On one side there are 30 pheasants darting around what looks like cabbage fields and sprawling grounds, on the other, a couple of horses trot along to the instructions of their equestrian-dressed riders. What does this mean? The driveway to Mercure Walton Hall Hotel and Spa perfectly sets the scene for a weekend in a country hall hotel.
There are over 65 acres to explore, with a 16th-century, Grade-II-listed building set at its centre. Its restaurant likewise draws attention to the outside, with its French doors overlooking a delightful walled garden. Its spa similarly does everything it can to make you forget your worries. Put simply, Walton Hall Hotel and Spa’s saving grace is that it puts you into a bubble infused with the natural world, where relaxing is an inevitable pastime.
The Gothic Revival architecture that guests marvel at upon arrival was built by Sir George Gilbert Scott, a celebrated Victorian architect, whose everlasting legacy is tied to his creation of St Pancras Station in London. It’s a formidable structure that wouldn’t look out of place in the likes of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. However, since most of the hotel lies within the former outbuildings and stables, guests won’t see the interior of this building.
However, the open floor plan encompassing the restaurant and bar is an inviting area for social activity. In addition, those staying here for work have a fantastic number of conference rooms – some of which sport grand chandeliers – to choose from, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a go-to venue for team meetings. The private chapel within the grounds – which in autumn is enveloped with countless orange leaves – and the adjacent historic mansion opening its large rooms to the immaculate grounds, would likewise make for a romantic wedding venue.
There are 197 rooms, but only 37 of these are within the original mansion. Those within the outer buildings are of a standard quality with features you’d expect from a chain hotel, like a faux leather armchair, an oak desk and headboard, an espresso machine, and tea-making facilities. The fruit and own-brand toiletries are a welcome addition; but for anything luxurious, one will want to book a room within the hall itself.
The mansion rooms – suites and superior twin or double rooms – are truly luxurious, with original period features like a four-poster bed, a grand fireplace, a chaise lounge, or equally comfortable armchair and pouffe or a separate seating area, and floor-to-ceiling curtains to accommodate for the impressive height of the rooms. Some suites might quirkily feature an oval bath within the room itself, but most are within a spacious bathroom fitted with cosy bathrobes and slippers.
The Orangery Restaurant offers a fixed-priced menu with three courses costing £28.50, two courses for £22.50, or one course for £15.50. Of particular note is the main course of ballotine of chicken wrapped in smoked bacon with chicken jus, seasonal vegetables, and potatoes. The chicken was perfectly tender, while the vegetables had a lovely al dente crunch, and the staff, when alerted to an allergy, were diligent in ensuring the meals did not contain the offending ingredient. An alternative option is to feast on traditional bar food at the Lemon Tree, or wait for morning where one can decide upon a selection of hot or cold breakfast meals.
Probably the crowning jewel of Walton Hall Hotel is the spa which includes eight treatment rooms, a steam and sauna room, a gym and leisure pool. The gym has everything one could require from weights to treadmills, while the pool brilliantly has indoor-styled sun loungers for those wishing to spend the day leisurely dipping in and out of the pool. Equally indulgent is the spa with its ‘skin – body – mind’ philosophy guiding their holistic treatments.
Without a doubt, guests should make the most of Walton Hall Hotel and Spa’s parkland, as the lily-pad lake, arboretum, and Victorian garden are splendid all year round. Its location within Warwickshire is equally thrilling, as it’s within easy driving distance of Warwick, Kenilworth, and William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you like history, culture, and quality cuisine, these towns will be right up your street, with the medieval masterpieces of Warwick and Kenilworth Castles. The Shakespearean properties in Stratford-upon-Avon are equally glorious relics of the past. Restaurants like The Cross at Kenilworth, The Rose and Crown in Warwick, and The Arden Hotel serve Michelin quality dishes that every foodie will relish.
In a nutshell
Mercure Walton Hall Hotel and Spa’s aim is to make guests’ lives easier, from their proximity to everything worth visiting in Warwickshire to country walks and leisure facilities that are right on their doorstep. It’s certain that you’ll meet squirrels, pheasants, and horses on your rambles around its estate, but what’s not guaranteed is running into another human being.
One can easily reach the hotel from London via the M40. Alternatively, Warwick Parkway Station is 10 miles away, while Birmingham airport is 28 miles. However, you’ll need to reach the hotel by car or taxi from both options.
Rooms can be booked from £79 pppn.
Address: Walton, Jubilee Drive, Wellesbourne, Wellesbourne Hastings, CV35 9HG
Phone: +44 1789842424
Photography courtesy of Walton Hall Hotel and Spa