STAY AT THE BELFRY’S BRABAZON LODGE FROM £75PP

STAY AT THE BELFRY’S BRABAZON LODGE FROM £75PP

Stay at the Brabazon Lodge, located within The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Royal Sutton Coldfield, North Warwickshire, a luxury home away from home with space for up to six people, priced from £450 per night.

Located down a private driveway and over-looking the legendary 10th tee of The Brabazon course, the private lodge offers four bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and all the essential amenities to ensure a relaxing stay. Guests can sit back and unwind in the charming and spacious lounge area which overlooks the lodge’s private garden, or enjoy an evening in their very own outdoor hot tub.

 

The Belfry Hotel boasts a range of facilities for all of the family to enjoy safely throughout the stay. Families can enjoy a round of Ryder Legends Mini Golf, 12 holes of competitive fun through The Belfry’s miniature versions of some of the most iconic holes in Ryder Cup history, or opt for a game of disc golf.

Explore The Belfry’s extensive outdoor space with a stroll through their interactive woodland walk, where little ones can go wildlife spotting and discover bug hotels, or let the kids try the new Woodland Adventure Zone, with zip wire, tree house, climber, puzzlewood and more.  Adults can follow in the footsteps of some of golf’s greatest legends by booking a tee time on one of The Belfry’s three world-class golf courses, including The Brabazon and The PGA National. In the evening, guests can have a relaxing dinner in The Ryder Grill, offering dishes created from only the highest quality locally-sourced ingredients.

To ensure a safe stay for guests and a safe working environment for their teams, The Belfry has launched their ‘Our Pledge To You’ initiative to showcases the resort’s commitment to meeting the highest standards cleanliness procedures and protocols across all areas of the resort.

The Belfry has also been awarded the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard which recognises that The Belfry has followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing. You can read more about the enhanced measures here: https://bit.ly/3iitjLr

For more information, please visit www.thebelfry.com

*Based on eight people staying at the lodge. Three nights minimum stay.

VINEYARD STAYS

VINEYARD STAYS

Jill Nash shares her top three grape-themed escapes.

Secret Valley, Somerset

Secret Valley is sat in the fertile hilly landscape of Quantock Hills, an authentic 400-acre organic farm. Couples who enjoy a spot of cool camping will love the tranquillity of this peaceful spot.

On arrival, you’ll be given a helpful welcome pack and if you forget anything, fear not, the evening buggy will drive around between 5-6 pm, stocking you up with wine, coal for your fire, cider and marshmallows. Each yurt, wigwam or shepherd’s hut is thoughtfully furnished with cosy blankets and mood lighting, there’s a fully equipped kitchen for making a homemade meal too. If you fancy a spa treatment, head to the natural pamper pod, where you can indulge in a 60-minute, full-body massage or a Thai foot massage to stretch out those tired, lower legs. 

Quantock receives fewer visitors than neighbouring Dartmoor, making the area ideal for bikers, hikers and those in search of deserted trails. Next door to Secret Valley, there’s a separate business Black Rock Outdoors, an activity centre where you can test your nerve on the high ropes course or bond over water zorbing. It’s ideal for couples seeking peace, nature and a spot of outdoorsy adventure.

Secret Valley has five acres of vineyard growing five varieties of grapes: Pinot Noir, Rondo, Orion, Solaris and Reichensteiner (producing their first crop in 2010), which can all be tasted by visitors. A rather informal DIY experience, and the cost is only £5 per person, it represents excellent value for money tasting some great homegrown grapes.

After sampling the wine, head back to your Scandinavian wigwam, fire up your hot tub, spark up the fire pit, pour yourselves another glass and watch the sunset over the rolling hills. Sounds clichéd? Yes, but it hits the romantic button.

Accommodation in a Hill View wigwam with a hot tub is from £145 for two guests per night. Includes two complimentary buckets of wood for the wood-fired hot tub and a bottle of Secret Valley wine, visit secret-valley.co.uk

  

The Vineyard Hotel, Berkshire

Home to Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2019, and six other sommeliers from around the world, the five-star Vineyard Hotel set in Newbury (an hour west from London) is a small, private property. The intimacy of this hotel means that all guests interact with a sommelier during their time here. While this hotel isn’t physically sat on a vineyard, it’s the perfect retreat for gourmands and wine enthusiasts. There are delectable wine dinners on offer and the impressive cellar is not called the ‘temple of wine’ without good reason. They have a mouthwatering range of English wines from progressive vineyards, such as Camel Valley in Cornwall and Exton Park in Hampshire, which the sommeliers are very passionate about.

