Dating back to 1336, Stapleford Park is one of the UK’s most luxurious hotels and sporting estates. EatSleepDrink speaks to Stapleford Park about the faultless service and fine living one can expect at this most magnificent property.
Surrounded by 500 acres of Capability Brown landscaped grounds, Stapleford Park is the archetypal English sporting country estate. Sitting in the heart of England in Leicestershire, just outside picturesque Melton Mowbray and minutes from Rutland Water, the hotel has been the home of exclusive hospitality and country pursuits since Georgian times. Today, the property seamlessly mixes old-world luxury and new-age comfort, guaranteeing a warm welcome and a calm space with a wide choice of sports, leisure and fine dining.
After a rich succession of owners dating back 700 years, Stapleford Park first opened its doors to the public as a country house hotel in 1988, thanks to the investment of Mr. Bob Payton, who realised previous owner’s Mr. John Gretton’s vision of Stapleford as a place for entertaining on a grand scale. To this day, Stapleford Park remains in the hands of private individuals who fell in love with the dream first created by Mr. Payton and Mrs. Wendy Payton and the desire of Lord Gretton for the house to be a very special place for entertaining.
In 1996, a further nine bedrooms were added, together with a swimming pool and the 18-hole Championship golf course. Six years later in 2002, The Golf Pavilion was added as a perfect addition to the already highly regarded 18-hole course, which houses a comfortable bar area that serves light snacks. Nestled beside The Golf Pavilion is the Pavilion Cottage, which offers three guest bedrooms, bringing the total accommodation at Stapleford Park to 55 bedrooms. Should the hotel’s guests require some quality time in the spa or on the golf course, The Day Care Nursery provides exceptional childcare and leaves visitors safe in the knowledge that their children are being looked after in a safe learning environment. The Nursery has been Ofsted-approved, while all of its staff have gone through CRB checks, further adding to the comprehensive service that the hotel offers.
For the first time in 20 years, Stapleford closed its doors to guests in 2008 to allow the then Executive Chef chance to revamp the kitchen area with state-of-the-art equipment. While the hotel was closed, the owners seized the opportunity to redecorate and refresh large areas of the Main House. Indeed, however Stapleford Park is altered and improved, the policy is to retain the property’s unique and special character, which lures its loyal guests back again and again.
The home of comfort and luxury
If the façade of Stapleford Park is impressive then the interior does certainly not disappoint. Guests are immediately made to feel at home by the welcoming front-of-house staff who have the knack of providing subtle but comprehensive service. Upon entering Stapleford Park, guests are greeted by The Reception Hall, which is hung with exquisite hand-stitched wallpaper by designer, Fromental. The paper was specially commissioned by Stapleford Park and depicts a Japanese flora and fauna scene, with exotic birds carrying the 36 family crests from the house’s 700 year history. “Once in their rooms, guests will find sloe gin that is especially decanted for their arrival, as well as spare wellies and Barbour jackets that are free to use for all of our visitors.
“Guests can try their hand at a number of country pursuits during their stay, including fly-fishing, archery, falconry, shooting and golf on the 18-hole Donald Steel-designed Championship course,” Mrs. Pam Graham, Senior Host, begins by explaining. “Those hankering after a more relaxing experience can head to the Victorian Stable Block – one of the finest examples of Victorian stables anywhere in the UK – for a luxurious Clarins spa programme. Once there, guests can take yoga and pilates classes in the studio, or stay in the main house to enjoy the pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room”.
When it comes to luxury, nothing has been left to chance in the hotel’s sumptuous bedrooms and suites. Each of Stapleford Park’s 55 bedrooms have been individually designed by brands such as Mulberry, Crabtree & Evelyn, Sanderson and Baker, as Mrs. Graham continues. “In 2008, we undertook a multi-million pound refurbishment of many of the public rooms, including The Grand Hall, The Marble Hall, The Harborough Room and Drawing Room, allowing us to sensitively restore the grandeur of the communal areas. The refurbishment was overseen by interior designer, Mr. Russell Sage, who has added his creative flair to the likes of 10 Downing Street, The Goodward Estate and the Royal Suite at The Goring Hotel, London. In addition, three new bedrooms – The Osborne & Little Suite, The Nina Campbell Room and The Lorca Room – were added into the room stock”.
