An Inspector calls… at an ivy-clad hotel where guests pay £15 to use the pool and a ‘course’ in the tasting menu is a pot of olives (but breakfast is ‘top-notch’)

  • Mallory Court, near Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, is part of the Eden Collection and has a new ESPA spa  
  • The dinner menu confused him, but breakfast went well (apart from Boy George being piped into the room)
  • And he liked his ‘snug and pretty’ bedroom – but recoiled at paying an ‘absurd’ £16 for a margarita

A big sign greets arrivals at Mallory Court, saying ‘we’re no longer able to greet you warmly with a handshake or hug, but rest assured we will be raising our imaginary hat,’ and it goes on to remind guests about hand-washing, keeping a ‘thoughtful’ distance from others and avoiding touching your face.

Quite right, I suppose. But signs like this have become divisive, a reminder of the radically different approaches to the pandemic. 

This is amplified by seeing the sign dominating the stone porch of this Grade II-listed, ivy-clad, Arts and Crafts house, which was built in 1915 but seems much older.

Mallory Court, which is part of the Eden Collection and located near Leamington Spa in Warwickshire 

The lounge at Mallory Court. The Inspector says a big sign greets arrivals, saying ‘we’re no longer able to greet you warmly with a handshake or hug, but rest assured we will be raising our imaginary hat’

Mallory Court, near Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, is part of the Eden Collection (Bovey Castle, Brockencote Hall et al). It recently added a large ESPA spa and more rooms in addition to those both in the main building and the long-standing Orchard House. 

I had assumed that if you are a guest of the hotel then you could use the pool (if numbers permit). In fact, you have to pay an extra £15, which does not seem in keeping with those intended hugs on arrival.

Our superior room is snug and pretty, but there’s no bath so we ask if we can switch to one that does. 

This turns out to be an inferior room but we’ve travelled far and are looking forward to a soak.

One of the superior deluxe rooms at Mallory Court.  The Inspector writes: ‘Our superior room is snug and pretty, but there’s no bath so we ask if we can switch’ 

In the dining room, pictured, the Inspector says he was confused by the menu. He writes: ‘There seems to be two extremes: a £69 tasting menu or soup and sandwiches, with a few larger options such as ham, egg and fries’ 

Mallory Court recently added a large ESPA spa. The Inspector says: ‘I had assumed that if you are a guest of the hotel then you could use the pool (if numbers permit). In fact, you have to pay an extra £15’ 

The main drawing room has been given over to a second dining room, so everyone has drinks near the reception desk. 

I have a margarita that costs £16 — two sips and it’s gone. Absurd. 

We are confused by the menu. There seems to be two extremes: a £69 tasting menu or soup and sandwiches, with a few larger options such as ham, egg and fries.

But it’s not really a tasting menu. The first course is a tiny pot of olives, the second three canapes, the third is bread to share.

The long-standing Orchard House at Mallory Court, where doubles start from £99 per night 

Where it gets interesting is the salmon, beetroot and creme fraiche starter, which is actually far less substantial than my wife’s plate of smoked salmon from the other menu. 

We mix and match and go big on the bread, while admiring the wood-panelled walls and mullioned windows.

Breakfast goes well; my full English is top-notch — but anything other than classical music is such a risk at this time of day. 

Boy George’s Karma Chameleon has us scuttling back to our room as soon as possible. Which is such a pity. 

TRAVEL FACTS  

Mallory Court, Harbury Lane, Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa, CV33 9QB. Doubles from £99. For more information visit mallory.co.uk or call 01926 330214. 

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