Entering the hotel is an astonishing visual feast. The strong scents of lavender and wild rosemary lead you into the doorway littered by an enviable art collection and then, of course, the striking wine vault with 30,000 bins visible through the polished glass floor. The double doors of the cellar then lead into the Judgment of Paris room, where you can marvel at the famous artwork and join a wine discovery experience, costing from £30 per person.

The real highlight of a stay here is to re-live the controversial 1976 blind-tasting dinner and compare the French and Californian wines for yourself. Using specialised knowledge, the hotel has recreated a Judgement of Paris dinner package, costing £184 per person. Each course of the seven-strong dinner is paired with two wines – one Californian, one French – and there are a couple of completely blind tastings thrown in too, served in black glasses to allow you really to test your knowledge. After a short introduction by the sommelier, and paper placemats to turn over after the end of each choice to see how you rate each wine, its incredible fun, but be careful that discussions with your partner don’t end up too heated!

Finally, The Vineyard Hotel has a splendid spa. The relaxing garden with cosy loungers is where you can wrap up in a robe and snooze off the effects of the wine tasting from the night before. If you fancy it, take a light afternoon tea or top up the alcohol levels with a bottle of champagne.

Accommodation and breakfast are priced from £255 based on two guests, visit the-vineyard.co.uk

Longueville Manor Hotel (& La Mare Wine Estate), Jersey

Longueville Manor is sheer indulgence. A sympathetically restored manor house offering inspiring menus, a boutique spa with a bubbling hot tub, scented wild woodland gardens perfect for long walks, and a world-class, wine-tasting cellar. It’s no wonder this place is one of Europe’s most popular getaways, and with Jersey becoming a notable spot for wine and gastronomy, the destination is a fine choice for a weekend escape.

A 30-minute drive from Longueville Manor, you can find Jersey’s most celebrated wine estate, La Mare. You can take an expert-guided tour around the ancient orchards and go behind the scenes of the distillery, where you’ll enjoy a variety of exclusive La Mare wines and walk through the production kitchen watching chocolate making, prices from £10.50 per person.

Back at Longueville Manor, guests can find the state-of-the-art wine cellar stocking up to 4,000 bottles, which also works as a small museum holding a unique display of very rare and valuable wines. The cellar showcases a collection of Burgundy wines, ten vintages of the prestigious Domaine Ramonet Montrachet Grand Cru, including the very rare 1986.  Arguably, it is one of the finest private wine collections in the world. A basic introduction to wine tasting, including a tour of the cellar and three whites and three reds from New Zealand, Chile and Portugal, lasts 1.5 hours and costs £50 per person.

Fine dining in the 15th-century Oak Room is an intimate experience, with only a few tables serving couples in a formal setting. The wine list stretches over 60 pages and is an epic novel in itself. If you wanted to splash out, the most expensive bottle from the list is a 1953 Bordeaux produced by Chateau Gruaud Larose at an eye-watering £4,250 per bottle, or you can opt for a more modest local Sainte Marie wine from La Mare.

If you extend your stay, then set sail to one of the other Channel Islands or hop over to France on the hotel’s exclusive private luxury yacht – the Fizz Too. A full-day charter includes a seafood lunch with dessert, whilst a half day offers a selection of snacks. Both full and half days include Champagne and wine (of course). A steward service is included, with prices starting at £1,400; it’s not cheap, but worth every penny. 

Accommodation is from £127 per room per night for bed and breakfast in a classic double room, visit longuevillemanor.com

 

 

 

THE BELSFIELD

THE BELSFIELD

Stylish sophistication at The Belsfield Hotel.

We took a winter weekend trip to Laura Ashley’s luxurious retreat in the Lakes. 

