Hotel Review: Fishmore Hall Hotel, Ludlow in Shropshire
Ludlow is a medieval market town on the fringe of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And, just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque town, nestled between rolling hills and lush green fields, is Fishmore Hall – a grand Georgian hotel and spa.
While Ludlow oozes quaint charm and character, Fishmore Hall is a tower of grandeur and stateliness. The white-washed building exudes antiquity and history but has been renovated with a modern twist, the walls adorned with contemporary art and the rooms filled with bold but simple furniture.
From the moment we stepped foot inside the hotel – with it’s dark wood floors and high ceilings – staff were friendly and attentive without being overbearing.
Fishmore Hall, previously a grandiose residence before becoming a school, fell into disrepair before the current owner bought it in 2007, renovated it and reopened it as a contemporary, boutique hotel. The acclaimed restaurant was awarded two AA Rosettes within days of opening, later adding a third.
The lounge was cosy, the ideal setting for nibbles and drinks. The bar, while small and simple, boasted a comprehensive selection of gins – much to the delight of my gin connoisseur husband – while their signature cocktail of passion fruit Bellini was the perfect appetizer to a candlelit dinner in the orangery of Forelles. There was a sprinkling of couples enjoying intimate meals but the restaurant and the 15-bedroom hotel seemed quiet for a Saturday night which was a shame and marred the atmosphere a little.
However, the food was the real star of the show. From start to finish the six-course tasting menu was impeccably devised with a fusion of flavours and beautiful blend of ingredients. Sadly, the scallops were disappointingly tasteless but the other courses more than made up for it – particularly the sweet and fragrant tomato salad. Each dish was exquisitely presented and complimented the previous plate, leading seamlessly onto the next combination of tastes. Even the smoked haddock, poached egg and fried rice amuse bouche was packed full of flavours of the sea and a palate-cleansing lemon posset left us refreshed and ready for dessert taste-testing.
With full stomachs and light heads (the wine went down far too easily!) we headed back to our room for some more R&R. Our boldy decorated luxury room was spacious and sophisticated with a vast, super king sized bed and modern, stylish ensuite bathroom. To cap off the evening of indulgence I retired to the huge bathtub to sample some of the spa treats and relax before a good night’s sleep.
While the hotel is dog-friendly with some rooms and communal spaces welcoming canine chums, we decided to leave our four-legged friend at home and treat ourselves to a weekend away from the hum-drum routine of normal life. But with the rolling hills and rural views stretching as far as the eye can see as well as being just a short drive from the Brecon Beacons National Park and Malvern Hills, it would be the perfect spot for a doggy weekend away.
Even without the dog we didn’t struggle to keep ourselves entertained. Hereford, Worcester and Shrewsbury are all within an hour’s drive meaning there are plenty of entertainment options nearby. We decided to go for a little more adrenaline and adventure, and headed for Go Ape at Wyre Forest for some treetop exploits. The 567m-long course is perched in the canopy high above the forest floor (14m high in places) and consists of nail-biting crossings, precarious tightrope walks, and pulse-racing zip lines – the longest of which stretches 160m! Following our rigorous safety brief we set off at our own pace to explore the forest – from an aerial view. The course was challenging and not for the faint-hearted, but was great fun!
For a different pace guests needn’t stray far from Fishmore Hall’s front door as just a short meander along the garden path (literally) is SPAshell – a peaceful and relaxing haven with vista views of highland cattle grazing on the pastures. While the hotel doesn’t sit in abundant grounds and gardens, the owners managed to find a peaceful corner to squeeze in a small, Nordic-inspired spa – warm, inviting wooden buildings with huge windows offering panoramic views across the countryside. The angular-shaped structure (like something you’d see Kevin McCloud exploring on Channel 4) shelters a calming, tranquil atmosphere inside with treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a relaxation area for visitors and hotel guests to use. And in a secluded corner, tucked away behind the lodge, a line of loungers follow the rays of the sun while a warm vitality hot tub bubbles away.
I was treated to an hour-long lava shell massage – 60 minutes of kneading with smooth, sizzling shells which left me feeling revitalized and recharged. SPAshell offers a collection of wellness and spa treatments by Elemis – products reflected in the hotel’s toiletries and refreshing turn down service (a set of taster treatments to ensure a good night’s sleep delivered straight to your pillow!)
If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away to reconnect as a couple, an escape from the chaos and craziness of everyday life, or a chance for some bonding with your besties then Fishmore Hall has something for you.
Rooms at Fishmore Hall are available from £175 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis. Enjoy a treetop adventure at Go Ape Wyre Forest from £28 per person: www.goape.co.uk/days-out/wyre.
Address: Fishmore Hall, Fishmore Road, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 3DP.
Phone: 01584 875148