An abundance of countryside comprised of undulating hills, sporadic herds emitting barnyard animal noises, and heaps of old-charm houses makes the English landscape beloved across the world. Artists, poets, photographers, and novelists have taken inspiration from our sceptred isle; and Karma Salford Hall Hotel has all these characteristics, and much more, to carry this legacy on for decades to come.
With a charming personality enriched by its perfectly-preserved period features of Elizabethan windows, some of which are stained-glass, and oak beams, Karma Salford Hall ticks every box for a countrified retreat. Its spa, talented chef, library, and games room add a sliver of modern luxury and entertainment, giving a clear idea of how this hall has been a place for hospitality and celebrations for centuries.
As part of the internationally-renowned Karma Group, Karma Salford Hall won’t disappoint those looking for a little bit of excellence in their life. Neither will it leave history lovers – and probably fans of romantic literature – wanting, as its remarkable architecture holds layers of history just waiting to be told. As guests walks through its thick oak doors, they’ll notice the popular 17th century motto, Moderata Durant, meaning ‘things done in moderation last’, and the warm chandelier glow through the lofty windows. Both perfectly set the scene for a scandalous romantic novel where the rake-of-a-hero doesn’t know the meaning of moderation, and this concept is continued throughout the hotel.
From as early as the 15th century, the hall has been a place of hospitality, with its current structure incorporating part of the original building used as a guesthouse for the Benedictine monks of Evesham Abbey. Skip ahead a few hundred years, and the infamous Henry VIII owned the hall and bestowed it upon his loyal follower, Sir Philip Hobbie. The hotel keeps this history alive with framed pictures of Sir Hobbie and his wife, as is the hall’s royal patronage with grand paintings of monarchs in ostentatious gold frames. The reception’s exposed-brick wall room also boasts a mini grand piano, the Stanford Bell – that was once famously stolen – a large fireplace, and two very magnificent chandeliers.
To arrive at the reception, guests must walk past the dimly-lit bar with its rich lavender-and-tartan design walls, while the wall-panelled hall restaurant is visible from the reception. With so much space for dining, drinking, and socialising on display, there’s an immediate emphasis on Karma Salford Hall Hotel being a place of indulgence and certainly not of moderation.
The 32 bedrooms within the hall and restored coach house have a focus on English arts and crafts with supremely soft blankets, printed wallpaper, patterned curtains, and a few four-poster beds. There’s quite a range to choose from, starting with a classic to executive double rooms, but rest assured each have premium mattresses, sumptuously-smooth cotton bedlinen, a mini bar, tea-and-coffee-making equipment, and a rather palatial en-suite bathroom.
Each night, guests are also provided a Morning Post booklet with an inspiring quote on the front, such as, ‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to chase them’. The inside informs of the next day’s weather, breakfast timings, and things to do in the local area.
The hamper left on the room’s desk includes a remarkable variety of produce that would make for an indulgent midnight snack. Included are Cotswold fudge, shortbread biscuits, Tyrells Sweet Chilli Crisps, salted popcorn, jellybeans, and Karma Beaujolais Chiroubles wine. Its orderly placement speaks volumes towards the care and dedication of the staff to make their guests feel welcome.
The creaky floorboards, wonky ceilings, mullioned windows, and timber-frame structures are delightfully evocative, and one would be forgiven for thinking they’d time travelled to the 15th century. The informative history book, titled ‘The History of Salford Hall’ that’s additionally left on the desk will leave you dreaming of some of the most intriguing characters in English history.
While tiptoeing – it seems almost iniquitous to do otherwise in such an ancient building – from one’s room towards the restaurant, guests will discover the floorboards continue to moan under their feet; and period features, including a time-stained fireplace and dark oak cupboards with games and books, are dotted around for guests to enjoy at their leisure. There’s even a priest hole to wonder over.
