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REVIEW: FOXHILLS COUNTRY CLUB & RESORT

400 acres. 200 Weekly Activities. Three Golf Courses. Five Pools. One Perfect, Luxury Family Resort

As first impressions go, Foxhills Country Club and Resort takes some beating. We approach the luxury destination via a long, winding drive, skirting along the edge of one of the resort’s three, Championship golf courses until the roof of a vast, Victorian Manor House sneaks over the horizon.


Once owned by political heavyweight Charles Fox - from whom the resort takes its name - the stunning, Gothic revival house sits in the heart of a 400 acre estate, peppered with established woodlands and flower festooned, landscaped gardens.


While this could easily be a stereotypical, stuffy members' club, something is happening in this leafy Surrey enclave that could transform the way we view country clubs in the UK.

This is an inclusive, friendly resort that puts families front and centre, without sacrificing a single aspect of the luxury that a place of this calibre should exude.


The car park is as one would expect - a mint green Lamborghini sits opposite a McLaren on either side of the red carpet, leading to the grand reception entrance, while Range Rovers and Porsches are dotted throughout. Make no mistake, this is a club where members are well versed in the finer things in life. And we wouldn’t normally rock up to a place like this with two children under six, but Foxhills promises something a little different.


On arrival, we are met at reception, where doors open out to a terrace overlooking the 9-hole, Championship-standard Manor Course. Drinks and small plates are served in the Manor Lounge, which sits beside The Fox restaurant, which we’ll visit later. You can read our review of the dining experience HERE.

But it’s beyond a cluster of trees to the side of the manor house where Foxhills really comes into its own. We’re shown to our luxurious, boutique room, with high end gold, chocolate and emerald green furnishings and

Eco Boutique, organic toiletries.


It’s set in a small development of new buildings that hide a seemingly endless array of facilities, from 11 pristine tennis courts to swimming pools (there are five in total, with our room opening directly on to one, outdoor pool), a yoga cabin, two adventure playgrounds complete with zip lines, plus a gym and health spa with stunning, Zen garden and icy, self-cleaning plunge pool.

Foxhills hosts more than 200 weekly activities across its vast country estate. And there’s too much for us to explore in a single weekend, largely because our children are drawn immediately to one of the resort’s newest additions, the £7 million Pavilion - an extraordinary, purpose-built, family-friendly playground.

All too often, family-friendly means a supposed absence of sneering: “We won’t tut when your children are making noise.” But here at Foxhills, children are catered for in every sense of the word.


There is a packed schedule of children’s activities, from crafts, games, scavenger hunts and even mini ballet. The glorious, outdoor pool - a Godsend on a weekend like ours, when the temperature soars above 30 degrees - has an enclosed paddling area for non-swimmers; the locker rooms are kitted with baby enclosures, so that parents can shower without fear of an escape attempt; mini-sinks at child-height allow them to indulge their desire for independence; and toys and activities are to be found at every turn. There is even an OFSTED-registered crèche and babysitters for younger guests.


On the immaculate lawn outside the Pavilion, a mini-playground with racetrack and ride-on, vintage cars and tractors offers a place for children to let loose, and footballs are dotted across the lawn, ready to be kicked into a variety of goals.

Inside, parents follow their offspring as they excitedly dash into the resort’s soft play area, which encompasses two slides, an air-hockey table and a role play high street, themed around a veterinary surgery (with an assortment of stuffed animals to fuss over), a kitchen stacked with toy food and even a stage and dressing up box, which our daughter threw herself into with considerable gusto.


Flo’s, the Pavilion’s all-day diner, offers everything from burgers and salads to Mac ’n’ cheese, pastries, milkshakes and healthy smoothies, all of which can be eaten in the restaurant and terrace, or taken away to be enjoyed elsewhere on the resort or poolside. The children’s menu caters for even the fussiest of little eaters and they thoughtfully offer early, 11.30 kid lunches, knowing they have probably been awake since 5am. Our children delight in at least 400 Mr Whippy ice creams, carefully deliberating over marshmallow, chocolate sauce and sprinkle toppings.


