The house and grounds are breathtaking. The location has vast open vistas which are utterly lovely. The house is welcoming and immensely grand at the same time. It was lovely just to wander and explore. There are very pretty and rambling gardens, and a full scale church in the grounds. The nearby fitness centre looks to be very well-appointed, with treatment rooms incorporated into the elegant old stable block, and including a studio and gym. The pool is not in the fitness centre – it’s in the main house, and after we looked at it, we decided not to use it. It was not of a very good standard and the chlorine smell and the heat were overpowering. It looked distinctly unappealing.
We had a twin room (Peacock) on the 3rd (top) floor, in the roof space. It is a lovely, pretty room, with views to the front and side of the house. The ragged and stained blinds, and the stained headboards let the room down – and this could be easily remedied with replacement toning items. There are no tea/coffee making facilities in the room – take a travel kettle! A small decanter of sloe gin was placed in the room, which was a nice touch, although somewhat spoiled by the warning notice that one would be charged £48 (or something), if the decanter were to be taken away. I prefer country house hotels to be notice-free – (e.g. Cowley Manor does this perfectly). The towels and robes looked grubby. Another niggle: Housekeeping re-folded our towels on the rail after we had used them, so we didn’t know which towel belonged to which person, which was slightly disconcerting, and unnecessary.
There is a lift – but it is rather tucked away – near the kitchen. It has old-fashioned concertina metal doors and would be dangerous for children to use. I have to mention that we really didn’t like the colour and design of the carpet on the stairs and landings – huge gold curlicues on a green background – rather like a cinema, and which made one feel quite dizzy and prone to missing one’s step – and there are many steps to the 3rd Floor.
We had dinner on the first evening. The waiting staff are professional but not friendly. The advertised complimentary canapés and drinks in the bar pre-dinner turned out to be 3 rather unsophisticated rice balls (one each!) and any drinks had to be paid for. A pint glass of a rather insipid soda and lime cordial (with no discernible lime cordial in it) cost a staggering £5.50. The main dining room, sadly, does not have a pleasant ambience. The room should be fabulous, with its carvings by Grinling Gibbons, and beautiful mouldings. However, the lighting is too bright; the clashing fabrics of the furnishings (especially the chairs) and the worst kind of musak coming from a small CD player near where we were sitting, made it rather like being in a cafeteria. My friend asked for the musak to be turned off, or down, about 4 times, but every time someone turned it down, someone else came along and turned it back up. Despite the advertised dress code, there were people in T-shirts and trainers, and children running about. One small boy managed to set his hair on fire from the candle on our table! The smell of burnt hair did not add to the ambience. Fortunately, the boy was unharmed. My friends enjoyed their meal choices, but my duck was rather fussy and didn’t taste very fresh. We all agreed that the quinoa starter’s delicate flavours were overpowered by very bitter and overly strong raw onion. However, the desserts were delicious. The portions were small. Many of the dishes involved paying a supplement for those on package deals, which was off-putting. We saw other people eating items such as Spaghetti Bolognese, which were not on the menu. Our dinner was included in the package (Secret Escapes) yet the prices of the items were added onto the bill (a friend who lives locally joined us for dinner) and a 10% service charge was levied on everything, which meant that we were expected to pay a service charge on items that had actually been part of a package. In fairness, this was removed when we queried it. We ate at a local pub on the second evening.
The breakfasts were very good quality, although the cooked items had deteriorated – e.g. the bacon was leathery, and the eggs were tough, from being kept warm in the large roll-top warming dishes. There was a fair choice of fruit and the usual accompaniments, although items were left to run out and not replenished.
Newspapers were advertised as complimentary, but were charged at £1 each day.
Overall, despite some misgivings, we really enjoyed our brief stay. It is a truly lovely place, but certain aspects need tweaking to bring the hotel up to a standard more befitting this glorious establishment.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in 500 acres, Stapleford Park offers a wide variety of country pursuits and leisure activities including shooting, riding and falconry. And after a day in the fresh country air, our house guests and members always look forward to a delicious, freshly prepared evening meal in one of our dining rooms and a night cap in the library. Our luxurious bedrooms, all individually designed, guarantee a good night’s sleep in style. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Stapleford Park Hotel Stapleford
- Stapleford Park Melton Mowbray