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Short stay: Ansty Hall, Ansty, Near Coventry, UK

Situated in 8 acres of grounds in the rolling Warwickshire countryside, Macdonald Ansty Hall is a Grade II Listed Georgian mansion dating back to 1678. This was our second visit to this 62-bedroom Macdonald Hotels & Resorts hotel, having stayed a few years previously (click here for that review). The welcome We were warmly welcomed on arrival. Check-in was efficient and effortless and, in no time at all, we were being directed up the stairs towards our two rooms. So often, the check-in process is a strictly grown-up process that doesn’t involve the children but, as we started to make our way upstairs, the receptionist explained to our boys how to get on the WiFi – “…in case you want to play Fortnite…”, he said, which obviously brought about a few smiles and developed a fun rapport with them. The room We stayed in the Dulverton Suite (room 4), a spacious and traditional suite in the main building. There were comfortable chairs against the backdrop of a fireplace on which to relax… …and even some towels arranged into an elephant. It would perhaps be more fitting on safari but hey – why not – it’s just a bit of fun, after all! The suite looked out over the lawned gardens to the rear of the property where there are also some tables and seating for those sunnier days. Unlike our last visit where we stayed in a family room (this was already booked this time around), we also had a second twin-bedded room, room 27, just a short way down the corridor, to accommodate us all. The bathroom The bathrooms offered ample space also, and were finished in neutral tones that should appeal to all. Elemis toiletries were provided. The facilities The AA rosette Shilton Restaurant is led by Head Chef Christopher Owen who joined Ansty Hall in 2018, bringing with him more than 25 years of culinary experience. The restaurant serves traditional English cuisine with a twist, whilst still employing the Macdonald Hotels & Resorts’ commitment to using carefully-selected suppliers using fresh, natural ingredients. The restaurant offers both table d’hote and a la carte options (and, if you ask nicely like we did, they might just combine the two!). I had the Stornoway black pudding, pan-fried pigeon and fried egg. I haven’t knowingly had Stornoway black pudding before (as opposed to other varieties) and I have to say it was extremely good (so good that I chose it for breakfast one morning, too!) and complemented the pigeon well. My wife was very pleased with her caprese salad with a basil dressing. Also highly recommended from my older son was the John Ross Jr Scottish smoked salmon with pickles, caviar and herbs. For my main I had the breast of free range chicken with wild mushrooms and a tarragon cream sauce, sitting on fondant potatoes – quite a rich sauce but very tasty. My wife chose the healthier option of pan roasted wild haddock which looked equally enticing and came with gem lettuce, peas, leeks, preserved lemon and pancetta. For those of who could still manage, we rounded our meal off with a refreshing traditional lemon tart with a raspberry sorbet. In the mornings, the Shilton Restaurant is also where breakfast is served. There are some continental buffet options on display… …plus you can order from a selection of cooked options. As mentioned, on one morning I went for the full English so that I could savour a little of the Stornoway black pudding once more! With all this food, you’ll no doubt want to stretch your legs and wander around the grounds in order to work off some of the excesses. There are lawned areas to the front and rear of the property… …as well as a small church if you wander far enough. The position of St. James Church, on the edge of the hotel’s grounds, means that Ansty Hall is also a very special wedding venue. Guests can spill out from the church directly into the hotel’s gardens and nearby function rooms allow for evening wedding receptions that cater for anything up to 150 people. Of course, these facilities can also be used for conferences, too. Other nice touches In our suite was a bottle of wine and bowl of fruit which was a nice little treat on arrival. There was also a lovely plate of chocolates and strawberries which I managed to photograph just before our hungry boys began to devour it! Location The hotel enjoys a central location that is approximately 25 miles to the east of Birmingham and lies almost midway between Nuneaton (7 miles to the north) and Coventry (7 miles to the south-west). Being so central, there are many places to enjoy that are within easy driving distance – Cadbury World, Drayton Manor and Warwick Castle to name just a few. We were actually in the area so that my sons could take part in a sailing event at Draycote Water just 15 miles away. The hotel had ample parking for us, even though we were taking up two spaces with our trailer and it felt very secure with a barrier on entry. Draycote Water is a 240-hectare reservoir with its own country park including a visitor centre, bird hide and circular trail, not to mention a sailing club on the southern side of the lake. Our boys are pictured in the centre here (the blue and white striped spinnaker), racing in the RS Feva class. Cost Flexible dinner, bed and breakfast rates for a Classic Suite start from £242 per night. Early saver Classic Room only rates start from just £103 per night. The best bit Once again the food was a major highlight of our stay. We really enjoyed our dinner at Ansty in a relaxed and informal setting. The final verdict Ansty Hall enjoys a central location and will appeal to a wide range of guests. We stayed as a family but there were also many couples staying, as well as a number of Japanese tourists who were on a UK tour staying on one night during our stay. The venue will also suit business travellers who need meeting and conference facilities, as well as leisure and wedding guests. Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I’ve seen a lot of towel origami in my stays at hotels. Not sure that I have ever seen anything as good as that elephant. If there were a towel origami Championship he’d be a contender.

  2. There’s always something solid and reassuring about Georgian architecture. I like the Ansty facade, it looks classically balanced. That’s always a promising start for a place that you are going to stay at.

  3. More and more hotels seem to be offering these welcome packs. It’s a nice gesture, especially if you’ve had a long journey.

    1. These welcome gifts are becoming more and more generous. This weekend I stayed in a hotel where there was a decanter of sloe gin which was very liberally filled.

      Then as we departed we were given a little goodies bag to keep us going on the journey home. Both arriving and leaving gifts were very much appreciated.

  4. It’s good to see that the Ansty Restaurant focuses on an English Menu. For too long English cuisine has been neglected. More importantly still, local sourcing cuts the Food Miles and also helps support the local economy.

  5. You’ve certainly persuaded me that Ansty Hall is a great place to stay. It’s a part of the country that I’ve rarely ever visited. Long, long ago I went to Warwick Castle, which you mention, and it was fascinating then. It’s probably only got better since then. Where else would be worth visiting within an hour’s drive of Ansty Hall?

  6. Interesting place, interesting name. Any idea where it originated from?

    Hotels are getting much better at linking with their history. Most of the places that I’ve stayed at recently have a potted history available on a couple of sheets of paper. Often places have had a pretty chequered past.

  7. Good to see a generous helping of Black Pudding dominating the breakfast plate. There’s no bigger fan of black pudding than me.

    I can’t remember where it was but I recently had an oven baked rectangular black pudding which took the creation to another level. Keep your eyes peeled for that one, it’s heavenly.

  8. I’m heading near Coventry on business soon so I’ll pass this one on to our commercial travel department. Shall we say that they’ve not been at their best for my last couple of trips … As I could be there for a week or more I need somewhere good to stay.

    I like the format of your short stay reports and I’ve come to trust them. Perhaps our commercial travel department need to read A Luxury Travel Blog too.

  9. I stayed here with work once. They looked after us so well that we were planning on a return trip but then COVID struck. Looking forward to when they re-open so we can go again.

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