What a Fabulous Location! Lucknam Park is a Palladium Mansion set in a delightful 500 acre park in the heart of the Wiltshire Countryside; Built in 1720, it was recently converted into a hotel in 1988.The entrance to the hotel, a one mile drive of beautiful beech trees, cannot fail to impress. Recently voted “Catey Hotel of the Year 2010” and “A.A Hotel of the year 2011”This is truly a delightful venue.
We were greeted by consummate Hotelier Harry Murray. As chairman of Lucknam Park, Harry has taken the hotel forward to be one of the UK’s leading country house establishments. As well as being a member of the prestigious Relais and Chateaux, many awards testify to its excellence including a Michelin star as well as five A.A red stars. A delicious glass of Laurent Perrier kindly supplied by Steve Branwood, their Regional Director, greeted guests on the terrace (albeit delayed by a coach breakdown on the M4 for the London contingent arriving from the Caledonian Club).
Delicious starter of Pembroke Lobster (with seaside pebble garnish?) was accompanied by an outstanding Meursault 2007; eloquently described by Fredrick Monnery, the UK Ambassador for Mason Louis Jadot ,it was a classic Meursault in the old fashioned style( not at all buttery, blousy or over oaked) –truly delicious. A superb Gevrey Chambertin 2007, with the Brecon Lamb ,followed.
The two outstanding wines from Louis Jadot surprised many members who were used to the entry level Jadot wines available in the high street supermarket; by comparison, this was premier division! An insight into the vintage by Fredrick was enhanced by the fact that he worked alongside the winemaker for both the 2007 Meursault and the Gevrey Chambertin
A good candidate for the Star of the Show was the Laurent Perrier Rose champagne, made only from Pinot Noir , accompanying the pudding. A platter of Farmhouse cheeses, in prime condition, accompanied by more delightful Burgundy, completed an excellent summer luncheon.
A traditional Santé de Chef followed for the executive chef Hywel Jones, a familiar face to those who have watched the BBC Great British Menu series. Hywel boasts an impressive culinary pedigree having worked with Nico and MPW, as well as gaining his first Michelin star at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. One should not forget that this is a team effort, so our thanks to the Managing Director Claire Randall, Restaurant manager Eric Arens and sommelier Damon Trinquel.
After lunch Harry personally provided a mini “Cooks Tour” of the estate, including an award winning spa (an £18 million investment) as well as an Equestrian Centre with over forty horses; delightfully a foal was born that morning!
Traditional afternoon tea, on the terrace, greeted members on their return to the hotel To sum up a great Summer Outing for 50 members and guests – and particularly those who stayed overnight taking advantage of an extremely generous room rate in truly delightful surroundings.
Our thanks to Harry Murray, Chairman of Lucknam Park, for his generosity and hospitality