Travel review: Hotel break is the ideal tonic
The pace and intensity of life can sometimes get on top of you.
No matter your job, interests and support network around you, there will be times when you need to unplug. Deadlines, parenthood, and commitments can all pile on the pressure. So perhaps the odd night away on a weekend might be a welcome tonic.
For these, long travel distances are not a good idea. There’s not much point of a relaxing evening away if you have to put in too many miles to enjoy it and end up needing to recover from that too. And besides, there’s plenty of beautiful spots near enough to our doorsteps to enjoy while unwinding in quieter climes.
It’s roughly an hour-and-a-quarter from Wolverhampton city centre to Shipston-on-Stour, which sits around 12 miles south of Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon.
And nestled dead centre in the quiet town on the corner of High Street and Market Place is The Bower House. You can see everything, watch the locals amble by and wow at the slightly-nicer-than-yours cars parking up in the bays across the street to you.
The rooms are set above a lovely restaurant entered via a separate door next to the eatery’s main access. There are five in total, of which we had Room 4 set on the top floor looking out over Market Place.
The room was absolutely stunning, and sitting on the plush bed looking at your surroundings it is easy to see how the quaint little getaway recently took pride of place in the Sunday Times’ list of 100 Best Hotels in the UK. The classic interior is a lovely, deep blue colour which helps you feel a little cooler even when the mercury soars outside. Ample wardrobe and storage space is provided, and in the corner is a lovely unit which hosts your ice-cool mini fridge, complete with drinks should you wish to partake, as well as a coffee machine as opposed to the usual travel kettle – which went down very well with the other half.
There is also a spirits table complete with some lovely-looking local tipples, and as we had a one-year-old in tow there is plenty of room to fit in the plush travel cot they kindly provided.
But the real beauty is in the vast and stylish bathroom – bigger than some budget hotel rooms I have stayed in. A huge roll top bath dominates the room, big enough even for a 6ft4 Welshman to sprawl comfortably in. Alongside this is a big dressing table complete with mirror, and big matching sinks. Tucked behind the wall containing the sinks are two alcoves accessed at each end. Nestled in one is the toilet. In the second is a huge walk-in shower with a vast round head full of power.
Downstairs, the friendly staff, ample drinks choice and wonderful food mean you don’t have to venture far from your room for more luxury.
The beautiful bar area is tiled in a Mediterranean style. The light blue colours make the room seem warm and larger, and there is plenty of space between tables so you don’t feel on top of the other diners.
The evening menu is simple and not overbearing. There is something to be said in keeping the options less and making each of them good. All killer, no filler.
This is continued into breakfast. We’d recommend the hearty sausage and egg flatbread sandwiches to start your day. You definitely won’t be disappointed!
For those that like walking, the River Stour is not far away at all. In fact, the five-minute walk is worth remembering as the town’s main free car park is here.
Tucked away around a roughly square walking route are bountiful independent and antique shops full of treats to take home with you. We particularly liked The Richard Harvey Collection on the main A3400, which was full of trinkets and keepsakes in the front section and out the back went into a beautifully restored church full of plush furniture.
There’s also plenty of charity shops to delve into and bag a bargain should you enjoy doing so.
In terms of recharging the batteries and taking some brief time out, this part of the world can do just that. Comfort and enjoyment can often be close to home.
Room rates at The Bower House start from £130 for two sharing a double room on a B&B basis; visit www.bower.house or call 01608 66 33 33.