It’s been more than a year since the husband and I went out for dinner just the two of us. I know you’re meant to do these things a lot as grown-ups – I read the same late-night posts on Scary Mommy as you, and I know ‘date nights’ are what keep toddler-tired marriages ticking along.
But two kids, self-employment, and a fondness for going out with friends means we just never get around to it these days. And things hit an all-time low when we skipped our annual wedding anniversary meal back in March (first world problems, I know, but still).
On the plus side, though, it meant escaping to a posh hotel for the night a few weeks back – sans kids – was doubly exciting, even if it was actually for work. We packed our bags and set off for the Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa in Leamington Spa, marveling at how easy it used to be to leave the house minus the contents of Toys R Us.
Then we stocked up on petrol station snacks and settled in for the hour-long ride listening to something other than Ed Sheeran – AKA the four-year-old’s only car music of choice.
Arriving at the Mallory Court Country House Hotel
Mallory Court is grand from the off – an elegant country house surrounded by neatly manicured greenery and formal gardens, it ticks the ‘let’s stay somewhere special’ box right from the start. There’s even valet parking available if you want to push the boat out; we parked our grubby Focus next to some ultra-shiny cars and headed straight in.
Inside, the main building is home to the reception, lounge area, and the fine dining restaurant where we’d booked to eat later on. We were given our keys and escorted over to the newest section of the hotel – Orchard House and the Elan Spa – which opened in April opposite the main building.
Elan Spa at the Mallory Court Hotel
The Elan Spa is the first spa to be built in Warwickshire in a decade, with bedrooms and a breakfast restaurant in the same building as the spa itself. Built from scratch, this part of the hotel is much more modern in style – the smell of fresh paint and new carpets still hung in the air, and the decor has a contemporary feel.
We walked up a couple of flights of stairs to find our room, which was nice and big, decked out in a neutral palette of greys, and next to a large and rather gorgeous bathroom. The gentleman showing us around kindly asked us not to mistake the red bottle of cordial on the desk for wine, as per a previous guest, then left us to it. We had a little nose around, got changed into our swimwear, and went straight down to the spa.
With the Elan Spa being so new, it was gloriously quiet – we were the only people there for most of the time. There’s a swimming pool that shimmers with pearlescent mosaic tiles, plus a small sauna and steam room and plenty of loungers by the pool.
Outside, we discovered a hot tub sunk into the patio as well as another sauna and outdoor shower. We whiled away a couple of hours and I uploaded far too many gloating pics of my feet in the pool to Instagram. (#soblessed).
That evening, we went down for dinner in the fine dining restaurant, which turned out to be the highlight of our stay. Once you’ve been suitably relaxed and pampered in the spa, you absolutely must undo all that healthy goodness with a slap-up meal and bottle of wine in here.
The room itself is all oak-panelled walls, flocked carpets and voluminous swag curtains. We were slightly worried that my husband was in jeans, but glad he’d brought along a shirt and jacket: this is definitely a dress-up-for-dinner kind of place.
And it’s only right, when you try the food. I’m not one to gush about meals – I’m no connoisseur – but this one really was the best I’ve had in years. The set menu offered two options per course, and the pork assiette (yes, I had to surreptitiously Google it) was mind-blowingly good. I wasn’t convinced the tiny gourmet portions would fill me up, but everything was so rich it worked perfectly. We followed it up with cheese and biscuits, then moved out to the lounge for coffee and petit fours.
The next morning, we tested out the new restaurant in Orchard House, which served a proper English breakfast and the creamiest scrambled egg I’ve ever tasted. I settled in for the ESPA back, face and scalp treatment in the spa (85 minutes of bliss – I’d highly recommend it) and there was just enough time to squeeze in another swim and a bit more Instagramming before the journey home.
The verdict: would we come back?
Mallory Court turned out to be the perfect place for a romantic retreat, especially as our dinner date was so overdue. My one and only niggle was the noise from the wedding party over in the main building late into the evening, so it may be worth checking if there’s a wedding on if that’s likely to bother you (and if you’re having your wedding here, you’re in for a treat).
As for me, it made me think back to my own wedding and the dancefloor I barely wanted to leave. Next year we’ll try harder not to miss our anniversary meal. In fact, we may well have to come back here.
Disclosure: the hotel kindly hosted us for the night in return for an honest review. As usual, all opinions are my own.
Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa, near Leamington Spa, is part of the Eden Hotel Collection, a privately-owned portfolio of nine beautiful properties in the UK. Facilities at the brand-new luxury Elan Spa include an outdoor vitality pool, glazed outdoor sauna, Rhassoul mud room, seven treatment rooms, indoor Hydro pool, sauna, steam room and gym. The range of ila, ESPA and ORLY treatments includes the 85-minute ESPA Back, Face & Scalp Treatment (Hero Treatment) priced at £95.
There are 12 luxurious new spa bedrooms, in addition to the existing 31 bedrooms in the main hotel. You can stay overnight from £169 per room (two sharing), including a full English breakfast. Call Mallory Court on 01926 330 214 or visit www.mallory.co.uk.