As UK staycations continue to grow in popularity, so does the inquisitive nature of visitors seeking solitude and relaxation in the English countryside. Stratford-upon-Avon is a delightful historic town, famed for being the birthplace of English playwright William Shakespeare.
The Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa, set back along a winding country road just five miles from Stratford-upon-Avon town, is a welcome find in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. This manor hotel - a unique 125-year-old property - is tucked away from the world and boasts expansive grounds, complete with an 11th century church and a listed, ornate topiary garden.
Stepping into the hotel, you are enticed by the musk of the hotel’s roaring fires and rich 16th century oak
wall paneling. A recent £5.6 million refurbishment means that guests can expect gorgeously upgraded rooms complete with rich, warm designs; welcoming guest spaces with a contemporary twist; a redesigned restaurant and bar, and a newly renovated spa and wedding venue.
The hotel’s formal conference spaces have also been refreshed, with an ambient library for guests to sneak away to, much like Shakespeare himself: it is said that this is where he wrote his famous comedy ‘As You Like It’. Artwork by Pratiksha Tayal brings a contemporary elevation to each of the rooms and has replaced the traditional paintings that previously adorned the walls, creating a soft modern finish to each space.
Many of the bedrooms have also been expertly upgraded, with a focus on sumptuous new furnishings that guarantee comfort and the feeling of historic decadence. Four-poster beds reach towards the bedrooms’ high ceilings, and the cosy period fireplaces oppose modern fabrics to ensure a blend of traditional and modern touches.
For adults, the Billesley Manor Spa promises a tranquil escape, where guests can enjoy a variety of Decléor treatments at the newly refurbished spa for the ultimate relaxation after a day spent exploring the hotel’s surrounding gardens and countryside. Guests can take a dip in the pool; relax in the steam and sauna room; revel in the seclusion with a private workout in the yoga hut, or make use of the spa’s gym facilities.
There’s not even any need to leave the grounds of the hotel, as the versatility of the Stuart Restaurant enables guests to dine here throughout the day, whether they crave a relaxed buffet breakfast; a post-spa light lunch or an indulgent themed afternoon tea. For an exclusive gastronomic and intimate evening experience, dine at the restaurant by candle-light and enjoy locally sourced produce and free flowing wine. Drawing inspiration from the romantic English landscape, historic origins and the notable voices of past and present, this dining space leaves guests feeling at one with its history.
Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa rates start from £160 per night B&B based on two people sharing, subject to availability. For more information about Billesley Manor Hotel and to book a stay, visit www.bespokehotels.com, www.billesleymanor.com
Billesley, Stratford-upon-Avon B49 6NF
By Alice Bradley