17 May 2017

4 INGREDIENTS FOR THE PERFECT STAYCATION


Taking a staycation has to be one of my favourite things to do. Especially if the British weather plays ball and especially as I'm forgoing a holiday abroad this year as I try to save all my hard earned cash towards a mortgage. This weekend I did just that and headed over to Cheshire for a night at The Vicarage - a beautiful hotel located in Cranage, Cheshire, owned by brothers Dominic and Oliver Heywood.

Even though I only live in Leeds, Cheshire is somewhere I've never had the chance to visit before so I was excited to see what the area looked like. As we pulled up to the front of the Grade II listed cottage, its white fa├žade surrounded by gorgeous pops of spring flowers, my first thought was sun + garden + prosecco + no work on Monday = the perfect Sunday afternoon.

I feel like there are four vital ingredients when it comes to the perfect staycation. Four things that will leave you rested, recuperated and ready for the week ahead. The first is...


Beautiful Surroundings

As a fan of interior design, I'm a sucker for a stylish hotel. The Vicarage didn't disappoint. I mean, can we just take a moment to appreciate the bathroom above? We walked in and as you do, I went straight to the window to take in the view and then to check out what the bathroom was like. We were staying in one of the hotels six brand new signature rooms in the most historic part of the building. From the King sized bed to the freestanding bath, exposed beams and brickwork, to little touches like the homemade cookies (I need the recipe for these), the room was warm, welcoming and big enough for two people to relax more than comfortably.

The feel of the hotel and restaurant downstairs was really informal and very welcoming. Nothing seemed like too much trouble, with the team even bringing fresh milk for our Tea from the Manor tea bags and Nespresso coffees when we arrived in the room. With pink velvet chairs, fresh flowers and a gallery wall of mirrors, there were so many design elements that I loved throughout the hotel and restaurant.


Time to Pamper

One of my favourite things to do when I'm away in a hotel is to take all my potions and lotions and have myself a little pamper session. And thank goodness I did after walking into this bathroom. With a rainfall shower, an amazing bath with a view out into the countryside and enough room to hold a party for twenty, this was the perfect space to pop a facemask on, paint my nails and relax before getting ready for dinner.


Good Food

Good food is essential to creating the perfect staycation. After an afternoon of prosecco and pampering, we made our way to the restaurant downstairs to sample some of the delights from executive chef, Steven Tuke, who joined The Vicarage from premium hotel Chester Grosvenor. Focusing on local produce from farmers, foragers, gardeners and suppliers in and around Cheshire, every course we had was delicious. Starting with prawn salad and Cornish crab with melon and avocado mayonnaise, everything tasted incredibly fresh. There was no hint of premade food, and each course was beautifully presented.

Next up I had the Vicarage burger, which has so huge, I ended up leaving some and, trust me, that's not something I do lightly, while Hollie had the open mushroom lasagne. Even though we were both stuffed to the brim, the dessert menu was too good to resist so we made our way through sticky toffee pudding - Oh. My. God, this was good - and a chocolate Sundae layered with goodness.

Less than twelve hours later we were back down for our breakfast which included a variety of toast, pastries, yogurt, fruit, and hot options such as the full English and smoked salmon on muffins. There's something about hotel toast which is just so much tastier than the toast I make at home. I'm using that as my reason for having about 66 slices over breakfast.


A Good Night's Sleep

I'd say this is probably to most important element of the perfect staycation - a restful night's sleep. With a bed so big we could have squeezed a few more people in, I was excited to get in my cactus PJ's for the night and climb under the covers. It was so, so comfortable, we fell asleep before 11pm - although I suspect the food coma we were entering probably had a little something to do with it too. My bed at home seemed so small in comparison when I got home the next day, I was actually thanking the god of relationships that I didn't have anyone to share it with right now.


With prices starting at £140 for the night including a full English breakfast, I'd highly recommend The Vicarage for those of you that might be looking for a weekend away somewhere in the UK. This really was such a nice overnight stay, with no phones, no laptops, just great food, great company, sunshine and a comfy place to rest our heads at the end of the night. And if you've got a four legged companion then you can bring them along with an extra £10 dog surge charge.

The Vicarage were kind enough to offer me a complimentary overnight stay, with dinner and breakfast in exchange for this review, but my love of beautiful bathrooms and homemade cookies are all my own and always honest.





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