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Set in 300 acres of rolling Hertfordshire countryside, The Grove offers more than your average five-star hotel. Just 18 miles from central London, our private resort features three unique restaurants, an award-winning spa, championship golf course and a wide selection of luxury meeting and event spaces.

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History timeline

  • 3,000 BC: Some of the earliest pottery made in Britain during the Bronze Age has been unearthed at The Grove by archaeologists.
  • 1294: The Grove’s land was first conveyed by John de Brittewell.
  • 1500s: During the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, the first house was founded
  • 1753-1790s: The house was acquired by The Honourable Thomas Villiers, second son of the second Earl of Jersey and British Ambassador to France, who became the very first Earl of Clarendon. During this time the sprawling grounds were a favourite spot for artist George Stubbs, who visited the stables regularly to create his famous horse portraits. The Grove was also visited by Captain Cook, who presented one of the Earls with a sapling of the newly-discovered Black Walnut Tree. This magnificent tree now towers over the Terrace, beside the Lounges.
  • 1800s: In the early 1800s the railways were built, but the Earl refused to let trains come through the estate, so the Watford Tunnel was created. Owned by the family for generations, the house was a popular weekend spot for Queen Victoria and other British aristocrats. Dressed in their best, socialites would escape to The Grove for lavish parties in the The Donneraile room, named after one of the hotel’s first guests, Lord Donneraile. Although we’re no longer home to the Earl’s favourite stuffed hunting trophies or silk wallpaper hangings, history enthusiasts will find many original features within the grounds. From the ice house under the golf course to the hidden stairways used by servants, our hotel is a maze of secrets.
  • 1920-1940: The Villiers family moved out of the property and The Grove was used as a riding school, a boarding school and a health centre before being turned into the wartime HQ for London, Midland & Scottish Railway.
  • 1940s: Known as project X and supported by the Earl of Clarendon, the grounds were used to build air raid shelters and underground bunkers for jeeps and other vehicles.
  • 1996: The building was in a ruinous state, until it was rescued by Ralph Trustees Limited, who renovated the property with the help of famous architects, interior designers, landscape gardeners and golfers. English Heritage allowed us to run with our restoration project and eight years later we opened our luxury country house estate hotel and spa, starting a brand new era for The Grove.

Art and Interiors

Inspired by luxury, our sleek interiors were designed by the talented Martin Hulbert. Oozing sophistication, the traditional 18th Century building has been restored to combine modern style with its rich history, giving it a unique yet contemporary feel. Art is a key feature throughout the hotel, and each room and corridor is home to some truly unique designs. From miniature sculptures to glass displays filled with dried flowers and other surprises, you’ll find something quirky in every corner. In the centre of the hotel our eclectic maze of luxury lounges overlook the stunning gardens. Each one is individually designed and features different colour themes and furnishings, including dangling chandeliers and airy french windows.


A nature lover’s dream, our stunning 300 acre grounds are a haven for peace and tranquility. Our immaculate Formal Gardens are brimming with rose gardens, contemporary art and unique water features. During the spring and summer, guests can also enjoy the Walled Garden, a secluded outdoor space with plenty of armchairs to enjoy a drink or an afternoon nap. For more adventurous visitors, borrow one of our bikes, grab yourself a map and explore our woodland trails and surrounding Hertfordshire countryside.