[AD – Gifted] This was a complimentary stay in exchange for a full review. All photos and opinions are my own!
Nothing says having a relaxing weekend other than escaping from reality and getting away than a weekend at Whittlebury Hall Hotel.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Nicole, you literally live 5 minutes up the road… why on earth did you go and stay so close to home?
Because I truly believe wherever you go, whether it’s 5 minutes, 5 miles or 5 hours… you go away to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to revitalise and on this occasion, to indulge in good food.
Josh and I have had a very busy few weeks what with moving into our house, getting settled and we’ve had some other personal bits and bobs crop up, so when Whittlebury Hall Hotel invited us to experience their Gourmet Getaway, one of their exclusive hotel packages, we couldn’t turn it down – it was well worth the wait and was well needed.
According to their website, the Gourmet Getaway is guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds and is specifically for the foodies out there – this sounds pretty accurate!
The Gourmet Getaway includes full use of the Leisure Club from arrival, including the pool, saunas and the Terrace Restaurant if you’re looking for a light bite or drink. A three-course meal at Murray’s Restaurant, a restful night’s sleep in a club double or twin room followed by a Full English breakfast the next day.
It was an experience we were most looking forward to. Here is what we thought of our time at Whittlebury Hall Hotel overall…
Arriving and relaxing
Josh and I took a very brief drive (literally, so brief it took 5 minutes!) to Whittlebury Hall Hotel. It may had been a rainy day, but we didn’t care, the hotel was standing proudly and we knew we’d be unwinding inside their facilities.
Although we arrived a tad earlier than anticipated and since our room wasn’t going to be ready until 4pm, we were able to use the Leisure Club facilities whilst we waited, which was great, because it meant we had plenty of time to unwind.
Although it’s a tad confusing where you go for what, there are plenty of helpful people around to ask if you need assistance; I found Leanne, one of the Spa ladies, very helpful and accomodating!
It was definitely a great way to start the weekend, as we ventured into the pool area, found some seats and were able to switch off completely with our books, have a swim and a go at the Saunas – I felt like I was walking on Cloud 9 after leaving.
It was nice to have this as an option and we even purchased some lunch to enjoy afterwards in the Terrace Restaurant followed by drinks in the Silverstone Bar – you never feel like you have nothing to do at Whittlebury, as there’s plenty of places to explore, relax and eat at.
At 3:30pm, we were able to check into our room and see what our room for the night was going to be like.
The room was incredibly spacious, light, airy and had everything we could possibly need for a comfortable night’s stay. Not only was the room spacious, but we had a glorious big window that had an awesome view overlooking the golf course – what a view!
The bathroom was nice, clean and had all the essentials for a nice bath in the evening (which I thoroughly took advantage of!) we had tea and coffee facilities, as well as a working coffee machine, a bottle of wine, bottles of water as well as snacks including Cherry bon-bons and the wardrobe space is more than enough for a night’s stay.
The bed was quite firm, so if you’re not into firm beds, this might be something to consider, but for Josh and I, we didn’t find it problematic and we slept just fine.
This was the moment I had been waiting for throughout the whole experience: dining at Murray’s restaurant.
Murray’s Restaurant is Whittlebury Hall’s award-winning fine dining restaurant which boasts two-AA rosettes, an intimate, relaxing atmosphere and a stunning Modern British menu created by Harvey Lockwood, Head Chef.
We were whisked away into a private, cosy room to start with where we were asked if we would like any pre-dinner drinks and were served a stunning display of canapes to nibble on whilst we browsed the menu – It was very clear from the off that we had entered luxury.
Our pre-dinner drinks had arrived, a Rhubarb cocktail for me and a glass of red wine for Josh, to which we were finally escorted to our table; which I must say, was a perfect spot to be seated at – right in the middle, next to a beautiful flower display, plenty of lighting thanks to the chandelier and the table itself was nice and wide, so we didn’t feel too overcrowded by other diners.
Prior to our starter, we were presented with a selection of bread, from white, granary and a cheese and onion swirl, along with a tomato Amuse-Bouche that really heightened the cheese and onion taste of the swirl when dipped in – the green tomatoes were also a nice touch.
Our starters arrived within good time and what we really appreciated was the dedication that our waitress went through to explain every single detail about our dish upon serving it – a skill that must take time to knack.
