Updated: Jun 30
Gifted stay at The Birch Community
Nothing pleases my heart more than a bit of vintage boho styling. Done well and there's something very special about its well-worn, non-conformist nature that gives it real soul. I get it's not everyone's bag; what I see as an aesthetic that has real depth, others might see as a bit shabby (you should see some of the DMs I get on Instagram about my own home!). But I love the very mismatched, curated, eclectic everything of it.
The Birch Hotel in Cheshunt is a perfect example of beautifully laidback boho chic. From the super comfy rattan sofas to the statement artwork, it was right up my street. Some rooms are dark and moody, others are light and airy; each one boasting the kind of furniture I could have happily bundled into the back of a van.
Set on a 55-acre estate, Birch is housed in a striking heritage-listed mansion that dates back to 1763. Named Hotel of the Year 2020 by The Times, co-founders Chris King and Chris Penn decided that rather than stripping things out and starting again they would give new life to old spaces.
Working with architecture and design collective Red Deer, the bones have remained intact throughout. This means endless original features - grandiose fireplaces, wooden floorboards, floor to ceiling windows and panelling - are very much celebrated (something else that pleases my heart!), blending perfectly with the more modern, quirky touches.
The idea of stripped-back elegance turns luxury on its head, the informality allowing guests to feel comfortable enough to put their feet up or walk through the reception areas without the need to wipe their feet first. Work by local artists and makers take centre stage, and are set against glorious pops of yellow and burnt orange to create a truly unique interior scheme.
Bedrooms at the Birch continue the paired-back feel - there's no TVs and tech; instead the calming spaces, decorated in simple white and pastel colour blocks, encourage you to chill. Each one features a bespoke valet stand created by designers Jan Hendzel and Charlotte Kidger, ceramicist Emma Louise Payne and metalsmith Lucie Naujalis. Anchored by colourful orb bases, they are crafted from waste plastic with sycamore and ash wood frames.
Things To Do At Birch Community
With a packed programme of events, you can sign up for a whole array of classes and workshops, including custard tart making, Pilates, hatha flow yoga and trying your hand at bread-making.
We opted for a two hour pottery class with Elizabeth Jackson - something we'd never had a go at before, but thankfully previous experience wasn't a pre-requisite. It was one of the most calming things I've done in a long time, creating mini "masterpieces" (yes, I use that term very loosely) using slab, pinch and coil techniques.
If there's a way to keep me quiet and happy, then this is it ... although if my mug is fit for purpose once it's glazed and fired will be an actual miracle!
My stay at The Birch Community in Cheshunt was gifted. You can find out more about the hotel and what's on over the summer here.