If you’re ready to fill all the clichés of a middle-class Londoner, we’ve found just the spot for you. Soho House Group has opened up a pop-up in Windsor. Perched on the River Thames, this new venue sits inside Oakley Court, a Victorian Gothic hotel with 35 acres of gardens. You can spend the weekends here sipping on cocktails in safari-style tents and lounging on stripy sun loungers, talking about where to buy the best avocados, and how you’ll probably pop into Daylesford on the way home for an overpriced olive oil infused with herbs and nuggets of gold.
However, if you can’t find a Soho House member to get you in, you can book into one of Oakley Court’s 118 bedrooms and enjoy the riverside restaurant, terrace bars with fire pits, tennis courts and alfresco dining (basically, a very similar experience).
What is the Summer River House?
The Summer River House is part of the Soho House Group’s expanding venture, which also includes another outer London retreat, the Instagrammable Soho Farmhouse, as well as a whole host of international destinations such as Mumbai, Miami, Barcelona, and Istanbul. It’s labelled as a pop-up for now, but there are rumours it might end up being permanent.
How can I get in?
It’s members only… so it’s time you started schmoozing those people from work that you avoid speaking to. Yes, the ones who always order spiced chai lattes. Because if you can’t get in on their membership, you’re very unlikely to get membership now. Normally you have to be recommended by two other members, but applications are currently on hold and there’s a waiting list of over a year to join…
You're allowed to bring up to three guests. But you're not allowed to bring your laptop. This club is strictly for relaxation purposes.
Once you’re in though… it’s lovely! Separated from the main hotel grounds, Soho House have created a lovely area that you reach by strolling through a walled kitchen garden. You’ll find the main club area which is an impressive tented structure that serves food and drink, and is slightly how you’d imagine a colonial picnic to look. Later in the summer there will be DJs, art installations and live music – just to give it that creative edge that Soho House love.
There are lots of picturesque al fresco spots for secret tete-a-tetes, and rows of double sun loungers overlooking the lake in case you fancy getting down to your bikini in front of everyone. And there are also cute little bits of decking with tables and chairs and parasols.
What’s the vibe?
It is one of the more relaxed Soho Houses, and as it’s fairly new, word of mouth hasn’t quite pulled everyone in yet. But the decor is spot on, with parasols, antiques mixed with modern furniture, leather-bound books, lamps, flowers, foliage… it’s beautiful. And it’s all open to the elements for the summer, which means it does a great job at being Covid friendly.
You’re not supposed to take photos inside, as is the rule across all Soho Houses, but people simply can’t resist (which is why we have some great shots to share from Insta).
What’s on the menu?
You can fest on burgers, salads and delicious wood-fired pizzas, with spicy salami, black truffle and buffalo mozzarella as the toppings. There also little food trucks offering up some mouth-watering delights, as well as all the Soho House cocktail favourites, including the Picante, a mixture of chilli pepper, coriander, reposado tequila, agave nectar and fresh lime juice. The perfect summer drink.
Do I need to book?
If you’re a member you don’t need to book during the week. Just rock up with your designer shades and a self-help book and you’ll fit right in. When it comes to the weekend though, make sure to reserve a space.
You’re allowed to bring up to three guests. But you’re not allowed to bring your laptop. This club is strictly for relaxation purposes. What’s more, if you’re a member you can even register for a 15% discount at Oakley Court so you’re experience can last even longer.
With the summer days rolling in, Summer River House is definitely a good spot to relax. And you can make a day of it in Windsor. Head to Windsor Great Park for a walk, do some wild water swimming, or tour the shops in the town. You might even find that gold-infused olive oil you were looking for.