The hotel

Directly overlooking Bowness’ ‘Belle Isle’, the impressive hotel boasts views of a shimmering Lake Windermere, wild-grass moors and six acres of landscaped gardens. It’s noticeable, imposing and is definitely a talking point throughout Windermere.

 

Inside, the decor is typically Laura Ashley, with neutral and pastel tones, classic furniture pieces and the brand’s famous wallpaper prints. We stayed in a spectacular suite, which was beautiful, peaceful and offered the tranquillity of Lake Windermere from the comfort of the room. The bed? Well, that was like sleeping on a cloud. And if you love a nice bath, you can enjoy a bubbly soak whilst looking out of the window onto the vast views of the lake.

Guests are greeted by a little ‘Ashley’ bunny, which they are encouraged to take home and on all their adventures, a sweet thought, especially if travelling with children. There’s also free Wi-Fi, so you can log on (if necessary) in front of uninterrupted picturesque views from the desk or window seat.

The Belsfield’s rooms offer luxurious sophistication and style to the most discerning of hotel guests. 

The food

On our first night, we dined in The Brasserie, which serves classic British dishes and has a more relaxed feel than the Belsfield Restaurant, which we thought we’d save for our last night. It’s spacious, well-decorated and the food isn’t half bad either. We started with a creamy mushroom soup of the day, and roast pork belly, perfect winter warmers, followed by harissa lamb rump served perfectly pink, and juicy garlic and tarragon chicken breast paired well with wild mushrooms and dauphinoise potato.

The Belsfield Restaurant gives diners the ultimate fine dining experience with AA Rosette-awarded cuisine. The menu has been carefully curated and offers a fusion of British and continental fare using local Cumbrian produce wherever possible. We tucked into an amuse-bouche of mushroom velouté (not too dissimilar to the mushroom soup from night one, but we enjoyed it, so couldn’t complain!) and starters of succulent smoked chicken breast with avocado mousse, fig and asparagus. The cod with smoked bacon, broccoli, potatoes and chicken reduction was to die for – fresh and flavoursome, as was the duo of beef. We finished with a sweet and savoury offering; a cheese board complemented by runny truffle honey, grapes, quince and sourdough crispbreads, and to satisfy our sweet tooth, a peanut butter parfait with brittle and malted banana ice-cream.

Breakfast each morning is held in The Belsfield and gave us a clear view of the crisp winter morning’s dewy grass and sparkling lake. The food was served buffet style, with cold and hot options, but there’s a menu too for table service. Hats off to the chef for the fabulously fried bread, which managed to be light and airy whilst remaining moreish.  

The area

It’s safe to say you can happily escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a trip to the Lake District. The clean country air hits you with abundance and instantly transports you away from your daily routine. Windermere is home to England’s largest lake – it’s a whopping 10.5 miles long – and is separate from Bowness-on-Windermere, which is a tourist honeypot along the shoreline of the lake and where The Belsfield Hotel is located. Here, you can find and the main jetties for cruise boats, water sports and walking trails.

In Windermere, there are cute cake and confectionary shops, tiny tasteful tea rooms and roads leading to country walks galore. Take a trip to nearby Ambleside for a bustling town full of outdoor equipment shops, bookshops, gift shops, cafes, restaurants and a cinema. Nestled in the valley between various fells, it’s the start and end point for many classic walks.

 

Windermere and the surrounding areas are arguably the most famous and popular areas in the whole of the Lake District. There are a range of activities, attractions, places of interest and things to do around the lake… and on it! 

The Activities  

  • Windermere Lake Cruises

We decided to head out on one of the Lake District’s most popular attractions (they sail every day except Christmas Day!) – the Windermere Lake Cruise and, handily for us, the starting point could be found right at the foot of The Belsfield. The Islands Cruise is a 45-minute circular cruise and allows tourists to truly take in the islands of Windermere. Sights include boats, wildlife, islands, historical buildings and, of course, a look at Millionaire’s Row, a collection of dream houses that can only be seen from the lake.

 

·       World of Beatrix Potter

A short walk away from The Belsfield is the World of Beatrix Potter, where the famous tales are brought to life in three dimensions. An indoor recreation of the Lakeland countryside, complete with sights, sounds and even smells.

·       Lakes Aquarium

This award-winning attraction has the UK’s largest collection of freshwater fish.

