Cliveden House in Berkshire | 4th May 2015
Cliveden House in Berkshire is a long way to go, but it was worth every last mile of my 270 miles round trip. Cliveden is perhaps the finest luxury hotel I’ve been invited to perform at. Set in 376 acres of National Trust parkland, I only wish I had more time to explore this gem of a venue.
I was booked to play guitar at a birthday event this May bank holiday. Upon my arrival, the hotel staff were all very well organised and helpful. I was shown where to set up and offered refreshments. It was clear that every member of staff knew exactly what was expected and were thoroughly prepared for the event. As a guitarist who plays at a lot of private events I see varying standards of professionalism when comparing venues. Cliveden House is a venue which clearly has the highest standards when it comes to service. It was a pleasure to perform here and I would be only too pleased to be invited here again.
This venue in Berkshire is approximately 135 miles away from where I live. This meant I had to set off extra early to account for traffic delays. I would much prefer to be 2 hours early than 2 minutes late. As is the case whenever I leave extra time, it was not needed. I arrived at Cliveden House around 2 hours before I was due to set up. Fortunately for me, the venue and surrounding area is simply stunning! After setting up for my performance I returned to the car to fetch my camera. I had well over an hour left to explore before I needed to play. Time to take in the wonderful views of Berkshire that Cliveden House has to offer.
I did a quick tour of the outside of the main house before discovering the incredible gardens at the rear of the house. I would regret not taking the opportunity to explore this part of the venue so I set off on a tour of the gardens. I would have liked to go deeper into the woodland and down to the river Thames which runs right past Cliveden House. Unfortunately I wasn’t exactly well equipped to tackle the muddy footpaths in my formal shoes, suit and tie.
The birthday party itself was a pleasure to perform at. I had been given free choice with regards to song choice with the exception of one song. The client had requested I play ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’ at some point during the birthday party. I duly obliged just prior to my break. This is one of my favourite jazz pieces to play on classical guitar so I was only too happy that it had been requested.
I decided to play a range of songs from my classical set as it seemed to fit the tone of the hotel nicely. After this I transitioned into my jazz set in time to play ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’ before my break. Following a quick rest for my fingers I performed a few more jazz numbers before moving forward in time yet again and onto my pop/rock set. Being a 70th birthday party I decided to play mostly older songs from this set, throwing in the occasional recent chart topper for good measure.