA: This country estate turned hotel finds beauty in imperfection. Cracked plaster and weathered floorboards tell the story of this 257-year-old mansion, which reopened as digital detox hotel Birch. The designers retained the air of the grand country manor, repairing the historic red brick building and retaining as many of its original features as possible but stripping back clutter and unnecessary furniture to create more thoughtful spaces. Bespoke pieces of furniture, artwork and sourced vintage pieces chime with the lived-in philosophy. Communal spaces are warmed by open fires, with sofas placed so guests can soak up the views across the grass.
Suite-Me-Up: The hotel’s bedrooms are purposefully clutter-free – meaning no desks or TVs – to encourage guests to relax, switch off and enjoy a taste of slow-living. Rooms have been given a fresh coat of paint, but some of the building’s quirks have been left exposed – including floorboards that had been daubed in white numbers, as part of a previous renovation.
Seen: The Spaces
Accolades: Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2021
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 144 rooms • hotel opened: 2020 (formerly a De Vere Hotel) • interior design: Red Deer ✅ free on-site parking • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk