Read our expert review of the newly renovated The Great House, Sonning.With an Italian-inspired menu and colourful decked out modern rooms, this grade II-listed former Elizabethan coaching inn is a great escape from fast paced London.
The newly renovated Great House at Sonning is just 30 minutes from London, but feels a million miles away. With views of willows weeping over the Thames it feels almost as if Toad of Toad Hall might come zooming past in his motorcar, peeping his horn.
A grade II-listed former Elizabethan coaching inn, The Great House at Sonning is owned by Sinclair Beecham, of Hoxton Hotels, and Hugh Osmond, of Strada, a clever confluence of brands that has resulted in a 49-bedroom hotel with a stand-alone restaurant – in this case a relaxed, country outpost of London’s Coppa Clubs.
The restaurant is friendly and open, and was busy and buzzing when we visited on a rainy Tuesday evening. If the sun’s a-shining book a table on the lovely covered terrace to make the most of those views over the Thames. If not, do as we did and opt for a cosy booth inside.
The food is Italian-inspired, but with an extensive grill section, too. We opted for a few sunshine-packed dishes to try and convince ourselves it wasn’t pouring outside.
Highlights included the seared king prawns coated in parsley, garlic and chilli, a real lip-smacking way to start the meal (the finger bowl was definitely needed!), and a dish of sustainably caught hake with romesco sauce and summer greens, the latter paired well with a glass of viognier – an excellent recommendation from our waiter.
This isn’t trend led, fine dining food, but it is tasty, reasonably priced and comes with excellent service in a really lovely setting.
Having reopened in late spring after an extensive refurb, the attention to detail in our modern-styled room was impressive. Colourful but calm, it was decked out in eggshell blue with a Roberts digital radio, lamp, leather bedroom bench and fridge in complete colour coordination with the walls.
The fridge contained nothing but two chilled glasses and a complimentary bottle of water – plenty of room for our own supplies!
Guests are also welcomed with a bag of cola cubes and local Royal Berkshire cider, perfect pre-dinner nibbles and aperitifs before heading downstairs for dinner.
As well as a ‘good to know’ factsheet in every room, there’s also a ‘Plan B box’ including a helpful list of things you can borrow from reception if you forgot to pack them – like an iPhone charger, in my case.
Bathrooms are also enormous, with his ‘n’ her sinks, a huge rain shower and, in our case, a deep bath with a view out over the river. Lush.
Breakfast is a relaxed affair here, with a range of juices, well-made coffees and a wide range of food choices. The classics are there, but with slight twists; the ‘skillet breakfast’ is a take on a full English but includes Spanish black pudding.
Other interesting items include summer berry waffles and a quinoa, almond, alfalfa, citrus fruit and spinach “super bowl”.
Double rooms start from £60, room-only greathouseatsonning.co.uk
Check out our full review of Sonning-on-thames here
Words | Adam Bush
Photographs | Coppa Club, The Great House at Sonning, Adam Bush