Top tributes to music icons help make for a relaxing luxury weekend at Heythrop Park in the Cotswolds
The drive’s length just about sums up Heythrop Park's splendour. With a choice of three restaurants, a selection of elegant lounge areas, two theatre-sized entertainment venues, a luxurious spa and an 18-hole golf course it's no wonder many consider this to be the flagship in Warner's fleet.
Heythrop is a Grade II*-listed Italian Baroque country house near Chipping Norton dating back 300 years. It makes an ideal base for exploring Oxfordshire and the region’s honey stone architecture and culture.
Blenheim Palace is only 15 minutes away from Heythrop, and on our way down from South Yorkshire we stopped off at the pretty villages of Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow on the World and the idyllic, picturesque Bourton on the Water - all just a short drive away from the venue.
The largest hotel in WLH's repertoire, Heythrop boasts 337 rooms - 13 cosy, 128 standard, 156 deluxe and 40 superior rooms and suites. Wherever you walk, opulence abounds with so many elegant and tasteful lounge rooms in which to read, enjoy a drink, or simply relax.
Relaxing is a big part of the ethos here, but then there is also so much to do. For the sporty types rifle shooting and archery are included in the price, as is the spa area, with a gym, 20m-long pool, two deliciously-warm outdoor hot tubs and a steam room and sauna.
It's here where for an extra fee you can indulge in some luxury spa treatments including massages, facials and manicures. We plumped for the Energy Booster back leg and foot energiser and the Go in Strength leg arm and shoulder massage (both £40 for 40 mins) in the expert hands of Chloe and Zoe. So relaxing I had to be gently prodded when it ended!
With snooker, table tennis, bowls, croquet, board games and daily activities like quizzes to mention but a few there's everything to keep the active busy, along with other experiences like cocktail-making and tea-tasting sessions at an extra cost.
With an 18-hole championship golf course partnered with a driving range, dedicated facilities, and a small pro shop, you might consider spending your next holiday combining your love of golf and Warner.
Choose from either a two-night break with three rounds of golf included or a one-night break with two rounds included, plus all the usual benefits of breakfast, dinner, activities and evening entertainment too.
There are three dining venues which you can choose/mix and match as per your wishes and all are included within your package.
Brasserie32 in the manor house serves breakfast and dinner menus and champions British heritage recipes and traditional ingredients from the 1900s in an elegant setting with an outdoor terrace. Hospitable table service makes it even more of an occasion.
The Travelling Duke Pub & Kitchen is a pub-style eatery serving British classics and local drinks, while The Market Kitchen in the Orangery serves breakfast and three-course evening meals with buffet and à la carte waiter service.
We dined in all three and found each to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There are too many delicious dishes to mention all, but we enjoyed succulent steaks, copious carveries, fantastic full Englishes and reassuringly indulgent puddings to die for. To give you an idea of drinks prices a bottle of Blass chardonnay costs £26, a pint of Guinness is £5.75 and cocktails cost £9.25.
We also enjoyed an amazing afternoon tea (£45 for two) in the delightful Wedgewood Room with views over the rolling Cotswolds countryside as we enjoyed a choice of teas, crustless savoury sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes and puddings. So much, be prepared to ask for a doggy bag to have later with a cuppa.
What I particularly enjoyed at Heythrop was the entertainment. It was a Festival Icons weekend with wonderful tributes to George Michael, Rod Stewart, Dionne Warwick, Spandau Ballet and Bon Jovi/Bryan Adams, and the super Saturday and Sunday headline act tributes to Queen and Elton John respectively.
All were amazing and enjoyed by appreciative audiences, but it was the two venues which especially turned my head. With such theatre-sized auditoriums if felt very much like the experience I've enjoyed before on cruises.
Last but not least I must applaud the amazingly attentive, professional and ever-smiling staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble. This was a wonderful weekend of sheer, unadulterated luxury and relaxation in one of the most beautiful regions of the UK.
Prices for a three-night weekend Live entertainment break with bed, breakfast, three-course evening meals, nightly entertainment and activities at Heythrop Park start from £429pp in June and July, £439 in August, or from £349pp for three nights beginning on Sundays.
Golfing packages in June start from £164 pp for one night and £279pp for two nights.
Visit www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk for more details.