Given the splendour of the hotel’s accommodation and public rooms, it will come as little surprise that Stapleford Park’s gastronomic offerings are equally as grand. Named after the master wood carver, the Grinling Gibbons dining room offers an elegant dining experience for the most discerning pallets. “Our Head Chef, Mr. David Ellams, has created a menu inspired by traditional English and continental dishes,” Mrs. Graham affirms. “The Grinling Gibbons holds two AA rosettes and offers guests the opportunity to unwind in the relaxed-yet-luxurious surroundings of the historic dining room. Indeed, our Head Chef brings over 13 years of culinary experience to Stapleford Park and has created a fresh and elegant menu that can also be served to private parties and events in The Harborough Room, The Old Kitchen, The Grand Hall and The Billiards Room”.
Appointed in January 2011, Head Chef Mr. Ellams is thrilled to be taking Stapleford Park into a new dining era, as he confirms. “I’m thrilled to have taken the helm as Head Chef and I know that I have a strong team behind me. Following my promotion, Mr. Sean Harnett has taken the role of Senior Sous Chef, while Mr. Simon McNeil has been appointed as Pastry Chef. Stapleford Park is such a unique property that really challenges a chef’s ability, from fine dinners for two to grand weddings for up to 180 or even large celebrity parties. Flexibility is key and together as a team we look forward to embracing the challenges. At Stapleford, we like to offer as much variety as possible, whether it’s a club sandwich after a round of golf to a seven course fine dining tasting menu after a days shooting”.
If informal dining is preferable, guests may also opt for a more relaxed dining experience in the house, which also offers an extensive menu for children. The Children’s High Tea Menu, including pizza breads, Rutland bangers and mash and mini jam doughnuts is served in The Morning Room, allowing children to enjoy the ambience of the main house. Contrarily, Stapleford’s private dining options enable it to host parties of all sizes up to 180 guests. As the largest room in the house, The Grand Hall is completely self-contained with its own bar, cloakroom and private entrance and can be set-up to cater for individual tastes and styles. It also leads through to The Orangery, which is the ideal room for a drinks reception or dining. For smaller numbers, The Billiard Room offers spectacular views across the gardens and grounds with a maximum capacity of 12 guests.
Unwinding in style
Located in the magnificently converted Victorian Stable Block, Stapleford Park’s Lifestyle Wellness Retreat continues the property’s luxurious theme. “The structure of the building reflects the elegance of the Victorian era, while the interior houses a sublime, contemporary spa, which is a must-visit to complete the luxury experience,” Ms. Graham acclaims. Indeed, guests can choose from an extensive range of Clarins treatments, including facials, massages and body scrubs, as well as wraps for men and women. In addition, the holistic therapies of Indian head massage, reflexology and Reiki further help to soothe the mind and body. Those looking for the ultimate in rejuvenation will also be pleased to hear that the spa offers a range of affordable ‘Spa Experience Days’.
“There are seven treatment rooms and an OPI nail studio in the spa, which are nestled beneath the stable rafters,” she continues. “Those visitors who prefer more strenuous activities are welcome to use our fully-equipped TechnoGym. This provides a great place for a work out and hosts a number of classes, including yoga, pilates, circuit training and aerobics. Furthermore, we also have six tennis courts – all with different surfaces – located in our grounds for our guests’ enjoyment. Similarly, our Donald Steel-designed golf course, which opened in 2001, is another firm favourite with visitors”.
Set amidst the 500 acres of Capability Brown designed grounds, Stapleford Park was the official European Senior Tour venue for the 2010 and 2011 ISPS Handa Senior Masters. The resident PGA Professional, Mr. Richard Alderson, is also available for private golf lessons, while avid golfers can make a weekend of it and take over The Pavilion Cottage, a three-bedroom property that overlooks the spectacular course.
Welcoming the future
Throughout Stapleford Park’s 700 year history, the house has seen many developments but has managed to always retain its original charm and grandeur. From £160 per room, based on a bed and breakfast basis including tax, the hotel manages to combine that rare mix of luxury and value-for-money. Indeed, having graciously accommodated EatSleepDrink Magazine in the sublime David Hicks Bedroom, we can confirm that Stapleford Park is embracing its prestigious heritage with luxurious modernity. Whether arriving by helicopter, train or car, Stapleford can cater to even the most demanding guests and has welcomed celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Joan Collins through its doors in recent history.
So whether guests are looking to entertain or be entertained, or are merely looking for a luxurious and relaxing break, Stapleford Park looks certain to be the hotel of choice for many years to come.
For more information and bookings, visit: www.staplefordpark.com or call 01572 787000