Developer behind The Curtain gets the go ahead for restoration of Grotto Estate in Berkshire


The historic Grotto Estate in Berkshire is to be restored after developers received planning consent for a new hotel, members club, F&B dining facilities, lodges and a leisure retreat.

The Grade-II listed house, situated in 3.4 hectares of grounds, will be reconstructed into a high-end destination with a 53-bedroom hotel with a restaurant and bars, six new two-bedroom detached lodges and the replacement of several dilapidated outbuildings to create new leisure facilities.

After getting the green light for the project, SUSD, the developer behind The Curtain Hotel and Devonshire Club in London, will now begin work on the building on the banks of the Thames near Pangbourne.

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In the grounds, the tennis courts will be refurbished, the boathouse will be reinstated, a 20th century studio building will be replaced by a two-storey spa and gym with outdoor pool and a ‘coach house’ extension will be built, linked to the original building by a glazed walkway, to accommodate 19 of the bedrooms.

“The reinstatement of the Grotto Estate as a luxurious country retreat will demand close attention to detail, careful selection of materials and an observance of traditional detailing and construction methods,” says Harry Harris, founder of SUSD.

The development will also include a kitchen garden and individually customised spa treatments, plus an emphasis on technology with room control apps for guests’ smart phones, biometric security and 3D hologram conference calling.

Harris concludes: “Just as we did with both Devonshire Club and The Curtain, we are curating spaces and services at The Grotto that will foster an experience relevant to the location and provide members with everything they need – from rooms, restaurant, bar, gym and spa, to cultural programmes, garden walks and riverside retreats. We create destinations to match how people like to live their lives today, in the process revitalising buildings and sites that might not stack up as a standalone hotel or leisure venue.”

The Grotto Estate was originally created as a riverside retreat for Lady Fane in the early 18th century.

Capability Brown is thought to have advised on the original design of the landscape.

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Zoe Monk

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