Twin Bath Luxury in the Sunset at Bishopstrow Park:
There’s no denying that all of us who contribute to Fiona’s blog love food, wine, theatre, exhibitions, and music; everything that London has in abundance. But sometimes, it’s nice to escape the noise, pace of life, and frankly poor air quality and head out of the city to somewhere more tranquil where there is a chance to relax. The invitation to review Bishopstrow Hotel was the perfect opportunity to do just that. Owned by the Longleat estate, it’s not too far from Longleat House and the Safari park, and indeed offers a package to combine a stay with a visit to the Safari park.
I took the afternoon off work and we drove south past Stonehenge, which is always a breathtaking sight. We arrived at the hotel around 6, were warmly greeted, and had the rare experience of having our bags carried to the room, where we were left with a cryptic comment of “Wait until you see behind the bed”. I didn’t really think anything of it, until I went to the bathroom and commented that for such a large room it was odd that there was only the walk in shower, then I saw behind the bed! I don’t think I could think of anything much more romantic than bathing side by side whilst the sun set; which is exactly what we did. (And no, there isn’t a photo of us in the baths, although one photo was taken from that viewpoint!)
Refreshed, we went down to one of the lounges and enjoyed a quiet drink whilst perusing the menu, our orders were taken in the lounge which meant that service flowed very smoothly in the dining room. There was a fabulous log fire in the lounge we were in, and I could just imagine sitting there with good book on a winter’s day. That was before I discovered the spa facilities!
We ate in the Mulberry Restaurant, the more formal of the two available dining spaces, the other being the conservatory. Having said that, there was nothing stiff or stuffy about the restaurant, and we felt welcomed and very comfortable. The food was beautifully presented, but we did feel that parts of the meal didn’t live up to the visual promise. For example, the bread had a curious powdery texture.
My partner had pork belly to start and I had tuna. Both looked an absolute picture on the plate, I would have preferred a little more punch to the wasabi, soy and ginger dressing with mine. It was a very generously sized piece of tuna, and would probably have suited me for a main course!
For mains I chose the duck breast with a blackcurrant jus, which for my palate was rather bland. I would have liked something a bit sharper to cut through the taste of the duck. Of course taste is something quite personal, so perhaps the food was intended to cater for a different palate. My partner had hay smoked rack of lamb, which was perfectly cooked.
We were both too full for dessert! We had a perfect nights sleep in the very comfortable and very large bed.
In the morning we breakfasted in the conservatory, on a warmer day it would have been lovely to enjoy it at one of the outside tables. The breakfast consisted of a continental selection of pastries, yoghurt, fresh fruits and cereals, followed by a choice of cooked breakfasts. My partner had the “Full Wiltshire”, which was declared very good, especially the sausage and local bacon. For me though, the scrambled egg was a bit over-cooked.
We then returned to our room, and donned robes and slippers and made our way to the spa, which is included in the room rate. After the breakfast we’d had, I was worried about swimming, but the indoor pool was so well heated that I couldn’t resist. There is also an outdoor pool, heated to the same temperature. We followed this with a session in the sauna, and then into the spa showers with some really fun settings; my favourite was the Caribbean Storm complete with thunder, lightening, but ending in a cold drenching!
I then treated myself to a beauty treatment. I’m normally very cynical about claims made to reduce/eliminate lines, but my goodness it really worked, and over a week later is still working. I couldn’t recommend this more highly!
We had a little wander around the extensive grounds before leaving. In addition to the outdoor pool, there’s a tennis court, and in season you can borrow fishing rods to chance your luck at catching a trout.
This is certainly the perfect getaway location; with the most minor of changes to the food it could be truly outstanding.
Disclaimer: We were guests of the hotel and received our accommodation and food courtesy of Bishopstrow. We paid for our drinks, spa treatment, and gratituties.
The Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa