“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Originally from Croydon, in South London, Sir Peter now spends much of his time on the Michael family estate in the Berkshire countryside. In 1996, he purchased the local Foley Lodge hotel and, after extensive refurbishments, opened to guests in March 1998 as the Vineyard Hotel, welcoming visitors to “a restaurant with rooms.”

Featuring thirty thousand bottles in its cellars, with three thousand references and over fifty wines by the glass, the Vineyard is one of the United Kingdom’s most highly acclaimed wine destinations. Its cellars are cultivated by Romain Bourger, who won the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year award in 2019.

The wine cellar, curated by top UK sommelier Romain Bourger, captivates the attention of guests upon arrival. A massive soil profile of Les Pavots vineyard, is displayed below a glass floor.

Romain curates a wine menu that highlights the diversity of California’s vineyards alongside eclectic wines that illuminate a particular country or region, a notable grape variety, or a distinct style or winemaking method. His comprehensive list is designed to appeal to all wine drinkers from beginners to connoisseurs, with a balance between younger and older bottles, between the classic and the contemporary, and between the peculiar and the wonderful.

Chef Tom Scade delicately plates each course—presented as a piece of art.

While the Vineyard Hotel’s core offering is this astounding wine program, its restaurant too has always been exemplary, driven by a series of outstanding chefs de cuisine. Acclaimed chef Billy Reid was instrumental in the hotel earning its first Michelin star, which was awarded in 2000. In 2002, John Campbell took over as executive chef, securing the restaurant’s global reputation and earning it a second Michelin star in 2007. In 2009, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche came on board to craft a menu of classic French-style cooking. Today, executive chef Tom Scade—most recently sous-chef at the Ritz in London—creates contemporary versions of traditional British dishes.

“The collection conjures up the spirit of a pioneering time in art, an era of experimentation when the atmosphere of a piece was often more important than any realistic depiction of a scene.”

The menu features local and seasonal cuisine, paired with a global list of wines.

After the wine and food, no Vineyard Hotel experience would be complete without a viewing of the art that adorns the hotel’s hallways and suites for the enjoyment of visitors and guests alike.

At first glance, the eclectic collection might seem to be a disparate selection of works from the Michael family’s collection. On further examination, what they have in common is an immediate and overwhelming sense of atmosphere, an overarching air of tranquility and light—and sometimes of nostalgia. The pieces illustrate a plethora of differing influences, from the radical artists of fin de siècle impressionism and the postimpressionist era. Above all, the collection conjures up the spirit of a pioneering time in art, an era of experimentation when the atmosphere of a piece was often more important than any realistic depiction of a scene. Once controversial, today these art styles are widely seen as not just acceptable, but uniquely beautiful.

Art, food, and wine are creatively integrated throughout the hotel.

The Vineyard Hotel’s collection features paintings by three eminent masters of the French impressionist movement—Degas, Pissarro, and Sisley—and two of the English school, Clausen and Steer. All of these artists made a lasting impression on the British art world, in part due to association with both the artist Alphonse Legros and French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. Other artists represented in the collection speak to this turn-of-the-century theme with atmospheric canvases in both impressionist and various postimpressionist styles, culminating in modernism with Henry Moore’s working model for his seminal 1960s sculpture, Locking Piece.

Henri Martin (1860–1943), Bucolique, oil on canvas, 78⅝ x 127⅛ in (200 x 323 cm)

Sir George Clausen, R.A. (1852–1944), Harvest, Tying the Sheaves; signed and dated 1902; oil on canvas; 35 x 25 in (90 x 64 cm).

Like walking through a gallery, the collection of art decorates the walls, offering the name and titles of each piece.

Henri Martin (1860–1943), Les Fauchers, 1903, oil on canvas, 26 x 59¼ in (66 x 150 cm)

Anna Zinkeisen (1901–1976), Consuela Kennedy, 1937, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in (122 x 91 cm)

Sir George Clausen, R.A. (1852–1944), Noon in the Hayfield, oil on canvas, signed and dated I.I.: G Clausen, 1897–98, 46 x 33 in (117 x 84 cm)

Each suite showcases art: (left) Francois Gall (1912–1987), Jeune Fille se Poignant, and above the fireplace a piece by Zsuzsi Roboz (1929–2012)

Many of the paintings here depict man at one with the landscape and nature. Indeed, the title of Henri Martin’s Bucolique, currently on view in the restaurant, could be applied to many of the paintings—with their sense of nostalgia, of time gone by alongside an appreciation of the timelessness of the natural world and a romantic idyll of rural life. They are an optimistic group of paintings, entirely apt for this joyful place.

culpture featured: Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898–1986); Working Model for Locking Piece; cast in 1962, in an edition of nine; inscribed on the side of the base “Moore.” Bronze with a light green patina; height: 42 in (107 cm).