Hidden in the heart of Solihull lives Hampton Manor, an impressive estate once home to Prime Minister Robert Peel and now a luxury hotel and restaurant. Locals see it as special occasion destination and rightly so; the large gothic manor house surrounded by acres of mature parkland make it the perfect retreat from everyday life- here time stands still and troubles are left behind.
That`s not to accuse Hampton of being stuck in the past, it`s been brought back up to date by the current owners who commissioned award winning designers John Reeves and Sarah Ireland to re-deck and re-vamp the sixteen bedrooms and bathrooms complete with all the latest mod cons (tastefully disguised of course).
There are no drafty corridors and squeaking staircases here, design buffs will love the `classic contemporary` interior; heavy damasks in turquoise, aubergine and chocolate brown, in our bedroom a porcelain bath sat centre stage and black lacquered furniture lined the walls. From our king size bed we could see out across the landscaped gardens, part of which were decked out for a damp but glorious wedding the next morning, in fact the venue serves many a hen party, corporate event and birthday bash due to it`s incredible new restaurant which we had the luxury of experiencing during our stay.
Martyn Pearn, a Michelin star chef who made his name first in France and then the UK now heads the kitchen, his menu changes seasonally and dishes are created using only the highest quality ingredients. I dined on a luxurious starter of king scallops, sea trout and crab before tucking into my equally decadent main of wild salmon in champagne bisque.
His deserts are typically French; small, rich and exquisitely presented and their wine list is extensive; Bruno, the in-house sommelier also trained in France and has created a bespoke list of 150 fine wines and fifteen champagnes for the Hampton menu, so you know you`re in safe hands.
During the last couple of months a range of foodie celebs including Ed Kimber, aka the boy who bakes, has visited them and Masterchef`s Tim Anderson who rustled up a Japanese inspired menu and himself is a good friend of the hotel.
It would be wise to keep an eye on the Hampton website, as on the 10 Feb 2012 Tim Atkins of Saturday Kitchen will be joining Martyn to launch a Wine Dinner menu. Guest can purchase tickets for a five-course meal with matching wines that will be presented by the man himself, just go online or call up to secure your pair.
On the day of our departure the sky had opened up and the rain was lashing down but it didn`t seem to matter for the married couple and their guests, we passed them sipping kir royals in the restaurant festooned with ribbons and roses, all smiles and laughter. Hampton Manor had managed to keep the weather firmly outside, we just wondered if the newly weds needed any more guests.
For more details on the hotel and its Christmas events visit hamptonmanor.eu , tel: 01675 446 080
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