Travel-and-Leisure The Midlands claims to be the real core of the country, the place where you find what makes England tick. Much of the industrial wealth of the country is generated here. But it also has a fascinating history, and has many fine castles such as Warwick and beautiful country towns like Ludlow. The Royal Shakespeare theatre .pany is based at Stratford-on-Avon and the Peak District National Park are world-class attractions Here are the entries of three of our favourite hotels in the Midlands … Hambleton Hall, Hambleton, Rutland ‘Nothing much changes here, thank goodness,’ say trusted Guide reporters returning this year to Tim and Stefa Hart’s ‘splendid’ country house hotel (Relais & Chteaux). The setting is ‘memorable’, on a peninsula jutting into Rutland Water. ‘The staff balance professionalism with relaxed friendliness. The decor, which some might find a little traditional, is sumptuous and .fortable.’ Other praise in 2009: ‘Simply a league above the .petition: service, cooking, wine list, ambience, value are exceptional.’ Stefa Hart designed the classic interiors (fine fabrics, antiques, good paintings, open fires, flowers) with Nina Campbell. ‘Excellent’ bedrooms have ‘nice small touches like a Roberts radio’. The Croquet Pavilion suite is good for a family (children are wel.ed; the very young get an early supper). In the dining room, chef Aaron Patterson has long held a Michelin star for his seasonal cooking (‘it never disappoints’), eg, sauted scallops with onions and lemon grass sauce; loin of rabbit with pearl barley risotto. Continental breakfast, included in the price, is ‘generous: a cornucopia of fruits and cereals; hot toast and croissants just when you want them’. The bread .es from Mr Hart’s new bakery. ‘The gardens have matured and are suitably manicured, the views down to the water are superb.’ Tim Hart also owns Hart’s Hotel, Nottingham (qv). (Kate and David Wooff, Robert Gower) Wilton Court, Ross-on-Wye ‘Good room, excellent food, helpful owners.’ An endorsement this year for this small hotel on the banks of the River Wye, facing the pretty market town on the Welsh borders. The pink stone part-Elizabethan building was once a magistrates’ court (the bar is the former courthouse). It has ancient beams, leaded windows, uneven floors, a huge fireplace with its original iron grate. The owners, Helen and Roger Wynn, have filled it with curios and objets d’art from their time working (in hotels) in the Far East. Three of the traditionally furnished bedrooms face the river; others overlook the garden. An earlier visitor had an ‘enchantingly pretty’ room decorated in blue: ‘crisp cotton sheets, striped duvet; kimonos in the wardrobe’. In the eaves is a family suite with two bedrooms. The conservatory-style Mulberry restaurant has beige Lloyd Loom tables and chairs. Michael Fowler is now the chef, and we would wel.e reports on his British/European cooking (eg, carpaccio of Herefordshire beef, pickled chicory; seared tuna, Provenal vegetables). Manager Jason Davies leads a ‘helpful’ staff. Wilton Court has been given a gold award by Visit Wales (a rare accolade for a hotel five miles inside the English border). (Jamie and Wendy Woods, MW) Peacock at Rowsley Visitors this year ‘almost had to beat off offers to carry our bags’ into this former dower house for Haddon Hall. ‘Arriving late on a freezing afternoon, we were soothed by the cosiness and the warm wel.e.’ The attractive building, with a stone exterior, stands in grounds that run down to the River Derwent. Owned by Lord Edward Manners, managed by Ian and Jenni MacKenzie, it is a ‘wonderful mixture of ancient building with modern, classy interior’, says another report. ‘Our standard double bedroom, and our daughter’s single, were a blend of traditional and antique furniture with some colourful design-led pieces. Bathrooms were tiny but luxuriously appointed.’ The quietest rooms are at the rear; front ones face the busy A6 but have double-glazed windows. The evening turn-down service includes next day’s weather forecast. In the two dining rooms, which have ‘wonderful Mouseman furniture’, food was ‘stunning’. Chef Dan Smith serves modern dishes, perhaps Dorset crab, blood orange and radish salad; assiette of lamb, aubergine, chickpeas, moussaka. Traditional lunches and suppers are served in the bar. Breakfast has a good buffet: ‘plenty of cereals, good toast, croissants, pastries, waffles’; cooked costs extra. Guests can shoot on the estate, and visit Haddon Hall (50% discount). (Jenny Buckley, Celia and Peter Gregory) About the Author: 相关的主题文章: