IF you’re searching for a little bit of luxury without travelling too far, look no further than Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa.
The four-star country house in Leicestershire – just off the M69 – has a historic exterior, but when you step through the doors you’re pulled right back to the 21st century.
It’s a perfect blend of old and new, keeping some of the old wooden features but with luxurious sofas and huge mirrors.
The spa is tastefully decorated in the style of an old Roman baths and is somewhere you can easily while away a few hours. It comes complete with gym, sauna and steam room, along with a pool which has been warmed to the perfect temperature. It’s always nice to step in for a swim without recoiling because it’s so cold. And if you did need warming up, the jacuzzi is easily the hottest I have been in – which was fine by me.
The hotel offers spa day packages complete with treatments including facials, manicures and massages. I opted for a massage and left feeling completely relaxed – luckily we had a room in the hotel where I could have a rest before dinner.
The rooms are stunning, with sleek wood panelling and overlooking the countryside. Ours came with a huge bed, which was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in.
We made our way down to dinner in a room just off the recently-revamped bar.
If you do choose to eat in the dining room I would suggest putting on an extra layer as it was very cold. I had a jacket but many of the diners asked to move away from the windows as it was chilly.
The waitress also forgot our drinks but another was quick to rectify the situation when we informed them.
All was forgotten by the time dinner arrived – I plumped for a tomato, mozzerella and rocket salad which did not disappoint. It came in a tortilla bowl, with the delicious cheese so delicate and soft you could literally spread it onto the crunchy tortilla.
My mum – who I had taken along for the stay – went for a crab and crayfish tian, which was brimming with shellfish and seasoned perfectly.
For main I went for a oyster mushroom gnocchi. The pasta was homemade and swimming in a delicious creamy, herb sauce. The mushrooms were plentiful and cooked perfectly.
Mum opted for the roast rump of lamb, which she said was cooked beautifully but was a little fatty.
We were already full, but decided to throw caution to the window and have pudding. We shared the chocolate brownie, which was the perfect mix of crunchy exterior and gooey filling, and the cheeseboard – which is a must. It came with five different local and European cheeses, homemade chutney and a selection of crackers – always a nice surprise as so many eateries let themselves down with just a handful of water biscuits.
And breakfast is an equally delicious affair.
It is a buffet style with an impressive full English breakfast selection which chefs ensured was constantly topped-up. Fresh fruit and mini-pastries were a welcome addition, especially after eating so much the previous night.
If you’re looking for somewhere to recuperate and rest, whether for a day in the spa or overnight stay in the hotel, Sketchley Grange is the ideal choice.
The house is surrounded by beautiful walks and the rich heritage of Leicestershire is within driving distance.
Visit sketchleygrangehotel.co.uk to find out more.