To say that I was just a little bit delighted to be asked to review the Menzies Birmingham Stourport Manor Hotel would be somewhat of an understatement. A night away? Awesome.
The only question that remained was to bring the kids, or not to bring the kids? The grandparents, however, very kindly offered to have them for the night so that question was VERY quickly answered.
With much delight Mr B and I headed off, alone. On arrival that afternoon we received a truly lovely welcome from Ben at reception. After checking us in he really could not have been more helpful with offering to assist with bags, table reservations and even checked in with us after ten minutes or so to make sure the room was ok. I have rarely received such a warm, yet natural, welcome on a hotel visit and it really put is in a great mood at the start of our visit. Had we decided to bring the littlies along they would have been delighted to find, at reception, their own mini Tweenies-themed check in desk complete with arrivals/colouring-in book for scribbling in. A really lovely touch.
We stayed in a Superior Double Room and I must say that it was more than spacious. I have two main requirements from any hotel that I stay in, cleanliness and comfort. This room, and the nicely fitted en-suite bathroom, were absolutely spotless and more than comfortable. As well as the bedroom we also had an adjoining ‘sofa room,’ with sofa-bed, chair, coffee table and TV that would have had more than enough room for the littlies and adequate room for a cot alongside the sofa bed.
After settling in and unpacking Mr B and I headed downstairs. We decided to make the most of our brief respite from parenting with himself opting to read the paper, uninterrupted, with a pint in the bar. The bar and lounges were extremely comfortable, snug with plenty of warm open fires, and also offer free Wi-Fi to guests throughout the hotel, a must for me.
Leaving himself comfortably ensconced on a sofa I headed downstairs to the Waves Health Club, attached to the hotel. This boasts an extremely well equipped cardiovascular gym, free-weights and resistance room, pool with attached paddling pool for little ones, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. I COULD have worked out…but instead chose to plonk myself in the jacuzzi after a few lazy laps of the pool and I was in HEAVEN.
Now some of you may be wondering why I bothered to take a photo of the hair-dryers in the women’s changing room. This actually really made me smile. Can you see those small blue plaques above the plug switches? No? Well here is a closer look…
I imagine many women, just like myself, are not at our most body-confident in our gym-gear or swimming costumes and this really gave me a boost. Another really lovely touch I thought.
So far so brilliant.
Ashamedly, having delayed dinner until 8pm so that I could watch the Strictly Come Dancing dance-off, we headed down to our table in the hotel restaurant. And this is where things get a little tricky. We truly had such a good stay I really hoped for this review to be entirely positive but I have promised that I will always be 100% honest and this is where things went slightly downhill.
On being shown to our table we were then presented with our menu. We had also been provided with a copy on arrival which had arrived as a, badly, photocopied piece of card. I was amazed to see the same photocopies being used within the restaurant itself of a 4 star hotel.
That being said, we eagerly placed our order and there was plenty that we both liked to choose from. For starter I chose the French onion soup, enhanced with garlic and Guiness and a cheese crouton. Sadly, it was inedible. It had been so over-reduced that it was salty beyond belief and the crouton had not so much as waved at a grill and floated, soggily, as a rather uninspiring lump of bread atop. I wish I had ordered Mr B’s antipasti which he thoroughly enjoyed.
For mains I had breast of chicken, dauphinois potato and red cabbage and Mr B had a steak. My chicken was slightly overcooked, potatoes slightly undercooked, but on the whole was really nice in flavour. Mr B’s steak, ordered rare, arrived medium, but he informs me was tasty and tender nonetheless. Pudding was awesome. I had a beautiful cheeseboard with, truly, the tastiest curry-infused chutney that I have EVER experienced and Mr B had a beautiful vanilla cheesecake with winter berry compote.
After dinner, we retired to one of the cosy lounge areas and snuggled up by an open fire for a digestif, after which we retired. And slept like logs. That bed was seriously comfortable!
So, my only criticism, and it pains me to do so as we had such a lovely stay, was the quality of food within the restaurant. Otherwise The Stourport Manor offers wonderful, comfortable, stylish and spotless accommodation. The staff are some of the nicest I have ever encountered.
Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely, to both couples and families alike. It offers a warm and cosy retreat during the colder months and also boasts beautiful gardens, complete with tennis courts, for enjoyment in the spring and summer months.
Would I eat there again? Probably. I think things could easily improve and the puddings were delightful.
Disclosure: We were provided with a Superior Double Room, three course dinner and breakfast within the Stourport Manor free of charge for the purpose of this review.