Danesfield House Hotel

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September, 2019

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Many people have seen Danesfield House as they drive down A4130 towards Henley or as they walk along the Thames Path. It is the bright white gothic style building perched on a bluff on the other (north) side of the River Thames that looks like a mansion that would belong to a multi-millionaire or a foreign prince. In fact that was how it started life, actually not as long ago as you would expect, given it was totally rebuilt early in the 20th century.

In the title it also says “Officers Mess?”. That is because at the start of WW2 it became one and remained so until the late 70s – and I used to live in it. I remember quirky rooms with hidden doors, sunny terraces overlooking the river, newly introduced 747s that didn’t have the power to climb out quickly enough and superperb summer balls (I won’t mention . The house left the RAF before me and had a couple of other roles before being converted into a quality hotel. I told the family about my time there and next birthday my wife and I were given a night stay as a present.

In many ways not much had changed. The rooms had been upgraded and were of a good 4 star standard, the well stocked bar was in the same place and the dining room had moved into the old ballroom. The gardens had been much improved and there was a nice spar, well equipped with helpful staff. The entrance from the road is a bit hidden on the hill down towards Medmenham village (Danesfield used to be RAF Medmenham, the villages other claim to fame is that it was the original site of the Hellfire Club). I think there are other restaurants locally that serve a better dinner but breakfast was very nice and overall we really enjoyed our stay.

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