Cliveden House will unfortunately always be associated with the Christine Keeler and John Profumo affair! The year was 1961 and it was a hot, sultry summer when Miss Keeler, the nineteen-year-old mistress of a possible Russian spy came into contact with the then Secretary of State John Profumo in the outdoor swimming pool. The Conservative Government was brought down three years later when the affair became common knowledge. Built originally as a hunting lodge by the roguish character George Villiers, during the reign of King Charles the second, high above the river Thames in beautiful Buckinghamshire he used it to entertain his multiple mistresses. After Villiers was killed in a duel the property was purchased by William Waldorf Astor in 1893. The American entrepreneur lavished money on the building and brought in furniture from France to deck out its rooms.
Now tastefully transformed into a five-star hotel with 375 acres of beautiful, tenderly created gardens. Complete with woodlands that are owned by the National Trust that can be visited all year round. The ornate rooms are furnished with original works of art and precious antiques that are blended effortlessly amongst the more practical heating systems. Discreet radiators with shining Copper Pipe Fittings are maintained and cleaned by a dedicated team who can obtain any necessary replacement parts from a company such as watkinspowis.co.uk/products/copper-pipe-fittings-and-press-systems. The luxurious king-sized beds are handmade, and the high ceilings are ornate, while gilt edged fireplaces give the rooms an eloquence and grandeur.
There is a discreetly hidden spa in the gardens, that houses the infamous swimming pool, behind a decorative brick wall that’s festooned with a bouquet of roses and lavender. Going back in time to the First World war, the first ever female Member of Parliament, Nancy Astor obtained the property, and it then became the focus of social parties, and a whirlwind of activities were held there. Even with her five children in tow the home was frequently visited by Royalty, politicians, and even famous actors such as Charlie Chaplin. The many photographs that were taken on the South Terrace tell a tale of international visitors and spectacular parties that were attended by the social elite of the time. The six-acre parterre that is integral to the Terrace is still part of the garden’s most interesting and spectacular feature.