The Sanctum on the Green at Cookham Dean is on old favourite of mine. It’s situated in the delightful village of Cookham Dean, not far from Cookham by the Thames where Stanley Spencer painted much of his best work and there is gallery to exhibit and honour this. The Sanctum is a modern boutique hotel off the common reflecting a trend started by Nick Jones of offering something different to the traditional English country house hotel by transferring metro chic to the countryside. I always stay in the suite which has a huge bath as well as smart bedroom comprising a queen-size bed, and contemporary furniture and fittings. Tina at reception greeted me like an old friend not because she wanted a good review, as in my last 6 vists I never reviewed, but because she is naturally warm.
I had also booked a room for Polly and her best friend Grace as a pre-Xmas treat. Polly, a foodie, wanted to try Luke Thomas’s much-vaunted cuisine in the restaurant that bears his name and the 20 year old chef is certainly making a name for himself. Polly asked if she could bring her best friend Grace, a delightful young woman, a former Samaritan, who has an online counselling business which is naturally stressful to run. I chose for supper a crab and avocado concoction which could have been mushy but was not as the favours blended and the crisp toast on which it was served complimented it. I fancied beef, but that had gone, so I chose duck breast with cherry sauce. This could have been more tender as I struggled to cut it. The girls had haddock and chips. It was very much a girlie evening which rather reinforced my faith in the nation’s youth. Both the girls were hard working, enterprising, fun loving and appreciative. It was also as pleasant as it is rare to see two people who get on so well.
Sadly in my mispent youth hotels like the Sanctum did not exist and as often as not we had to book in under assumed names in some drab mausoleum on the south coast. In my Kings Road days there were one or two into whose arms I would have melted after such a dinner and I do not suppose Daffers would have been alone in the six foot bath!!!! To compliment the hotel fully I would also say it would be a lovely venue for a wedding. There is an altar-like gazebo and a marquee. Not that my two young friends had marriage on their radar: they seemed far too committed to their businesses and enjoying themselves and do you know what, I quite envied them.