My starter was a gorgeously presented Devonshire Crab with avocado topping and granny smith apple, which fell apart from a touch of a fork and had a lovely, soft, almost tuna consistency. The sweet apple really made the dish.
Josh’s starter was a Slow Cooked Hen Egg, with baby spinach and griolle which looked neon green as soon as the sauce was poured onto the plate. However, upon tasting it, it was wholesome, with a nice flavour.
For mains, I went for something a little different… a Goats Cheese Tortellini with Jerusalem artichoke, pine nuts and rosemary with an indulgent cheese sauce for topping – this was my kind of dish as it included all the cheesy flavour I could wish for, with the crunch and unique flavour of the artichoke, mixed with the gooey goats cheese flavour, made this dish the highlight for me.
Josh’s main was the Cotswold 35 Day Aged Beef with ox cheek, fungi and sprouting broccoli which he looked to really enjoy and every bite he took looked as though he was melting in his seat.
Before we were treated to dessert, we were given a pre-dessert of a lemon cheesecake bite which was complemented with a spritz of some lemon spray, which would apparently heighten our scent and taste buds to give more of a lemon zing – whatever it did, it worked as all the zesty flavour came to life.
Then, dessert came out and mine looked like it came from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! A Passion Fruit Meringue Pie with dehydrated meringue, vanilla frozen yoghurt and lots of colourful sweets.
I loved how everything was spread out on the plate, as opposed to an actual pie: everything was so colourful and came together perfectly which made a great finishing touch to the meal.
Josh’s dessert was very impressive. A divine Carrot Cake with a non-edible flower pot for accessory and just for fun which I quickly took a photo of before it was taken away – but Josh’s words exactly were: This is the best Carrot Cake I have ever tasted – it puts all other Carrot Cakes to shame!
Finally, we were able to finish the rest of our wine, whilst we nibbled on some sweets which was laid out beautifully on some crushed nuts and consisted of a lemon macaroon, a vanilla crunch and a dark chocolate and caramel sweet.
We were constantly surprised with what came out and were left feeling completely full up!
From the moment you step in to the moment you leave, you are 100% taken care of and looked after. The service was so attentive and slick, to the point that every waitress made us feel welcome and we never felt as though we were lacking in water or wine, as they’d be there ready to pour it for us.
It’s clear Head Chef, Harvey Lockwood, has a clear vision over what he wants, how he combines flavours and textures to create a 10/10 fine dining experience.
The morning after
In the morning, we woke up feeling refreshed after having one of the best night’s sleep in a while – living on a building site, we are usually used to hearing sirens, workmen and loud building work, so it was lovely to wake up to peace and quiet.
We helped ourselves to a freshly brewed coffee from the coffee machine before making our way down to breakfast.
Breakfast is included in the Gourmet Getaway, so we made our way down at 9:00am to enjoy a big Full English breakfast served at Ashton’s restaurant.
I was quite taken aback, as this was the restaurant I found myself mostly working in when I worked as a Food & Beverage assistant back in 2010. I have to say, it’s not changed much since then, but there’s a certain Whittlebury Hall charm, character and bustling that makes this room very warm and welcoming.
As it was a Sunday morning, it was frantically busy with waiters and waitresses walking around with teapots and people gathering over to the breakfast buffet – which meant getting tea or coffee took a while, but we could forgive it slightly seeing as it was busy.
The breakfast buffet consisted of these big silver trays with stacks of sausages, rashers of bacon, a big bowl of baked beans and everything you could possibly want to set you up for the day.
There was also another table if you preferred to have a continental breakfast, which included fresh pastries, colourful slices of orange and grapefruit, fresh yoghurt and you even had a cereal bar – there was nothing Whittlebury Hall hadn’t thought of.
Overall, The Gourmet Getaway does exactly what it sets out to do = tantalize your taste buds, within a relaxing environment, with top facilities that will leave you walking away feeling totally zen.
You come away feeling satisfied and full, yet you’re left feeling hungry for more and wanting to come back straight away!
Whether you live in Northamptonshire, or not, make Whittlebury Hall your next foodie getaway!
The Gourmet Getaway at Whittlebury Hall is priced from £179 per room.