Positive: the family-owned hotel sits in the delightful village of Pulford on the England-Wales border, surrounded by lush countryside with the Welsh hills in the distance. Negative: it’s a 15-minute drive to Chester city centre. A bus picks up from outside the hotel, or taxis will cost around £12 one way.
From standard, through executive and deluxe to feature, each of the 73 rooms show off a mix of traditional and modern touches, though no room could really be described as strikingly modern. Some of the standard rooms are quite compact, especially at the rear of the hotel (which is also the quieter side as it’s away from the large function suite), so I’d consider upgrading to have more space and be at the back of the hotel. An extra £35 on top of the standard room rate (see price advice below) will bag you a deluxe room, with a spiral staircase separating your bedroom and small lounge area, but there is one executive room (£15 extra) with this unusual and pleasant feature – so ask for that one if you fancy it.
Guests have complained in the past that bedrooms can get too warm, but air-conditioning will be installed in all rooms very soon.
The lobby is bedecked in antique gold accessories, with plenty of dark wood and exposed beams to complement the log fire. The inner courtyard is also a tranquil area to chill out in.
Eating and drinking
The light and airy Ciro’s Brasserie is a taste of the Med, it’s also where breakfast is dished up. And there’s a traditional-pub feel to Nelson’s Bar, at the front of the hotel. Cherry-red walls, more old beams and charmingly battered brown and red leather seating also make this a popular spot for locals.
The seriously divine spa is a winner for me. Asian in influence, there’s a huge range of treatments on offer, with a couples’ room for special occasions. Though guests have to be on a spa package to make full use of the facilities, treatments can still be booked.
Free for residents is the leisure club, featuring a large swimming pool and gym.
Suited staff are obliging, welcoming and professional.
Who stays there
Leisure visitors keen to experience the immaculate spa, and wedding parties (the venue is licensed for civil ceremonies). Race-goers also make a weekend of it here.
Parking is free. Consider upgrading to an executive for an extra £15 on the basic room rate.
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Countryside setting
- The divine spa
- Fifteen minutes by car out of the city centre
- Some rooms don’t have country views