The country house hotel, now so much a part of the tourist scene in Britain, scarcely existed when Peter Herbert opened the doors of this serene West Sussex Elizabethan house over 50 years ago. Under new ownership since February 2010, it's had a multi-milion pound refurbishment, and standards in every department remain unflaggingly high. Service consistently achieves the elusive aim of attentiveness without intrusion, while the ambitious food is about the best in the county. A recent visitor, who has known the hotel for 30 years, remained as impressed as ever: 'A sleek operation that doesn't compromise'. However, another commented on 'lots of wealthy-looking people in sunglasses and strange-looking jogging suits'.
  The pioneering gardener William Robinson lived in the house for half a century until his death in 1935. Great care is taken to maintain the various gardens he created; Robinson was also responsible for many features of the house as it is seen today - the mellow oak panelling and grand fireplaces in the calm, gracious sitting rooms, for example. Bedrooms - all immaculate - vary in size from the adequate to the enormous, and prices range accordingly. In January 2010, the hotel was taken over by Jeremy Hosking, a long time patron of the manor, and a multi-million pound refurbishment and revamp of Gravetye was completed in early 2011, to cement its place as one of the best country house hotels in Britain.