 

So, would we recommend? The Belsfield has clearly considered all the finer details and elegant finishing touches, and it’s fair to say this one of the best Lake District hotels we’ve ever stayed in.

 

The Belsfield
Kendal Road
Bowness-on-Windermere
Cumbria LA23 3EL
0153 944 2448
[email protected]

 

 

VALENTINE’S ROMANCE AT BURNHAM BEECHES HOTEL

VALENTINE’S ROMANCE AT BURNHAM BEECHES HOTEL

Burnham Beeches Hotel, an elegant Georgian mansion set in the peaceful Buckinghamshire countryside, is offering a Valentine’s Romance package for two this Valentine’s Day.

Priced from £259 per couple, guests can enjoy an overnight stay in a recently refurbished Laura Ashley designed Superior room, where they will find a chilled bottle of Prosecco, a box of handmade chocolates and a red rose.

In the evening, guests can indulge in a romantic dinner for two with a glass of wine each in the hotel’s 2AA Rosette awarded Oak Restaurant, followed by a slow start the next morning with breakfast in bed and a late check-out.

Set within 10-acres of idyllic gardens, and with Laura Ashley designed bedrooms and restaurant reflecting the romance of the 19th century English countryside, Burnham Beeches Hotel is the perfect place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Couples can visit the attractions in nearby Windsor, and enjoy the hotel’s facilities including an indoor pool, jacuzzi and sauna and the stylish Laura Ashley The Tea Room.

The Valentine’s Romance package is available from 14th February to 15th February only.

Contact Burnham Beeches on 01628 429 955 or email [email protected]

Burnham Beeches Hotel, Grove Road, Burnham, Slough, SL1 8DP

www.lauraashleyhotels.com/hotels/burnham-beeches

Instagram – @lauraashleyhotels

Twitter – @LauraAshHotels

Facebook – Laura Ashley Hotels

HYATT CENTRIC LA ROSIERE

HYATT CENTRIC LA ROSIERE

Sublime skiing at one of the most charming resorts in the Alps…

We catch up with entrepreneurial Richard Kwiecien, Managing Director at Hyatt Centric La Rosière, to find out more about the breathtakingly beautiful resort…

Perfectly placed between France and Italy, nestled in the secret Tarentaise Valley, you can find the exclusive ski resort of La Rosière. Here, you can gain access to over 160km of scenic slopes, beginner slopes and 15 black runs, including an 11km piste. 

There are 69 luxurious rooms, including 22 suites, 12 of which have been specifically designed for families. All rooms showcase impressive and unrestricted mountain views. And, with in-house professional childminders, a top-notch concierge service, plus a ski boutique to accommodate all equipment hire needs, it’s hardly surprising the resort prides itself on paying particular attention to the wellbeing of their guests for an exceptionally carefree stay.

Lucky Richard now gets to call this blissful base home and spends most of his time at the sunny ski resort. He manages to come back to the UK every two weeks for a couple of days.

“I miss my family, especially my kids – I’m not sure my wife misses me too much though,” laughs Richard.

But the climate sure does make up for it. Our resort is truly one that has the most sunshine, as we’re south facing – we actually have a record of enjoying the same number of sunshine hours as the Côte d’Azur,” Richard tells us. “We also have brilliant snow from November right through to the end of April, and there is a huge choice of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all standards.”

Richard worked for Manchester’s Eclectic Hotel Group for over 15 years and thanks ex-mentor Eamonn O’Loughlin for preparing him for success at La Rosière and in other aspects of life:

“Without Eamonn’s coaching, I wouldn’t have gained the skills I needed to set up my own company RK hotels management. I wouldn’t have been able to do all this without his experience and knowledge.”

Richard tells us that La Rosière is also one of the few resorts in France to offer Heliski:

“Experienced skiers can carve virgin snow off-piste in secluded spots only accessible by helicopter, including the foot of majestic Mont Blanc.”

Other adrenalin adventures available include dog sledding, kite skiing, ski touring, freeriding and paragliding.

After a day out on the pistes, you can unwind in the resort’s stunning Summit Spa, which is home to a large heated pool, multiple heated hot tubs (one is outdoor with a panoramic alpine backdrop, making for the perfect Instagram post), sauna and steam room. Sensational spa therapists are on hand to provide a whole host of treatments designed to relax and recharge your batteries.

