Humphreys Best Country House Hotels: Phyllis Court

Humphreys Best Country House Hotels: Phyllis Court

Phyllis Court Club is a traditional private members club in the heart of Henley on Thames.

This elegant historic mansion is set in 18 acres of land with lawns sweeping down to the river. It was established as a club in 1906 and offers fabulous facilities for members and visitors. I’m lucky enough to live a short walk from it and it’s hard to imagine anywhere better to sip a G&T with friends in an evening, watching the sun set across the river.

As a local I don’t need to make use of their beautifully styled bedrooms, but our guests who have stayed here love the river views, superb service and elegant surroundings.

If you have read other pieces that I have written, you will know that I do love my history, and Phyllis Court has all sorts of stories to tell!

It has hosted a rather impressive list of royals over the years from Queen Anne in 1604, Edward V11 followed by King George and Queen Mary in 1912. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 visited the club in 1998.
On a slightly less regal note, Oliver Cromwell used the site of the club in 1643 as a garrison in the Civil War, and you can still see Cromwell’s Wall here today.
Many believe that the original manor house was named Fillets Court in the fourteenth century by the first landowner, John de Molyns, and the name came from the old name for a red rose, which was the nominal rent that he was paying – he was given special favours as he was Treasurer of the Kings Chamber and Keeper of the Royal Hawks and Falcons. The rose was incorporated into the club’s emblem is still used to this day

Phyllis Court Club was established on June 2nd 1906 by a young Australian called Roy Finlay, and when he took on the lease, his rather fabulous objective was to make it the ‘headquarters for social and sporting life on the river.’

It certainly fulfils that role today, so he was obviously a pretty astute chap.

The 1920’s were the heyday as the weekend resort for fashionable Londoners and with the Prince of Wales as its Patron the primary attractions were tennis, dancing and rowing. From personal experience, I can confirm that all 3 are still very much part of life for a Phyllis Court member and visitor.

Today, the club is a beautiful, thriving riverside club. Over the last 30 years the club and its membership has steadily grown. Phyllis Court in the twenty-first century offers a more diverse and active programme of events than ever before in its history. It is also the most lovely venue for lunch in The Orangery or dinner in The Dining Room.

The Phyllis Court Fitness Centre is a fantastic addition to the club and if you stay the night you can make full use of it’s fabulous facilities…from a relaxing massage to a super fast spinning class – the choice is yours.

The riverside pavilion has been recently redeveloped and offers a truly stunning venue for Henley Royal Regatta. The Pavilion overlooks the finishing line and gives guests an elevated view of the rowing action while enjoying the finest hospitality on the river.

So, as you can see, Finlays dream of a social and sporting headquarters has been wonderfully realised and it is so very appropriate that this elegant headquarters is in Henley, home to the ultimate river based social and sporting event of the year, Henley Royal Regatta.