The Lensbury: A Resort on our Doorstep – If you’ve lived in the Teddington/Kingston/Twickenham area for any length of time, you’ll have heard of The Lensbury. It’s that massive building beside the Thames, just along from The Anglers in Teddington. It’s a sports club; one that’s rather exclusive but offers an amazing range of facilities to members. Established in 1920, as the sports and social club for employees of Shell, the current clubhouse was completed in 1938. Shell added a conference centre later, and this facility exists still – now open to all. The march of time led Shell to divest itself of this overhead, and it became a private sports club for the local community. In the early 2000s, it had significant investment in the facilities, bedrooms, and grounds, to form The Lensbury as we know it today. London & Regional Hotels acquired it a couple of years ago and made a further £1 million investment in improving the gym and studio facilities.
But did you know that anyone can book to stay at The Lensbury Resort (as it is now called)? I certainly didn’t, but recently went to check it out: I was delighted to discover that we have, right on our doorstep, a fabulous hotel, complete with sports and leisure facilities, glorious grounds alongside the River Thames, and a luxury spa!
The Lensbury has over 150 guest bedrooms, offering everything one would expect from a luxury hotel. Our room was large and luxurious, overlooking the gardens, and while perhaps a tad corporate in design, was certainly top notch.
There’s a lovely atmosphere at The Lensbury – one that reminded us of an American country club. It was obvious that there’s also a big social element to Lensbury membership.
We enjoyed our dinner – the service is exemplary, and the staff are not only very professional but charming. The menu in the Club Lounge is pretty extensive and offers everything from sandwiches and light bites (from £4) to a 10oz sirloin steak at £25. There is also a curry of the week at £14, which, judging by the ones we saw being served at other tables, looked excellent. There’s a well-constructed and sensibly priced wine list, also offering some fine wines for those wanting to splash out.
We started with a couple of ‘small plates & nibbles’ – chargrilled halloumi and crispy squid rings (£6 a portion). The portions were a tad on the mean side but were tasty and didn’t spoil our appetites for our main course. My husband enjoyed a steak, and I opted for the lamb rump, both of which were delicious. I couldn’t resist a ‘dessert of the day’ – a ginger cheesecake – which was amazing! My husband chose the sticky toffee pudding, which was declared excellent. Desserts are very reasonably priced – from £5. This menu is, of course, available to all hotel guests too.
Breakfast was equally good, with an extensive hot buffet and again, impeccable service. There were lots of members enjoying breakfast, and meeting friends for coffee after a sports session or one of the on-site fitness classes. Members also enjoy a dedicated co-working space, plus a range of children’s facilities, holiday camps, and a creche.
There’s a fabulous indoor pool (with saunas and steam room) and state-of-the-art gym, just a short stroll from the main building. The main building also has a relaxing spa, in conjunction with Elemis, offering a full range of beauty treatments. In the morning I enjoyed a wonderful facial and made a note to return later for some more treatments – as the beauty spa is open to non-residents.
This is a point I’m keen to make: we have a luxury resort on our doorstep. One that many people aren’t aware of, and one that’s the perfect venue for a local ‘staycation’. It’s also a popular wedding and party venue (again this facility is available to non-members). There are water sports facilities (including motorboat hire) and for anyone keen on racquet sports, there are 24 courts available!
The Lensbury has several special offers and seasonal packages for anyone wanting to book a stay – check out the website here. Standard B&B is from £145 per room per night and dinner B&B from £195. Overnight guests enjoy full access to the hotel’s leisure facilities, including complimentary use of the tennis and squash courts (subject to availability), gym and pool. In warmer weather, kayaks can be hired at an hourly rate, as well as a motorboat. And if you’re interested in membership, the club is currently open to new members, so you should contact the club on 020 8614 6420 to arrange a tour and find out about joining fees and membership costs.