With a name like Mallory Court, you’d expect a little grandeur. Mallory Court, you say? In Warwickshire, you say? Well now, that sounds rather splendid, doesn’t it?
And you know what? It is rather splendid. Set in no less than 10 acres of beautiful Royal Leamington Spa countryside, the Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa, to quote its formal title, delivers accommodation and hospitality in a style that can only be donned by a building of such opulence.
The main building is a 31-bedroom manor house, an archetypal example of such an historical retreat. However, with the additions of a separate brasserie, The Knights Suite (the hotel’s lavish event space) and now the decadence of the Elan Spa, Mallory Court has become far more than a hotel – it’s a holiday within itself.
The business is part of The Eden Hotel Collection, which is owned by The Rigby Group Plc. The Eden Collection has evolved over the last 15 years through the acquisition and restoration of nine carefully chosen hotels, led by The Rigby Group. Each of these venues has unique attributes, but they all offer the same standards of service, quality and attention to detail – Mallory Court is no exception. Here, the delivery really is in the detail. From the silver service in The Dining Room to the fresh, warm towels in the spa, the set-up is all about the overall experience of every visitor – the team want to make it as special as possible.
If you’re there for the food, you’ve got a lot of choice. What’s more, your choice could be influenced before you’ve even seen the menu. Take a stroll around the Mallory Court lands and you’ll undoubtedly stumble across the venue’s kitchen garden, brimming with herbs, vegetables and salads soon to be served inside.
The team here firmly believe in using what they have on their own doorstep and clearly take great pride and pleasure in using the organic, seasonal produce grown in Mallory Court’s own kitchen garden.
Spend some time relaxing out there in the summer and you’ll see chefs popping out of the kitchen to stock up on what’s needed for the next service. Trick of the mind, perhaps, but once you’ve seen this self-sustainability in action, the food you eat later that night seems to taste that little bit better.
For the full Mallory eating experience, guests should book themselves into The Dining Room. This stunning, oak-panelled restaurant boasts a number of accolades and awards for refined cuisine, including three AA rosettes.
Of course, because of the nature of the seasonal kitchen, the selection of dishes on the dinner menu regularly changes. However, book yourself in for a fixed-price dinner in The Dining Room (£65, inclusive of coffee and petit fours) and you may well be presented with the likes of chicken oyster with mushroom ketchup, cep ragu and horseradish to start. The oyster is delicate and moist – the sweetness of its juices lifted by the mushroom ketchup. It’s seen as a chef’s treat for a reason.
Other first courses include fallow deer tartare with sprouts and pumpkin emulsion; Cornish crab with organic salmon and a bisque-style sauce; and roast pigeon, salt-baked turnip, pine nuts and pine oil. This is an earthy, powerful beginning to a meal, indicative of the surrounding grounds and setting.
For mains, this theme continues. The saddle of lamb, braised neck, roast cauliflower, lentil dhal and yoghurt is just one of the welcome additions of global influence in the main courses.
Yes, the staple of each dish nods to its British origin, but there are key foreign elements on every plate that give the recipes their own distinction. There’s the potato agnolotti served alongside the brill; the stone bass dished up next to some seaweed and potato cooked in dashi; or the Iberico pork loin matched with rhubarb, red kale and butternut squash purée. It’s Britain versus the rest of the world, and it’s a battle I’d happily take on any day of the week.
The desserts menu begins with a selection of British and continental cheeses with biscuits and chutney. A humble choice given the elegance of the other dishes that follow. Chocolate and salted caramel delice with olive oil emulsion and orange cake; poached apple with toasted oat parfait and yeast caramel; aerated white chocolate with passion fruit ice and coffee; and Yorkshire rhubarb textures with brioche purée and pistachio.
Some serious thought has gone into this menu and, you’d assume, every other menu that the Mallory Court Dining Room writes throughout the rest of the year.
The chefs in the kitchen work closely with Mallory’s garden team to steer what is grown in order to keep the menus fresh and exciting.
Chris Holdsworth is head gardener for Eden Hotel Collection. On the hotel’s website, he explains that in addition to supplying the kitchens with fresh produce, growing their own has been a cost-saving exercise for the group. The dishes that the award-winning chefs create use large amounts of fashionable micro herbs, baby vegetables and vegetable flowers that are extremely expensive to buy. If the hotel can save on those costs by producing its own, it will.
As is often the case with ancient buildings adapting to 21st-century operations, there’s a stark contrast between certain elements of the venue. If you dine in the main building but stay in the new spa (it has 12 luxurious rooms above the leisure facilities), it can feel like you’re staying in a completely different time. Dine in the past, sleep in the future.
But, in all honesty, I quite enjoyed this paradoxical flip of hospitality. Once you depart from the refined sophistication of white tablecloths and the silent topping up of wine and water, you head outside, cross the grounds and walk into a cleansing atmosphere of lavish comforts. Get some rest in one of the new, modern bedrooms before heading downstairs in the morning for some light breakfast poolside and perhaps a dip in the outdoor vitality pool. After all that, it’s probably time for some lunch.
Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa near Leamington Spa is part of the Eden Hotel Collection – a privately-owned portfolio of nine beautiful properties in the UK. Mallory Court has won a host of awards, including three AA red stars for the levels of comfort and hospitality, alongside three AA rosettes for the Main House Dining Room and two AA rosettes for the Brasserie restaurant.
The newly opened luxury Elan Spa offers ila, ESPA and ORLY treatments, and facilities include an outdoor vitality pool, glazed outdoor sauna, Rhassoul mud room, seven treatment rooms, indoor hydro pool, sauna, steam room and gym. There are 12 luxurious new spa bedrooms, in addition to the existing 31 bedrooms in the main hotel.