Revel in wonderful Westbury Hall
Intimate. Charming. Picturesque.
Westbury Hall at The Williamsburg Winery shares those qualities with its namesake, the village of Westbury in southwest England.
The three-level converted warehouse opens into a multipurpose space on the main floor perfect for hosting a wedding. Upon entry, the eye easily finds the sweeping oak staircase, designed with a bride in mind. The landing with the shield of Westbury as a backdrop makes for a marvelous moment to pause and snap a keepsake photo.
“It allows for a dramatic walking down the stairs,” says Patrick Duffeler, founder of The Williamsburg Winery
An upstairs bridal suite painted a warm coral color welcomes the bride and her party to tend to the final details. Patrick’s wife, Francoise, chose the inviting palette.
But Westbury Hall is suitable for more than weddings.
Businessmen and -women will feel at home here, too. The White Horse Meeting Room offers space beyond the typical corporate board room starting with the atypical conference table. Six separate tables made from exotic Indonesian wood form one large rectangular table; a projection screen can be raised or lowered depending on needs. Engravings that date to the 18th century, each hand selected by the Duffelers, are framed on the walls.
Who would not be stimulated sitting inside this space brightened by natural light?
An aside on the choosing of White Horse to name the meeting room: if you know Patrick Duffeler, you know it wasn’t an arbitrary decision. What’s known as the Westbury White Horse, carved into chalk grassland in the late 1600s in Wiltshire, by some accounts symbolizes a victorious King Alfred the Great in battle. White horses are scattered throughout English hillsides. The white horse is also tied to a favorite book of Duffeler’s, “Far from the Madding Crowd,” written by Thomas Hardy in 1874.
“It actually takes place in Wessex,” says Duffeler, whose extensive personal library includes a book on the significance of the white horse in British history.
Notice the intentional alliteration of all the W’s on the the 300-acre farm Duffeler called Wessex Hundred. The hotel on the grounds is Wedmore Place; the largest venue is Wessex Hall, which spills into Westbury Hall. White Horse Meeting Room. The Williamsburg Winery.
“Consistency matters,” Duffeler says.
The hallways that connect the upstairs rooms display more collectibles from Europe, including a French grape harvest basket from the late 18th century.
Downstairs, a 40-seat private tasting area with a view of the wine cellar allows enthusiasts to sample new and familiar offerings.
A walk into the actual cellar, chilly at 62 degrees, is a treat heightened by the classical music at a pleasant volume on a continuous loop. It’s dim yet brightened with just enough glow by petite globes, helpful for meandering past the stacked barrels of wine without hesitation.
“We’re looking to expand this area,” Duffeler says. Currently, the cellar holds well over 600 barrels of wine; he’d prefer it be 1,000.
Most of the cellar looks exactly as you’d imagine, with barrels upon barrels of reserve wine. The occasional moisture on the floor stems from excessive humidity in the walls. Filtration and fermentation equipment serve as reminders of how complex winemaking is. Minus the tasting room, some areas of the cellar is not open for guests.
A trek back up the stairs returns you to the open space where many brides and grooms have pledged their “I do’s.” Tapestries and other relics enhance Westbury Hall. Among the more striking pieces: a china cabinet standing 7 feet tall from The Périgord, an enchanting region in southwest France that sweeps visitors up with its lore. An armoire adorned with diamond shape geometric designs reminiscent of Louis XIII features marvelous craftwork.
The idyllic village of Westbury is a treasure in the United Kingdom. So, too, is Westbury Hall at The Williamsburg Winery.