The Tempest Restaurant is in keeping with the rest of the hotel as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even afternoon tea are served in a wood-panelled hall bearing stained-glass windows and coats of arms. These are juxtaposed with vibrant paintings and an unobtrusive classic soundtrack playing in the background. The whole ambience is surprisingly nostalgic, and one might just find themselves singing along to Beyoncé’s If I Were A Boy while waiting for the marvellous wafts coming from the kitchen to reach their table.
The menu – crafted from locally-sourced ingredients as well as from dishes served at Karma’s portfolio of worldwide resorts – include the likes of roasted plum tomato soup with toasted ciabatta to start and a main of roasted pumpkin and butternut squash risotto topped with rocket and parmesan. The able chef has no qualms reconstructing the dishes to suit dietary requirements, and breakfast certainly proved this. An A5 paper booklet is presented to guests, and within it is a good morning message and an extensive menu, including continental options, a full English, eggs benedict, and a healthy option of avocado and poached eggs on granary toast.
After a delicious evening meal, there’s nothing we Brits like more than to drift into the wee hours of the night in a hearty country pub. Karma Salford Hall’s bar feels like the perfect replica of such a pub, with its oakwood countertops and stools, worn leather sofas and chairs, and an ornate fireplace surrounded by bags of crisps, displayed bottles of alcohol, and plenty of pictures of horses. Its literal warmth from the fireplace and figurative cordiality makes this the type of nook you’d want to hide in during a cold, rainy evening.
For such a compact manor house, Karma Salford Hall is certainly well-endowed in what facilities they can offer guests. At the top of their list is the Karma Spa, offering both ‘traditional and 21st-century Asian-infused therapies’, with their brochure declaring the experiences ‘nourish, heal and nurture’ the body. All treatments are fashioned with ingredients obtained from sustainable and ethical growers, so whether you opt for a manicure or one of their sea salt detox treatments, you’ll know you’re doing something wholesome for your body.
Among Salford Hall’s other facilities is the games room, complete with a 19th century snooker table, a vinyl player and records, a dartboard, board games, and table football. There’s plenty to keep an active mind occupied here, as in the library, with its local history books and timeless classics. For those visiting Karma Salford Hall with a purpose, the event space can hold up to 100 guests for private or corporate events, and the hotel’s wedding licence means one can tie the knot in any of their striking rooms.
The grounds at Salford Hall are ideal for a leisurely stroll after dinner. However, the hotel suggests two walks around the surrounding area in the rooms information folder for anyone looking for a more invigorating pastime.
The hall is likewise perfectly positioned to explore Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Kenilworth, and Leamington Spa. With Stratford being the birthplace of William Shakespeare and Warwick and Kenilworth playing an integral part for centuries in British royal history, there’s certainly plenty of castles, churches, museums, and medieval heritage sites to see. Similarly, Leamington Spa with its Regency buildings is ideal for a quick shopping spree.
For any period drama fans, the nearby Stoneleigh Abbey – with its connections to Jane Austen, Queen Victoria, and King Charles I – and Compton Verney Art Gallery are exquisite mansions that’ll quickly have you thinking about Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy diving into the lake.
In a nutshell
There are few hotels in England that blend history, period features and contemporary luxuries perfectly together to create an entirely immersive, educational, and reposeful retreat, and yet Karma Salford Hall Hotel has managed to find an equilibrium for guests to experience all of these things. Whether you want to indulge in scrumptious cuisine, unwind with a glass in the bar or library, or drift into oblivion in the spa, Karma Salford Hall’s attentive staff will ensure you can do it all with ease and peace of mind. It’s a country retreat like no other.
Rooms can be booked from £90 pppn to include breakfast. There is a minimum occupancy of two people.
Getting there: Situated in the Vale of Evesham, near Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon, Karma Salford Hall is easily accessible from Evesham train station, which has a direct route from London Paddington. The staff can arrange for a taxi to collect you from the train station and bring you to the hotel, taking approximately 10 minutes. Otherwise, driving to the hotel via M40 from London takes a little over two hours.
Address: Karma Salford Hall, Abbot’s Salford WR11 8UT
Phone: 01386 871300
Photography courtesy of Karma Salford Hall