This weekend Grenson and I went on our first mini break together.
To any of you who also follow my better half, and Grenson’s ‘mum’, En Brogue, you’ll be aware that she is part of the fashion crowd. As a result, at this time of year she can be found galavanting around glamorous cities of the world looking at very skinny ladies in very expensive dresses.
Well quite frankly Grenson and I decided that it wasn’t fair that she was having all of the fun, and so I logged on to the Mr and Mrs Smith website (only the best for Grenson and I) searching for doggy friendly accommodation. Very quickly we settled upon the Crown Hotel in Amersham. It can be found just outside the M25, off junction 2 of the M40, so not far for us to travel from London. It also seemed to have plenty of nice looking walks around the town for Grenson to get suitably muddy. So we were off!
Unfortunately, in a rash moment I decided to trust the sat-nav. This resulted in us spending over 2 hours stuck in central London traffic. Looking more closely at the hotel info I noticed that I could have easily avoided this by getting the tube! Amersham is apparently at the end of the Metropolitan line (who knew?!). However, upon finally arriving in town I find this fact very hard to believe. This is by no means a Metropolis! Oh no. This is a place where my wellies were going to get a good work out. This was countryside, and this was exactly what we were looking for.
The dog friendly credentials of the hotel were confirmed upon check-in, as the staff took it in turns to coo and fuss over Grenson. Unfortunately, Grenson has recently taken to replying to any attention from strangers with a bum in the air posture that is meant to signify that he suggests that a game of jumping on each others heads should follow immediately. If the subtle mime doesn’t work, he reinforces his request for head wrestling vocally with a series of loud barks and snarls.
Having dragged him away and up the stairs to our room, his excitement levels grew as he investigated every corner of his new abode. I claim that it was only Grenson who was acting in this excitable way but lets be honest, who doesn’t immediately race around a new hotel room checking out the quality of bathroom products and assessing the merits of the tea and coffee making facilities? This room did not disappoint either of us.
The White Company toiletries, a complimentary bottle of red wine (and crisps), books helpfully placed next to the bed, and my personal favourite, proper filter tea and coffee. Oh yes, this would do Grenson and I perfectly.
Alas, this was only a mini break, with the emphasis on mini. If we wanted to fit in the walk I had planned then there was no time for settling in the room. Much as I would have liked to have opened the wine and one of those books, it was time to get paws and wellies muddy.
The walk I had settled on was from Amersham to Little Missenden and back. It ticked all of the boxes. At the half way point there was a pub for much needed pint and packet of scratchings, Grenson got to feel tough by winning a stand off with a field of horses (the horses didn’t even notice that he was there but don’t let him know that!), and he found a field full of goose poo a most exciting experience for his nasal senses (and, I fear, also for his oral senses on a couple of occasions when I wasn’t looking).
My favourite part of the walk was walking by Sharloes House. Not for any architectural feature in particular, but because it was designed in 1766 by a fellow named Stiff Leadbetter. If you know anyone with a more rock and roll name than that then you know some very rock and roll people!
When returning to our room, the amusement I felt from booking a hotel for me and my dog through such a quality website such as Mr and Mrs Smith was enhanced by the fact that we then received our complimentary gift for booking through their site. A bottle of champagne on ice.
Sadly Grenson is more of a prosecco fan, so I had to drink the majority of it myself.
One slight negative to our stay is the fact that if you want to dine with your dog then you have to eat in the bar, as whilst the hotel is in general dog friendly, it still doesn’t allow dogs in the restaurant. Personally I think that’s fair enough as the bar serves the same dishes, but you can begin to feel a little forgotten at times.
It’s a small negative. My meal, washed down with a few pints of Adnams, was very nice, and Grenson and I retired to our room feeling satisfied and more than a little exhausted.
After a very pleasant nights sleep for both of us we rose ready for probably my favourite part of any hotel stay. Breakfast. This again did not disappoint.
Not too big, and a bit of black pudding. Positives in my book. Beans in a pot I’m not so keen on, and I wouldn’t have minded some toast to arrive with breakfast rather than having to use one of those weird contraptions on the buffet table to toast your own. But ultimately, I think you’ll agree that those slight negatives are more than outweighed with that aesthetically pleasing teapot!
Yes, on the whole our first mini break was a roaring success. I think we both enjoyed it very much. I’m sure we’ll be back soon with En Brogue to check out a few more of the dog friendly establishments around this lovely town. After all, who needs Milan when you’ve got Amersham??
The Man and the Dog.