Stepping into this historic building provides a feast for the senses: there is the pleasing aroma of burning woodchips, easy-on-the-eye antique furnishings and the gentle tinkling of a piano to be enjoyed.
But it is for its horticultural efforts that this comely old manor is most renowned. Former owner William Robertson – who owned and ran the property between 1884 and 1995 - was regarded as one of the pre-eminent gardeners of his era, and his (green) fingerprints are to be seen on a jaunt round Gravetye’s grounds.
Particularly impressive is the property’s acre-large kitchen garden, which supplies Head Chef George Blogg – once of Le Champignon Sauvage and The Square – with a glut of princely produce.
Blogg’s immaculate preparations – Partridge with black pudding, Brussels, Savoy and quince; Glazed tart of pig’s cheek, roasted celeriac, pear sorbet and wild cress; Caramelised white chocolate mousse, variations of apple, muscavado and cinnamon – revel in Gravetye’s unique flora (both wild and cultivated) and perfectly echo the atmosphere of English quintessence which pervades.
Which isn’t to say the food is dull or antiquated; as Blogg proves himself to be a master of rejigging classic formulations - think Acorn crème brulee.
“Gravetye has always been very pioneering – through the garden, through the hotel… you can almost use that as an argument to not completely modernise but add a newer twist to the food,” Blogg explains.
Gravetye was AA’s Hotel of the Year in 2013/2014 and has 17 sumptuous bedrooms and suites – each named after a species of tree found on the estate.