My first visit to Bishopstrow was nearly 9 years ago, and came at a very exciting period of my life. Myself and three other singers had just signed a £1 million record deal with Universal Music to record our first album, ‘Blake’. The Producer, Nick Patrick lived and had a recording studio nearby, and so he suggested that we ask the record company to stay at Bishopstrow House, the best hotel in the vicinity. At first, Universal said ‘No’. We insisted. They relented, but told us that we must share rooms. Eventually, after a bit of not so subtle persuasion from our bulldog-like Manager, we got our way and were allowed to have our own space (you have to be tough to get what you want in the music business!).
We stayed about a week, and when we weren’t recording, we were drilled by a lady called Nina Mishkoff on ‘media training’, who made sure we knew what to say to press and how to behave on a chat show sofa. Anyway, I digress.We were excited to stay at Bishopstrow, and really thought we had made it. Signed to a major record deal staying in a luxury hotel, what’s not to love?!
At the time, Bishopstrow was owned by the Von Essen Group, and we were surprised that although the original part of the house was as beautiful as the marketing material had suggested, the facilities looked really tired. The gym was practically unuseable, and the pool had seen better days. So I was intrigued as to what to expect 9 years later, and not knowing when we booked that the Hotel had been taken over by the nearby Longleat Estate.
Im pleased say that Longleat have made some clever renovations that improve the hotel no end. The most impressive of these is the addition of some great spa facilities, which is not an easy task within the strict constraints of a listed building. Smart and effective sauna and steam rooms have been installed in what used to be the old kitchen area, and the gym has been fitted with all the equipment you would need to do a really good work out. The newly installed Spa offers a good selection of treatments, and the indoor and outdoor swimming pools and jacuzzi have been spruced up no end.
The main house looks outstanding, not a bit of faded grandeur here, this is a well maintained glorious country retreat. Bishopstrow is filled with some absolutely stunning antique furniture, making each room feel unique and full of authentic character and more than anywhere else I have stayed, at Bishopstrow you feel a little like a weekend guest at a friend’s impressive family home.
The Oval Room, where I stayed has been sympathetically designed, with an imposing bed taking centre stage in front of two freestanding baths. It’s a great feature of the room, and perfect for a romantic get away or a honeymoon stay.
I was particularly impressed with the food in the hotel restaurant. Although the Mulberry Restaurant is in the modern annexe which has none of the charm of the main house, the food was really excellent. My highlight was the Parsnip and Honey Soup which was out-of-this-world good. Deliciously creamy, and just the right kind of sweet, it was honestly one of the best soups I’ve ever had . The Ham hock terrine, and coriander coated duck breast with pomme anna and Kale were also top notch.
Relax in one of two stunning drawing rooms, order up a night cap, and wile away the evening in front of one of two roasting log fires. For a moment, I imagined that this was my own beautiful country home, and the rigours of London life melted away.
To book, go to http://www.bishopstrow.co.uk or call 01985 878297.