TripAdvisor ( Unsolicited Review) : Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa Warwickshire CV8 3FW

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

                                                                                                              Hotel main entrance and reception

(Please note – click on any image to view an enlarged version )

I am by trade , a wedding, social and corporate event  photographer , and  think, regrettably ,  as a nation,  we tend  to give feed back only when we have a complaint and  rarely volunteer an opinion when people meet or excel our expectations in the services they provide and deserve public acknowledgement.  I am writing this simply because this hotel met and exceeded my expectations on an occasion when I was due to attend a family wedding in Stratford on Avon with my partner, her eldest  son, his partner and our toddler  granddaughter . He’d booked us in to the Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel  partly because it is quite near to  another picturesque Warwickshire village ,Wolston,  where we would gather at my partner’s brother’s cottage to make our way to Stratford for the big day.  But also he had done some internet review research and made some price comparisons and wanted somewhere  special as it was part of a milestone family occasion.

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

He picked us up from the railway station in Coventry and drove us through some lovely countryside on to Brandon where we all stayed . (He and his young family for a few nights and myself and my partner  just the one night  because of other family commitments )

We turned from a leafy lane, entered the hotel grounds via a wooded private driveway past an electronic security barrier and were immediately taken by the  tree-lined serenity of the hotel site  set in huge swathes of recently mown lawns  with open fields and woodlands beyond and beautifully maintained borders and shrubs around the main buildings.

Foyer furnishings

Foyer furnishings 1

We parked in front of the main very human scale building, with a wide and impressive front elevation  with the look and feel of a well  maintained  opulent family country house.  Walking through the welcoming  foyer with a large  period decorated bar to the left, and a conference room to the right and with a  range of original large oil paintings, lovely antique furnishings – down a couple of steps  to the reception desk .

 

Receptionist Rona at your service

Reception

Foyer furnishings 2

Foyer furnishing

 

 

Clear and prominent  hand painted signage makes it easy to find your way round

Clear and prominent hand painted signage makes it easy to find your way round

So easy to find our way to our room  through a range of well signaged  corridors , fine art  framed prints on the walls and further period antiques on display at every turn. The luxury carpeting on all the shared  walkways looked as if it had been laid the day before.

Corridor furnishings (1)

Corridor furnishings

Not one of the bigger double rooms on offer but immediately impressed with the design and  welcoming feel , the huge comfy double bed, state of the art flat screen TV and impeccable en suite white tiled bathroom with loo, bath and integrated shower.

biggest and most comfy bed I've ever slept in !

biggest and most comfy bed I’ve ever slept in !

spotless bathroom (1)

spotless bathroom

shower and bath

shower and bath

Search of the ample wardrobe and there was an  ironing board and iron  plus electric kettle, cups and saucers and a large  ebony box containing complementary coffee, tea, biscuits and extra hand towels beneath.

Little extras in the wardrobe

Little extras in the wardrobe

 

Expansive desk with table lamp, customary guide books , menus and important other hotel and local  information, a large drawer with hair dryer and up to date county magazine. Bedside tables, one  with phone, note pad and pen.

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

 

Very substantial curtains , essentially when closed blackouts so no chance of outside light disturbing your sleep but best set your alarm or ask for a call from reception lest you miss dawn’s light which won’t make it through those curtains!

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

 

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

After we’d freshened up we chilled on the lawn, served with  coffee for me and an OJ for my partner from the Bewick Bar, a  period decorated bar I mentioned earlier with French window access to outside ,  while my partner’s son took daughter for a swim in the Spa, a separate modern new building a less than minutes walk down the path from the main hotel.

my partner & her son enjoying refreshments on the lawn outside the Beswich bar

my partner & her son enjoying refreshments on the lawn outside the Bewick bar

(I should point out as he told me that hotel guests do not have all day access to the Spa pool and you need to check with hotel reception what times it is open to guests.)

Modern new fitness and health spa building adjacent to the main hotel with swimming pool which hotel can use.

Modern new fitness and health spa building adjacent to the main hotel with swimming pool which hotel guests can use.

(The only thing I saw out of place throughout our stay, and I’m a smoker,  was , sitting outside , enjoying my coffee and using the ashtray on the table provided, under it , on the grass,  were a number of cigarette ends people had thrown down and couldn’t believe it and the disrespect it signalled for all the effort clearly put in by staff here to make it the perfect place to stay.)

Not only am I a photographer but also a keen gardener and just sitting there I actually found it hard to believe that the grounds, the borders, the flowers in such a large space could be in such meticulously maintained condition especially in the sweltering heat we have had in the past few weeks.

so many little spots in the  ground to relax and enjoy the surroundings

so many little spots in the grounds to relax and enjoy the surroundings

 

I am commissioned to cover weddings and social events at a range of venues in Cheshire and Greater Manchester to suit a variety of budgets and this place could match and trump any top-end  country house venue I have worked at but I have rarely seen a venue’s grounds offering so many splendid backgrounds and views.

Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa

My job also makes me incredibly observant of fine details and yet inside , in our room, along the corridors and communal spaces  hard to find a single blemish. We had heard about the hotel’s reputation for gourmet food in its main restaurant but that evening we had been booked into a pub restaurant in a nearby village by my partner’s brother so missed that opportunity. However, the next morning we breakfasted in the  hotel’s main restaurant , the Clarendon.

Fresh fruit juice bar

Fresh fruit juice bar

In my job and as an occasional tourist, I have stayed in a number of UK and European hotels from budget to five star and I can honestly say that the range of options of  English and continental  breakfast items, hot or cold,  the quality and the presentation matches the very best and exceeds most I have ever  stayed in.

Cereals  bar

Cereals bar

 

Breads and unique auto toaster

Breads and unique auto toaster

 

fresh hot English breakfast elements

fresh hot English breakfast elements bar

All help -yourself but just fresh tea or  coffee supplied by a couple of courteous and discreet waiting professionals also eager, from our experience, to make sure all our needs were met especially  for our young granddaughter.

Breakfast table setting for one.

Breakfast table setting for one.

 

I had already taken a number of photos around the hotel for my own pleasure but I’m also cheeky and asked the “maître d”   if I could be allowed to take a few discreet shots in the breakfast area as it was such a lovely spot and wanted to share my appreciation of all the effort (with my on line friends)  that had clearly gone in here and around the hotel to ensure you had a great stay.

Ornate mirrors-wall display in Bewick restaurant

Ornate mirrors-wall display in Bewick restaurant

 

I also asked the receptionist , when giving in the  keys , if she would mind me taking a few shots of her at her desk and she was charming about that. All the staff I encountered were friendly, polite, helpful and professional, and that includes the grounds men and the cleaning staff.

Way back in my early days as  professional educator the staff were given the rare  luxury of a weekend training conference at a bespoke country house hotel in my region and I noted that this Warwickshire  rural hotel and spa caters for corporate conferences with I think ten dedicated function rooms and looking back , I’d take it that, if my company or place of work  hosted a conference at a location like this I’d know that I was really appreciated and valued. Many of us travel for work or pleasure and depending on location and available budget, in the main often it can be just a base and somewhere to stay but our expectations have been raised in the last few decades and for example, we have seen major improvements in what was , in the past , a less than perfect UK hospitality industry. There isn’t perhaps usually a vast difference in the quality and features of most decent reasonably priced  hotel rooms these days and for example most of the better known chains match each other in that regard but essentially they are dormitories and you’d willingly pay a little extra for something beyond the norm and the Brandon is great value for money given it is an experience in its own right , way beyond just a place to sleep for the night.

Receptionist , front of house Rona so typical of the friendly and professional staff at the Hall.

Receptionist , front of house, Rona so typical of the friendly and professional staff at the Hall.

Looking back, for me,  the  Brandon Hall had more the feel of a welcoming country retreat or rural resort and left me wandering about the UK’s hotel star rating system that almost underestimates or “damns” it with the faint praise at  four stars as I can’t think of anything during my stay that needed addressing or could be improved.

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