Hurley, England

Photo: Hurley House

It feels like all you did was eat this weekend. Every time you turned around, there was another delicious smell, bite, or sip to tempt you. You didn’t want to come across as ungrateful or, even worse, rude, so you let yourself be continuously wined and dined. The sad part is that you barely left your hotel.

It started on Friday night with a late arrival. A sudden downpour, a delayed train, and a long wait for a taxi made you grumpy. Your foul mood began to soften as soon as you stepped inside the rustic-chic Hurley House Hotel, though. The hotel perfectly combined its country setting with elegant decor. Fresh flowers were waiting in your spacious room. It featured exposed wood beams, heated floors, and a leather armchair that kept beckoning you to just sit down. Another beckoner, the freestanding tub, stared at you from the bathroom. While French doors opened to your private patio. Calmness washed over you.

Since the pub was still open, you didn’t linger in your room. Bar bites, strong cocktails, and live music were waiting for you. The pub was also cozy. A granite bar, a wood-burning stove, and leather sofas stood atop flagstone floors. A guitarist in the corner was just returning from a set break. You ordered an Amaretto sour and started looking over the food menu. Goat’s cheese bonbons, bourbon-glazed chicken lollipops, and halloumi fries with addictive coriander sour cream quickly followed.

Photo: Hurley House

After your late-night snack, you didn’t need a big breakfast the next morning. A cup of strong coffee, some Greek yogurt, and perhaps a mini croissant would have made a great start to the day. But the guy next to you was eating Loch Duart smoked salmon with pillowy scrambled eggs. Breakfast suddenly became a real meal.

You spent the rest of the day exploring three picturesque towns—Hurley, Windsor, and Eton—in Berkshire. They caused you to miss afternoon tea back at the hotel. That’s okay, you were more excited about drinks on the garden terrace anyway. The restaurant’s wine list was filled with bottles from independent vineyards. You started with a glass of sparkling wine. The peaceful setting, the cool breeze, and the setting sun conspired to convince you that you needed another.

Then there was dinner. The dining room was formal without being too stuffy with dark wood, exposed bricks, and green-leather booths. Rows of wine bottles and oversized hurricane lamps lined the walls. Plus local, seasonal ingredients filled the unquestionably British menu. Starters included Scottish scallops on a bed of green pea purée and duck liver parfait paired with pear chutney. Pan-roasted Gressingham duck breast and Champagne-battered Cornish cod were among the main options. While another parfait, this time rhubarb and custard, was a perfect summer dessert. So what’s the problem with eating all weekend?


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