Crazy Bear is a gem of a hotel in the highly affluent area of Beaconsfield. I must admit that I didn’t have a clue where Beaconsfield was before this booking. One visit to Wikipedia later and I knew that both Enid Blyton and Barry Gibb have resided there. In short I was sold.
We arrived at the hotel around 4pm on a Friday and found there was a parking space six feet away from reception. We took the precaution of looking at pictures of the hotel on TripAdvisor and it’s just as well we did. Due to the listed nature of the building they cannot put any signs on the outside. The front is understated and stylish in a subdued grey, however behind the facade of this innocent looking hotel front lies a haven of old world decadence.
Our first port of call was reception, where we were immediately handed flutes of bubbly and made to feel very welcome. Upon checking-in, we headed into the hotel itself. The minute you walk through the main door the overwhelming impression is plush. Everything is incredibly plush. Before I began this sentence I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word plush before, but there it is… plush. I feel like I’ve wondered into the slinkiest saloon in the old West but with better mannered staff and no chance of pistol-related peril.
Next we go through a semi-hidden door to a staircase that is carpeted with black velvet and illuminated from the floor all the way up the stairs. Our suite is the first one we come to and likewise the door was replete with black velvet and a massive brass doorbell handle. What we find inside is nothing short of spectacular. The bedroom is massive, all decked out in black and gold, with a giant copper bathtub at the foot of the bed. At this point the girl who showed us up to the room explained how the television worked but I was so taken aback by the sight of the place that as soon as she left I had to unplug the set at the wall because I couldn’t work the remote control.
This is the sexiest room I have ever been in. There is a small table by the door with champagne on ice that basically says ‘this room means sexy business!’. Along with the copper bath, the massive golden bed, the chilled champagne, it’s like an instant honeymoon without the inconvenience of a wedding. Some advanced level of erotic feng shui has occured here.To quote Chandler Bing, “the room expects sex.” Did I mention that the bath fills from the ceiling? Well, it does and as if that’s not impressive enough it doesn’t splash on the bed next to it.
Though slightly dark, even in daylight, I find this adds to the allure of the room, just don’t drop any death metal band T-shirts on the floor or you’ll never see them again. There was a local Beaconsfield guidebook on the coffee table, I didn’t look at it but I imagine it just says “don’t be stupid, nothing to see here, stay in your room and get up to some lusty adventures.”
More surprises were in store as we entered the bathroom. Initially unassuming without any lights on, but as soon as you enter, sensors suddenly illuminate what is the bathroom to end all bathrooms. The room is entirely mirrored and the size of your average living room. Two matching copper sinks adorn the one wall and opposite is the finest shower I have ever seen. You could shower five (very friendly) people at once in here.
The only odd feature of the bathroom is the matching toilets that are positioned side by side. I like to think of them as love toilets, for use when you are so smitten that you can’t bear to stop holding hands for even a second. This was all rounded off with some top-notch toiletries and more mirrors than I ever thought possible. I will explain shortly how wrong I was. In short: Best. Bathroom. Ever.
We had dinner reservations at 7.30 but went down early to experience the cocktail bar and poolside area. The array of drinks on display is impressive and the cocktail menu all looks delicious. As a huge whiskey fan I was well looked after with many Scotches and bourbons on offer, including a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old bourbon. At £54.95 for a double (they ‘don’t do’ singles) it was not for me that night so I stuck to a gorgeous 21 year Balvenie. My wife found the nicest cocktail she has ever tried, the accurately named Nuts and Berries. It was like dessert in a martini glass. The bar staff are amazingly professional, knocking up alcoholic wonders with style, making Tom Cruise look like Michael from Only Fools And Horses.
As is often the way when drinking spirits I soon needed the little boy’s room and was told they were downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs I was presented with two doors, one with a red handle and the other a gold handle. No markings indicating gender, just coloured handles. I chose correctly just by chance (for the record, red is for boys) and I entered the most insane toilets I have ever seen. The entire room was mirrored on every single surface. Everywhere you look you see yourself repeating off into infinity. It’s like peeing inside the film Inception.
Our table was ready and we were seated by a very polite and well-dressed waiter. The wine list was good and varied, though we stuck to water throughout the meal to save room for more awesome cocktail shenanigans. The first course of the seven-course signature menu arrived, Virgin Mary shooters. I was not looking forward to this as I had tried Virgin Marys before and found them abhorrent. I couldn’t have been more wrong, they were an umami delight. Next was a divine Gloucestershire Old Spot ham hock and pea puree followed by smoked salmon and summer fruit salsa. A palate cleansing Yuzu sorbet followed (that’s a Japanese citrus fruit – my wife once had a bath bomb scented with it so we felt smugly educated), this paved the way for the main course, a fantastic chargrilled rump of lamb with a Badger face croquette. I am sure no actual badgers went into this dish but it was so tasty, I would have turned a blind eye.
The dessert was a dish that I have never liked before, a chocolate mint semi freddo. I gave it a go expecting to palm it off to Mrs John after one bite. Imagine my surprise (and my wife’s utter disappointment) when it was one of the nicest ice cream dishes I have eaten in the UK. The last course was Brie with a quince jelly, which I love anyway. All in all I would put this on par with any meal I have ever eaten at this price. A fine feast for the senses. It takes something to change your opinion on dishes you don’t like.
Next up we had more cocktails and whiskey in the bar with some quality people watching. Before I was drunk enough to order a Van Winkle we hastily made our way back to our room, quite tipsy and full. Copper bath/champagne related antics ensued and a solemn vow that we will return as soon as we can for more debauched decadence. This is not a cheap hotel by any means but you will often find deals online. It’s worth every penny though and I would rate it as one of the best romantic experiences you could treat your better half to in the country. Go stay there and tell me I’m wrong. The glint in your eye will give you away.