After a warm welcome we were shown to our room, 'Little Owl', which is a fabulous golden-hued suite with chandeliers, overlooking the fountain. There are all the touches you expect from a luxury hotel - piles of soft, fluffy towels, robes, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryer etc. The coffee-table books on architecture, art and interiors were a particularly nice touch, as were the stacks of vintage books piled around. The bathroom was exceptional, with a huge copper bath, Japanese-style electronic toilet, his and hers sinks with big heated mirrors, Neal's Yard toiletries and the 'best shower I've ever used' according to the husband-to-be. After a quick freshen-up, we changed for dinner and headed downstairs for drinks and canapés.
Glammed up and ready to eat! My dress is from Very, and the gold sandals are Bertie.
We had a chance to tour the building with sales manager John and meet the other guests, who included bloggers as well as press from magazines and publishers. The hall is Grade II listed, so as you would expect the refurbishment has been very tastefully done to enhance many of the original features, and was done by interiors company Jane Clayton and in consultation with English Heritage. Over the years the hall has been put to use as a school and most recently as a call centre, which is very hard to imagine when you're walking around the beautiful interior. One of the sitting rooms has Dutch tiles around the fireplace, and the heavy Victorian radiators can be seen throughout the downstairs. The bay windows with their curved glass are truly stunning. In the grounds is a small lake, which you can wander down to see the ducks, and if you're lucky maybe the heron and some deer. You'd be spoilt for choice with photo locations if you were enjoying your wedding reception here, and there are lots of lovely indoor options for those wet British days.
We were ushered into the library for dinner. On our table was operations manager James, and he kept us entertained with stories from his long history of working in the hotel industry. There was much excitement when we were told that there is a secret passage leading from the library to an underground 'panic room' style bunker. We pressed and prodded those bookshelves, and eventually someone found the entrance, but I'm gutted that it wasn't me! I love a puzzle.
The food itself really was exceptional. Chef Alan Jones has previously worked at a number of Michelin-starred venues, and the standard was extremely high. I could go on about how amazing it tasted, but I'm sure you'd rather see some pictures.
Clockwise from top left: Lobster bisque with cognac and tarragon, beef carpaccio with poached cherries and candided walnuts, pork belly with wild garlic puree, vanilla set jelly with raspberry and champagne soup.
There are only 25 bedrooms in the hall, and the more personal touch that this limited number of guests affords is evident throughout. It's clear that the staff are passionate about the hall and that it's more than just a job to them. On retiring to my room (feeling stuffed!) there was a little birthday sweet treat left on my bedside table, a nice touch. In the morning I woke up early so that I could have a soak in that big copper bath, and was surprised by how hungry I was again given the amount I'd eaten the night before! We were served breakfast in a gorgeous light and airy room, with some lovely local produce.
Both myself and the husband-to-be were blown away by the experience and honestly cannot fault it in any way whatsoever. We are very fortunate to be well-travelled but the level of luxury and personal attention in this relatively small English country house is really something. Sometimes refurbishments and restorations can leave places feeling a little bland and cold, but Clevedon Hall achieves that rare balance of maintaining historic character with all the contemporary comforts you could ever need. Any couple would be assured that all the small details would be taken care of if they chose to have their wedding at the hall, so that they could relax and enjoy the luxury, history, and of course that fabulous food.
We received a complimentary overnight stay at Clevedon Hall. All words and opinions are my own.
Linking up with: #Reasonstotravel
Linking up with: #Reasonstotravel