If there’s any complaint to be made about the Pavlion’s endless facilities, it’s that we - like most of the other weary parents - are forced to endure soft play while the gentle splashing of that beautiful pool seems to taunt us through the window. We exchange feint smiles of solidarity, before meekly suggesting that “maybe we should go and see what’s outside?” We are largely ignored as they launch themselves back down the twisting slide.

Occasionally, a child submits and their parents jubilantly leave for the sunshine with a last, sympathetic nod to those left behind.


Eventually, it is our turn to exit the soft play - with a promise to return, of course - and we are able to experience the jewel in Foxhill’s crown: The heated, outdoor swimming pool.


Enclosed on all four sides by the Pavilion and garden walls, the pool area has the feel of a Hampton’s house party, with music playing from the horse-box bar and a barbecue gently smoking on the lawn by a row of trees that separate the pool from the tennis courts.

Pool toys are bounced around from family to family - we have no idea if they’re provided by the resort or just willingly shared by members and their children, but it helps the afternoon to drift by in a wonderfully relaxed manner and buys time for the parents to enjoy an ice cold, Aperol Spritz or two in the sunshine.


The beauty of an overnight stay at Foxhills is the opportunity to get up and at ‘em bright and early, which is exactly what we do, having pre-booked an Aqua Tales session - an immersive, story-telling service that takes place in the Pavilion’s beautiful, heated indoor pool.


We enjoyed breakfast, from the heaving table of beautifully presented yoghurts, pastries, cereals and fruit and the buffet-style bacon, sausages, fluffy, cloud-light scrambled egg, beans, tomatoes and hash browns. There are also breakfast options available to order. Such a generous breakfast is probably ill-advised before sliding into the water, but the children joyfully splash through three, aqua-themed books about dolphins, crocodiles and mermaids in the warm water.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Foxhills is the way it seamlessly mixes luxury activities with the presence of kids in a way that impacts neither. As the children chase each other across the Pavilion’s green between mouthfuls of pasta in Flo’s, small groups of players tee off on the glorious Longcross - consistently voted among the country’s 100 best golf courses. Close enough to hear the sharp thwack of a well-hit drive, but far enough away that our children don’t seem to bother the golfers.


And it’s this clever design throughout that makes Foxhills the perfect example of relaxed luxury. It’s possible to enjoy ‘adult activities’ - golf, yoga classes, a spot of afternoon cocktail-drinking - in the knowledge that the children are happy and safe.

And the focus on families means that their presence is never a problem, for the staff or fellow guests. One man generously gives up his towel when he sees our son shivering as he leaves the pool; an older couple lean over at dinner not to berate us for our children’s ‘excitement’, but to let us know that they have grandchildren of their own and love to see them playing.


But while our experience has been (almost) entirely focused on our kids, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a daycare resort - there are plenty present whose experience is that of a luxury, members' club.


A group of young girls in their twenties take up an area by the pool, drinking cocktails in the sunshine as if they are at a St. Tropez beach club; couples read books on sun loungers and some take advantage of the swimmer’s lane in the pool, where they breastroke their way through the afternoon. Inside, solo visitors kick back and read The Economist on the deep, leather sofas beside the reception desk.

And that’s in the Pavilion alone - elsewhere, quieter pools offer a chance for serenity away from children and an entire golf complex consisting of a clubhouse, club shop, the bistro-style, Nineteen restaurant and a health spa, provide a more traditional, golf-club feel.


It’s easy to see why it’s bursting at the seams with awards, including Best for Families in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2023. And the only downside is the painful thud back to Earth, when you return home.


Foxhills Club & Resort, Stonehill Rd, Ottershaw, Lyne, Chertsey KT16 0EL


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