Built with no expense spared
Woodlands Park House was designed by Rowland Plumbe, RA, in 1885 for Mr F.C. Bryant, the son of the founder of the match company, Bryant and May. Plumbe was commissioned “with a free hand, unfettered in the slightest degree by economical considerations” to design a mansion in the Gothic Style. The most modern innovations were incorporated and Woodlands Park became one of the first country houses with electric light, renowned for the grandeur of its oak panelled Grand Hall.
Set in the centre of private farmland, gardens and lawns were laid originally stretching down to the River Mole. The house became a centre for Edwardian Society in Surrey, with regular weekend house parties and lavish dinners, which were hosted by the Bryant family. The then Prince of Wales, who became King Edward VII, was a regular visitor, with his famous friend, the actress Lillie Langtry, who was also a friend of Oscar Wilde.
However, in 1897, a Mr W. Benson, a Bond Street jeweller, bought Woodlands Park , who in turn sold the house to Lieutenant Eustratio Ralli, in 1911. Both families improved the house, particularly by adding ornate fireplaces in the Ground Floor Rooms and also erecting the dramatic marble fireplace in the Grand Hall.
The Ralli Family left the house after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Woodlands Park became a luxury hotel with terms from four guineas per week.
During the Second World War, Middlesex County Council purchased the house and converted it to a home for the elderly. This use continued until 1975, when the house was used as a residential educational centre.
Following extensive alterations, the house was re-opened as a hotel in April 1981.
In 1988, the hotel closed for a short time for modernisation, which is when the Prince of Wales Suite and additional bedrooms were added.