ENGLISH ENCHANTMENT

A clas­sic des­ti­na­tion never fails to de­light, es­pe­cially when new venues of­fer one sur­prise af­ter an­other, says Zara Zhuang

Prestige (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Eng­land has it all: re­gal aura, cul­tural her­itage, scenic land­scapes, culi­nary de­lights and more. The coun­try may be well toured, but there’s al­ways some­thing pop­ping up that keeps one go­ing back for more, whether it’s ex­plor­ing fresh sur­prises in Lon­don or ven­tur­ing through the bu­colic idyll of the sur­round­ing Home Coun­ties.

An un­likely lo­ca­tion for two of Great Britain and Ire­land’s five three­Miche­lin-starred restau­rants – The Fat Duck by He­ston Blu­men­thal and The Water­side Inn by Alain Roux – the vil­lage of Bray- on-thames in Berk­shire is the epit­ome of ex­cel­lence and re­laxed re­fine­ment. The area hosted an early fish­ing spot built by lo­cal monks in the Mid­dle Ages, and has been a re­treat of choice among mon­archs, aris­to­crats and the in­tel­li­gentsia for cen­turies.

The fish­ing haven built by the Duke of Marl­bor­ough in the early 18th cen­tury on the nar­row Mon­key Is­land in the River Thames is set to be opened as part of the Mon­key Is­land Es­tate, a lux­u­ri­ous hide­away by YTL Ho­tels. The nearly 3ha prop­erty com­prises Grade I-listed pav­il­ions, 27 guest rooms and three suites on the is­land, and six in­di­vid­ual res­i­dences in the vil­lage. With ren­o­va­tions led by New York- based Cham­pal­i­maud De­sign, the creative force be­hind other iconic YTL Ho­tels prop­er­ties such as The Gains­bor­ough Bath Spa and The Green Leaf Niseko Vil­lage, the decor re­flects mod­ern el­e­gance, time­less glam­our and a re­laxed coun­try­side spirit.

With more than its his­tory to rec­om­mend it­self, Mon­key Is­land Es­tate of­fers float­ing spas, with treat­ments con­ducted on the River Thames it­self, and mod­ern British cui­sine at The Mon­key Is­land Brasserie, led by Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Wil­liam Hem­ming, for­merly Head Chef at Simp­son’s in the Strand. The ex­quis­ite prop­erty also boasts views of the River Thames and is sur­rounded by man­i­cured gar­dens.

Set to open in Fe­bru­ary 2019, Mon­key Is­land Es­tate is part of the Small Lux­ury Ho­tels of the World col­lec­tion. With lo­ca­tions and prop­er­ties like this to ex­plore, a visit to Eng­land can never dis­ap­point.

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