You could have the best food, nicest rooms, and most amazing service on the market, but if the singers sound like Vic Reeves doing his pub singer routine, your weekend is all but ruined.
Thankfully, all of the vocalists at this Cheshire Warner Leisure Hotel had powerful and unique voices, harmonised sweetly with one other, and were superbly supported by the talented in-house musicians. It was obvious they were all carefully hand-picked to deliver the best for guests – and there you have the company’s ethos in a nutshell. Customer delight.
This was a weekend of luxury, indulgence, amazing service from a professional, courteous and attentive hotel team and a programme scaled from pure relaxation right up to activity central – it’s up to guests to determine where the slider stops.
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We chose somewhere in between, taking up the offer of the crossbow shooting activity, though we could have also aimed for the bullseyes on the archery and rifle ranges too – all included in the price.
A bit of swimming in the excellent leisure centre – a 20m straight up-and-down rectangle pool with no obstacles to navigate around – and relaxing in the steam room and the jacuzzi, were all part of our fantastic weekend.
For an extra cost it’s well worth taking advantage of the excellent Temple Spa. I had a wonderful and relaxing Energy Booster back, leg and foot massage (£40 for 40 mins) while my wife enjoyed a stimulating but soothing facial costing £35 for 25 mins.
A Grade II listed Victorian property, Alvaston Hall is a half-timbered country house that can be traced back thousands of years to when it was the home of a Saxon farmer named Aelfgar. It has a pin-drop peaceful setting with its award-winning landscaped gardens.
It is situated just five minutes’ drive from the quaint and historic riverside town of Nantwich, and about seven minutes from Crewe in the other direction for those seeking a bit of retail therapy, with the beautiful Roman-walled city of Chester around 35 minutes away by car.
Nearby open spaces include National Heritage site Queens Park (10 mins by car), Trentham Gardens – the size of Monaco! - with its floral labyrinth and award-winning Italian gardens (30mins) and Tatton Park, bigger than New York’s Central Park! (40mins).
We arrived for our three-night weekend stay on Friday before the 3pm check-in time so opted to sample the deliciously-sounding afternoon tea, priced at £35 for two. We were not to be disappointed.
With delicate but scrumptiously-filled sandwiches, scones, strawberries and jam with clotted cream aplenty, we found we couldn’t eat all the other mouth-watering cakes included in one sitting – so a few found their way back to our room to have later with a cuppa.
Breakfast and evening meals are included in the price and are served in the impressive Market Hall Kitchen, one of only a few Warner Leisure Hotels to have a ‘cabaret dining’ experience.
Here you are allocated your own table throughout your stay where you can eat and be simultaneously entertained in the evening by an end-of-dinner vocalist and then later when the evening’s main act appears.
Table service is still in operation for the most part for everyone’s safety – and indeed all staff wear masks still – but there is a fine choice of exquisite dishes for guests on offer with a different menu each night as is a different carvery option, where you are invited to the serving area to help yourselves.
During our stay were were treated to some excellent entertainment on the vast stage by the aforementioned lauded in-house team, but were blown away by the Saturday night headliners, The Feeling, who are more used to the big arena venues than this intimate setting, but nevertheless pulled off a powerhouse performance for an appreciative audience.
Warner Leisure Hotels are no strangers when it comes to attracting big-name acts, with Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden’s Boyzlife, Dr Hook starring Dennis Locorriere and even TV’s Hairy Bikers appearing at Alvaston Hall over the next few months.
On our last night we dined in the delightful Cheshire Barn Pub & Kitchen which has a set a la carte menu differing from the Market Kitchen’s fare.
Here amongst the pictures of chickens and pieces of machinery (it actually was a barn!) we indulged in the generous chorizo and halloumi skewers, patatas bravas and salt and pepper squid for starters, followed by a juicy sirloin steak and panko-crumbed chicken Milanese for mains. We were too full for desserts, and had to reluctantly decline on the sticky toffee pudding and crème brulee we had planned for – just two of the many fine sweets on offer.
When booking your stay you can choose which of the eateries you want on any given night at no extra cost – and your Market Kitchen table will still be waiting for you for the evening’s show!
So with Christmas just around the corner, have anything planned? Martini and Mistletoe breaks are pre-Christmas breaks at Warner's country castles and manors that make the most of the beautiful settings.
Outside, it’s about strolls in the estate's parklands and heritage gardens, then back to snug terraces and fire pits. Indoors, days relaxing poolside or by a fire lead towards early evening acoustic sets, candlelight quartets and cocktail and canapé demos – and tastings!
And then it's on to nights of celebration dinners, movies, choirs and big production shows with the bar open late. Perfect for luminous party nights and a winter pick-me-up. Included in these four-night break prices (additional to the usual breaks) are a celebration dinner, candlelight quartets, Spirit of Christmas concert, festive cocktail-making and food demos, festive cinema classics, a showing of The Nutcracker and choir workshops.
It’s therefore not surprising that Alvaston Hall appears on the coveted list of the top 10% of hotels worldwide with TripAdvisor naming it a 2020 Travellers’ Choice™ winner based on guest ratings.
For us, a fantastic weekend that will live long in the memory.
With prices starting from £269pp, more details can be found at www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk