In 1984 Raymond Blanc fulfilled a personal vision, creating the hotel and restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, which is now synonymous with all that is finest in dining and hospitality, offering an indulgent, yet joyfully informal setting to savour gourmet cuisine and relax in charming, stylish surroundings.
Since opening, Belmond Le Manoir has achieved the highest awards and accolades of any restaurant and country house hotel in Great Britain and is regarded as one of the very best in Europe. The menus at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons have been described as ‘a twist of imaginative genius’ and constantly evolve through reflection, desire and curiosity as Raymond and his team search for the finest ingredients. The quality of the food stems from the freshness and purity of its ingredients. The two-acre kitchen garden produces 90 types of vegetables and over 70 varieties of herbs, which are used in Belmond Le Manoir’s kitchen.
The gardens are as much a part of the excellence of Belmond Le Manoir as the food, service and warm welcome extended to all guests. In the words of Raymond, the garden is ‘an integral part of Belmond Le Manoir’s culinary and aesthetic experience, supplying the restaurant with its daily needs for eight months of the year, as well as providing a sensual pleasure for our guests’.
The kitchen garden is magnificent. In 2006, a new dimension was added in the form of a Malaysian Garden. This exciting project is the culmination of years of experimentation by Raymond and trips to South East Asia that led first to the creation of a silver-medal-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2005 and now to the rows of exotic produce that lie at the heart of the raised beds of the kitchen garden.
Guests will have a different, yet equally luxurious experience each time they stay in one of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ 32 rooms and suites. With names that draw on the senses, each of the suites has been lovingly designed, creating individual and unique spaces.
In 2010, Raymond worked closely with good friend and respected interior designer Emily Todhunter to transform the ambience at Belmond Le Manoir, converting four deluxe bedrooms into four unique superior suites. Each room encapsulates the global influences that have inspired Raymond and are also reflected in his cooking, the gardens and the art and design at the hotel. The rooms are ‘Blanc de Blanc’, with access to a private garden; the intimate boudoir ‘Lace’; the serene ‘L’Orangerie’, and the Eastern inspired ‘Jade’. The other rooms and suites at Belmond Le Manoir range from Superior Rooms such as Bluebell and Orchid, embracing the subtle colours of their respective flowers, to the bright and contemporary suites such as Anais, Lavande and Lalique.
In addition, guests of Belmond Le Manoir can take part in a course at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School – one of the only ‘schools’ in the world to offer visitors the chance to watch, learn and practise in the kitchens of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Budding chefs can learn the tricks of the trade from some of the world’s culinary experts in the luxurious yet highly functional Cookery School. Courses are both residential and non-residential, so students can indulge and unwind in one of the luxurious bedrooms in the hotel and feast on the hotel’s renowned cuisine either as inspiration for the coming day, or as a treat following an exciting and eventful day at the Cookery School.
Courses include Maman Blanc, dedicated to spreading Maman Blanc’s philosophy on simple, rustic food; Blanc Vite, based on Raymond’s book which aims to provide skills and techniques to create fast, simple, seasonal dishes, and Seasonal Dinner Party, which teaches students to entertain guests with minimal effort and maximum effect.
All that is required to attend the Cookery School is a passion for food and the desire to have fun preparing it. Under the expert guidance of Mark Peregrine (Cookery School head tutor, who worked with Raymond to win the first Michelin star over 30 years ago) students are given a hands-on opportunity to develop their culinary skills in a practical and fun environment.
For further information, visit www.belmond.com/lemanoir