Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Where is Downton Abbey filmed’

You Can Rent the French Riviera Villa from Downton Abbey – and Other Exclusive Private Homes Complete with Staff

You can rent the French Riviera villa on Downton Abbey: A New Era
Villa Rocabella from Downton Abbey A New Era is available to rent through Homanie

“I’ve come into possession of a villa in the South of France,” announces the Dowager Countess of Grantham in the upcoming Downton Abbey film. And you can too – complete with a butler and other staff – at least for a few nights or several weeks. The Côte d’Azur villa featured in the movie is just one of the exclusive private homes available to rent through Homanie, a new breed of luxury holiday leases providing equally luxurious hotel level service.

Launched in March 2021, the company’s remit is dream homes with incredible views in exceptional locations with some fifty properties across France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Added to this Homanie offers “five star service by The Homanists – women and men who are selected for their expertise.” Think chefs, housekeepers, gym trainers and yoga instructors. The whole package is yours from an average of 50 to 60 000€ (around US$53,000 to US$63,000) a week in summer, depending on the property, with some reaching 180 000E (about US$190,000) a week.

Luxury holiday rentals already exist of course but there’s a growing trend for combining the privacy and space of a unique holiday lease with the service and amenities of a deluxe hotel. “Up until now, renting a property has been synonymous with ‘self catering’ – a quick handover of the keys and service which is often cursory. Homanie is now changing all of this by offering an innovative, five star hotel service,” says a spokeswoman for the company.

Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes – Ca’n Miquelet villa

Similarly from this summer fans of Mandarin Oriental will have the chance to experience the hotel brand in a new way. In a collaboration with StayOne, specialists in “the finest one per cent of holiday homes”, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has launched a collection of exclusive private houses to rent. Each of which comes with “service provided by a team who have been meticulously trained by Mandarin Oriental”.

Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes – from a Spanish private island to an English country estate – include a 24 hour concierge service, in house private chef and daily housekeeping, right down to MO robes and bathroom amenities. 

“The luxury home rental market is a fast-growing segment of leisure travel,” says Luca Finardi, Area Vice President & Head of Operations at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group which became a minority investor in StayOne in late 2020. “We saw the opportunity to introduce luxury experiences that combine the best of both brands. StayOne have the perfect homes, and Mandarin Oriental has the brand reputation to deliver unique personalised service in a luxury environment.”

Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes – Cirencester Estate

The inaugural selection of eight properties are based in the South of France, the Balearic islands Ibiza and Mallorca and the Cotswolds in England. “Destinations were selected based on customer demand among our Fan base in the most popular leisure destinations,” says Finardi. “Looking forward, Mandarin Oriental and StayOne will collaborate to identify seasonal collections; diversifying the portfolio and handpicking villas in other key destinations around the world.” 

Other hotel brands also have affinities with luxury rentals around the world including North America and Asia. Marriott International launched Homes & Villas in 2019 and prior to that Accor hotel group bought upscale holiday rental company onefinestay. 

“While no formal crossover programming or services exist between Accor hotel brands and onefinestay, we are capable of addressing needs or requests our guests or clients may have. This could take the shape of a hotel chef preparing a bespoke, private dinner at a onefinestay property,” says Garth Simmons, CEO Accor Southeast Asia, Japan & South Korea.

Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes – Tagomago villa

Members of the Fans of MO loyalty scheme will be offered further benefits and experiences while staying at the Exclusive Homes. And both Accor and Marriott allow guests to earn and redeem reward points at the onefinestay and Homes & Villas properties respectively. 

On a smaller scale ÀNI Private Resorts offers four private homes for rent with full service in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Anguilla and the Dominican Republic. And in London only, Domus Stay has privately owned high end apartments to exclusive townhouses on its books for short stay rentals with the opportunity to arrange guest services such as personal trainers, VIP gallery tours, private wine tastings and art classes. 

Multi-generational holidays and landmark occasions are ideally suited for the larger properties. “Customers of luxury villas usually choose them for different reasons to choosing luxury hotels and we wanted to develop this for our clients,” says Finardi. “We saw an opportunity of being able to offer private, stand-alone accommodation options in destinations we have yet to have opened a hotel. Ideally for the coming together of family and friends to celebrate key events.”

Exclusive Mediterranean villa available to rent through Homanie

And companies have seen increased interest as the world opens up again. “We have noticed since the pandemic a real increase in demand for holidays in private mansions as travellers now favour more intimate places where they feel more secured against the risk of Covid,” says the Homanie spokeswoman. 

Dine like Downton with the Best Silverware Brands

Downton table

The dining table at Downton Abbey set with silverware

“But can’t we choose what silver to put on our table?” Lady Mary asks Barrow the head butler when faced with the Crawley’s vast array of silverware at ahead of  the royal visit in the film of Downton Abbey. Not to give too much away, Barrow suggests that the King and Queen’s staff will make the decision and only then will the pieces be given a “final polish”.

