Mallory Court Hotel: Luxury break in Shakespeare country
- Credit: Courtesy of The Eden Collection
Home to Shakespeare, medieval kingmakers, and the Regency charm of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire is unjustly overlooked for a weekend break, compared to the more fashionable draw of the Cotswolds.
But just an hour and 40 minutes drive from north west London, you can find yourself driving through villages of red brick and half timbered houses, and enjoying a glass or two on the banks of the Avon.
Well placed to take in the sights of Stratford, Warwick Castle or even Bicester Village, is Mallory Court, a pretty country house spa hotel with an intimate feel outside Leamington Spa.
It's part of The Eden Collection - five distinctive hotels including Bovey Castle in Devon - and also a member of the ever reliable Relais & Chateaux. With 43 bedrooms and destination dining in 3AA Rosette restaurant The Dining Room, it's great for a cosy luxury break.
The 10 acre grounds are lovely and not overwhelming, there's a wellness walk taking in a sunken garden, croquet lawn, herb garden, tennis court, kitchen gardens and polytunnel where chef grows fare for his seasonal menus.
But it's the staff here who will make your stay. Friendly, experienced, and helpful should be a given in a hotel of this calibre, but sadly often isn't - so enjoy being looked after even just for a night.
Designed in Lutyens' style, the main house was built as a retirement home for cotton baron James Thomas Holt in 1916, and was lived in by various captains of industry before becoming a hotel in the 1990s. We were staying in the Orchard Suite, a newer building housing the Elan Spa. This can sometimes mean a lesser experience - but not here. Our room was the height of modern luxury, with crisp sheets, huge beds and fluffy towels.
Outside our window was a suntrap of a terrace with inviting recliners, a sauna, and vitality pool where we enjoyed a bubbling hot dip.
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Inside the spa has cool, dark blue interiors with a main pool, hydro jets, and steam rooms. I tore myself away for a terrific aromatherapy full body "inner calm" massage that completed my decompression from post pandemic life in the capital.
That evening in the oak panelled mullion-windowed restaurant, we were seated at tables with proper linen and napery to sample the Tastes of the Season menu. It's the kind that includes delicious home made bread, a trio of intricate amuse-bouche (smoked cods roe mousse, a gougere truffle custard, and a chicken terrine) followed by Cornish mackerel, ceviche style with cucumber, lime and wasabi.
The "cheese course" was slivers of Comté cheese atop malt loaf, with truffles and hazelnuts followed by a dessert of sweet white chocolate cut with the tang of blood oranges.
The flavour combinations for the mains - Cornish brill in a soup of herbs, and a loin of venison with beets in a peppery port sauce - made the quality ingredients sing. Our visit was a few months back and the seasons have moved on, with the likes of roast cod loin with curried lentils, Highland Wagyu beef with morel Madeira sauce, and a salad of home grown greens and goats curd now on the menu.
If all that sounds a bit fussy then breakfast was if possible even better. Proper fresh juices, a pot of delicious coffee, impeccably cooked eggs and top quality sausage and mushroom. It's so good you will be reluctant to leave. But you can always come back.
Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa https://www.mallory.co.uk/ offers nightly rates from £264 per room per night (based on two people sharing a Classic room). It features a beautiful spa, complete with dedicated spa accommodation. A 1 night Spa break starts from £249 per person, and includes an overnight stay, a 55 minute ESPA treatment, 2 hours spa facility use, a ‘Taste of the Season’ dinner in the 3 AA Rosette Manor House Dining room and full English breakfast.