I visited The Elvetham on a glorious summer afternoon in July. I met the Sales Manager Diana, and her colleague Michelle, Events Manager, as well as several other members of the planning team.
What really struck me was just how professional the whole outfit it is; the hotel is a great choice for those that require five star service including a fully stocked bar (it must be a weakness in my character that it comes first in the list!), staff on hand, catered meals, event planning/organisation, beautiful lawns and a bedroom that would pass in a London hotel – plus much more pleasant views
The Elvetham is a great bridge between the full-blown corporate hotel (hundreds of rooms and often faceless) and the smaller Landed Houses properties that operate on a ‘DIY basis’. It won’t be the cheapest option, and nor does it pretend to be, but with weddings from £99 per person* (plus an optional £4,000 exclusive-use supplement) and accommodation from £80 per room, it’s not extortionate either. The bar prices are also country pub-rates rather than easyJet-rates, to my great relief.
*Including wedding breakfast, half a bottle of wine, canapés, sparkling wine reception and other bits and pieces.
For those looking for private parties and reunions, it is possible to hire the full venue, or just one or more of the reception rooms, with the option of guests staying overnight. Entertainment can be organised from hot air balloons to clay pigeon shooting and there is a full fireworks licence. There are no last orders for overnight guests and the world can be put to rights (I checked) for as long as you please!
The rooms in the main house are immaculate and still traditional, without too much corporate interference. For corporate training (the real deal) there is the Court Building, which was converted from stables to function rooms when The Elvetham was owned by ICI as their management centre. Upstairs there are bedrooms which are perfectly comfortable but with the benefit of peace & privacy from the main house. When I visited there was a leadership training course for a global bank, and it’s good to see the venue can cater for large corporate clients.
I try to give my honest opinion in these pieces, without copying and pasting from a brochure. Some will want the pleasure (though it comes with stress!) of organising their party or wedding at a totally private location on a tight budget, and will opt for somewhere further afield with less accommodation ‘on site’. For those that want an easier life but with ample control, not too far from London and without the need to hire a separate wedding/party planner, The Elvetham is a great choice. At the very least have a look around, I came away greatly relieved that despite the house’s size it is still personal with a human rather than corporate touch. Many members of staff have been there for over 20 years, which is a great testimonial to their knowledge and professionalism. You will be well looked-after!