In the evenings, guest can enjoy some time in the stylish bars and eateries the retreat has to offer. La Tavola is a delicious refined Italian, the charming H40 Brasserie boasts its own bar, and the Surus Lounge has a cosy atmosphere with vast views of the valley. 

“Hyatt Centric La Rosière is absolutely a hidden gem, which needs to be visited by all who have a passion for travel, luxury and snow sports,” Richard concludes. 

Prices start from 135 euros per room per night

Visit Hyatt Centric La Rosière and start exploring

A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN ON EARTH

A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN ON EARTH

Delphina Hotels & Resorts – Capo d’Orso Review

One of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. It’s really that simple. Capo d’Orso, part of the Delphina Hotels & Resorts collection, is a magical spot on a surprising island, which, strangely, I’ve sailed around but never really experienced on land.

My partner and I had been promising ourselves a week off for about six months but never got around to it, so when an opportunity came along to visit the second largest Italian island, we both trashed our diary commitments and jumped on a plane. It turned out to be a great decision.

Situated in North East Sardinia, Capo d’Orso is a romantic and exclusive 86-bedroom, five-star retreat, complete with a golf course, private marina and a Thalassotherapy Spa, which features a collection of outdoor Jacuzzi-style sea-water pools with incredibly powerful jets to invigorate every part of your body. Afterwards, you can relax in one of the many hidden hammocks under the wild olive groves and juniper trees, admiring the aquamarine sea views towards the La Maddalena Archipelago. And if relaxing is your thing, there is almost no point in leaving the fragrant, 100,000 m2 Mediterranean parkland grounds or picture-perfect, white, sandy beach – but you’d be missing out.

For our first excursion, we travelled inland to the Siddura Winery for a tour and tasting with spectacular views over the majestic Sardinian hilltops. If you can, go while the sun is setting for a truly enchanting experience.

On another turn exploring the island, we climbed up a vertiginous path to a medieval temple perched high above the surrounding plains on a rocky outcrop – about a one-hour trek. We found an amazing old town long deserted but inhabited hundreds of years BC and with the original well still holding water.

Another blue-sky day saw us hire one of the hotel’s inflatable RIBS (a three-metre dinghy with a powerful outboard motor) and shot off towards La Maddelena. On smooth seas, we raced along at what must have been 30 knots, both giggling with excitement. We landed at the charming town and found historic churches (Nelson was a benefactor to one of them), old taverns serving the local beer and wines, and winding streets reputedly so designed to confuse invaders.

Then off to uninhabited islands, where it is easy to find an inlet all to yourself, throw down the anchor and swim in the shockingly clear, turquoise waters. We took a picnic provided by the hotel and a bottle of wine to gently ease the afternoon away.

Back at the hotel, every day starts overlooking the tranquil sea with an al fresco breakfast, featuring everything from fresh fruit juices and homemade bread with ham and local cheeses to a full English-style fry-up, and a glass of prosecco if you fancy starting early. With the lilting sounds of the resident harpist in the background, it’s a great way to welcome a new day.

There are four restaurants at Capo d’Orso and we sampled them all, including the glorious Il Flottante – my Italian doesn’t exist but so-named, I guess, because it appears to float over the sea. Here, you eat seasonal specialities, but elsewhere, you can slum it with a piping hot pizza just out of the wood-fired oven or enjoy the freshest fish and seafood landed each morning.

Other five-star services available at Capo d’Orso include: the exclusive ‘L’Incantu’ Thalassotherapy Wellness Centre & SPA; a nine-hole pitch & putt golf course with a practice area; a charming swimming pool on the rocks with a breath-taking view; and five wooden solariums set right over the water in front of the island of Caprera.  

Our room was luxurious with high-quality products and toiletries aplenty. We had a two-level floor plan leading out to the private terrace, complete with visiting tortoise, overlooking, yes, you guessed it, the shining sea.

Throw in welcoming, smiling and helpful staff and there you are. An amazing escape from everyday reality just a two-hour flight away!

 

For more information or to book, visit delphinahotels.co.uk

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