For those who haven’t inherited the family silver and are not faced with the dazzling choice of the Lord Grantham’s collection, most start off with a canteen of cutlery made up of forks, knives and spoons for six to eight people. Whether you choose silver plate (a silver coating on metal) or the more costly sterling silver (at least 92.5 per cent silver) once invested you – or your staff – will need to take care of it.

Lady Carnarvon the current chatelaine of Highclere Castle where Downton is filmed says it takes over an hour for three people to set the table for 14 guests – and of course silverware must be washed by hand, never put in the dishwasher, and then polished. Here’s our pick of the best silver brands.

We've been expecting you

Arthur Price

This English brand has been making silver plate cutlery and tableware for over 100 years. Founder Arthur Price designed the cutlery for Titanic’s first class dining room. Consequently the company was approached to remake the collection for the blockbuster James Cameron film. The range, spanning tea spoons to a 124 piece canteen, is now available to buy. Arthur Price cutlery is currently used by both Queen Elizabeth 2nd and Prince Charles’ households. The brand’s extensive tableware includes place mats, grape scissors, condiment sets and candleholders. And collaborations with designers Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Sophie Conran offer a more contemporary take on flatware.

Carrs Silver


All Carrs Silver products are made in Sheffield, the British city renowned for cutlery making. In fact Clare Smyth, the chef who catered Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception, commissioned Carrs to create the flatware for her London restaurant. The brand’s most popular cutlery collections are Coburg a richly decorated style and the plainer more contemporary Old English. Cutlery can be personalised with crests, monograms and gold embellishment.

Their sterling silver decanters and wine bottle coasters are also hugely popular. Carrs will launch three new flatware styles at their Harrods concession this summer.

Carrs BOCS_5-SS.jpg



Parisian silversmith Christofle was founded in 1830 and by 1851 had created a table centrepiece for Napolean 3rd. The house has a large selection of cutlery patterns as well as table accessories such as caviar sets, salt and pepper shakers and gravy boats. Christofle uses traditional French silver craftsmanship in surprisingly contemporary and innovative designs. For example, Mood is a strikingly modern take on the traditional canteen of cutlery comprising a silver plated set of flatware housed in an egg shaped silver container. Karl Lagerfeld’s limited edition version of Mood is an Art Deco inspired black “egg” decorated with a graphic design and stamped with Lagerfeld’s silhouette. Only 1,500 have been created.

Georg Jensen

Georg jensen

The late Danish designer Georg Jensen is seen as one of the world’s greatest silversmiths, inspiring subsequent generations of artisans. Founded in 1904, his eponymous company holds a Danish royal warrant. The designer’s most popular tableware piece is the Grape Bowl costing between £4,000 and £15,000 depending on size. This iconic item was designed by Georg Jensen himself and made his name as a silversmith. Art Nouveau, inspired by the curved lines of nature, was a major influence for Jensen. As such the brand’s best selling flatware is the Art Nouveau style Blossom. The sterling silver range spans salt spoons to soup serving ladles. Each year the brand re-introduces a piece from the archives. This year they’ve launched the Tureen 270 which was originally created as a one off 100 years ago.

Tiffany & Co


Tiffany & Co set new standards for silver craftsmanship in the US. In the 1860s Tiffany introduced an “American style” that was more simple than the ornate Victorian designs popular in Europe at the time. Today the brand boasts an extensive selection of sterling silver tableware and flatware. Five piece cutlery sets are available in a vast array of styles. Individual cutlery pieces and corresponding utensils including cheese knives, cake slicers and serving utensils can also be purchased to top up your collection. In addition there’s the Elsa Peretti designed Padova, a modernist collection of flatware.









Where to stay when you’re visiting Downton


The Old Swan

[UPDATE: IRL the village of Downton is actually filmed at Brampton, Oxfordshire. Our pick of where to stay if you want to visit is the Old Swan in nearby Minster Lovell. The hotel will arrange a guided tour of Brampton.]

The Old Swan, Minster Lovell

Imagine the ideal country inn and you’ll picture The Old Swan. Exposed beams and brick, flagstone floors, log fires, cosy nooks, inviting bar… this is a wonderful weekend retreat in the Cotswolds countryside.

When it comes to eating, choose between the more formal restaurant with vaulted ceiling and rich wool tapestries or the pub like but equally appealing dining room.

Old Swan & Minster Mill

Old Swan

Settle down by the fire for a nightcap (the snug is for residents only) before climbing the wooden stairs to one of the most comfortable beds you’ve ever slept in.

Bring your hiking boots as there are walks aplenty almost from the front door.

%d bloggers like this: