We felt like lucky ducks over the summer thanks to a series of super fun staycations, just a car ride away. From Manchester to Devon and most recently, the Laura Ashley hotel in Coventry, we’ve loved packing up the car and hitting the road for the comfort of queen size beds and all-you-can-eat feasts… Hashtag lucky bloggers (or a ruder word starting with ‘b’ we’ll omit here to be family-friendly)! HAHAH! The kids did argue a gabillion times on the car journeys if that will make you feel better!
Like butter wouldn’t melt, huh! If only you knew!!!
Now, I know you’ve heard it many times before (mostly from me) but there’s so much to do and see in Britain and I feel embarrassed our trip was the first time I’d visited Coventry.
We might well be a small island here in Britain but there’s so much to see from coastal towns to bustling cities, hidden villages and tranquil moors; I’ve pledged to spend as many weekends as possible exploring our home turf, more.
Staying at the newly refurbished Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe just 3 miles from the city centre, this enchanting Victorian manor (with more work planned) was well worth the drive. A wedding-haven with weekend wedding booked up for months in advance, spending the weekend there felt a bit like watching my Pinterest home decor board, come to life.
I scribbled down notes on the back of receipts for when we buy here in Berkshire. I’d like a Laura Ashley home thank you very much!
I declared as much to my husband as we entered the suite, ‘This is the exact bedroom I’d like in our new house’.
‘With a little less pink, right?’.
‘BAHHAHA, less pink, what does that even MEAN, Peter?’!
Our bedroom was a total dream (to me, at least).
Deliciously nostalgic without being twee, our bedroom boasted pastel-hued furnishings (see velvet throws and plumped cushions), a statement four poster bed of dreams in its centre and thoughtful additions such as an empty trinket box for jewellery on the dresser, vases of silk blooms, framed floral prints and a darling tea set with eponymous dark chocolate mints we abstained from long enough to take a photo. There’s a first! If Laura Ashley were to sell these sweet treats, I’d buy them daily.
Oh and hello quirky 80s phone (my mobile-friendly kids actually asked me what is was!) and I can’t not mention my faves: heavy, luxe Laura Ashley curtains I adore. The suite’s wallpaper harks back to the one my Mum chose for my bedroom back in day (until I wrote the names of the boys I fancied all over it and was grounded for a year)! Sorry again, Mum!
Staying there felt rather like stepping into an art installation of my childhood.
And, look at the red carpeted spiral staircase you see on arrival to the hotel.
I’d like to get married again there (to Peter, if he’s nice to me) just so I can descend that staircase (a girl can dream huh)!
Quaint, quintessentially British, stylish and not stuffy with a statement chandelier in the entrance that puts Dynasty to shame, I fell head over heels for this hotel and am already planning a return trip, back.
It really is a special place (no wonder so many couples book their wedding there) and importantly, the food is excellent, a deal breaker for us when it comes to trips away.
We dined in the charming Willows Restaurant with its high ceilings and ornate fireplace, devouring a goat’s cheese tart, Superfood and Caesar salads, and Peter plumped for Seabass, Oliver, fish and chips, and Xander a margherita pizza. Simple dishes using fine ingredients, beautifully presented.
The desserts were out of this world, and saw Peter and I reluctantly share ours with the kids who couldn’t resist despite gobbling ice cream of their own! First up, was rhubarb and ginger cheesecake with a scoop of Earl Grey clotted cream and then a chocolate fondant with passion fruit and mango sorbet, both garnished with too pretty to eat, edible flowers.
A meal that was perfectly cooked and presented with lots of thoughtful veggie and vegan options too.
FYI the cauliflower cheese is the best I’ve ever tasted. Sorry again, Mum!
Sunday followed the same greedy theme with a big cooked breakfast for the boys (veggie for Xander), an onion omelette for me and vegan avo toast for Pete. How we had room to consume anything else, I’l never know!
After an hour-long scoff, we were given a quick tour of the place (which is, as you can see, a love letter to Laura Ashley), and I must mention this magical drawing room which is where many a newly married couple sign their certificates in.
…Told you it was a big breakfast!
Then it was time to hit the glorious hotel gardens and enjoy the hot weather. The kids swung on the flower-adorned two-seater swing before piecing together jigsaws while perched on chairs in the sunshine.
Oliver even made a friend in a neighbouring cat.
You’ll be glad to know, we moved the time of our original booking for afternoon tea, to later in the day only breaking after completing two mammoth puzzles.
Jigsaws are thirsty work!
Then climbing the staircase we entered the tea rooms.
I think the peacock print wallpaper there is my favourite of Laura Ashley’s (they almost offer a marble effect here) and this room is breathtakingly pretty. Overlooking the balcony and gardens below, you must not miss afternoon tea if you visit, it’s quite the treat!
Henry James was right when he said, ‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea’. Nothing feels more deliciously indulgent than afternoon tea.
Offering a delightful array of freshly made veggie and meat-based finger sandwiches as well warm scones with clotted cream and jam and irresistible cakes and pastries using seasonal produce, created by Pastry Chef, Chris Murrow, there was so much on offer, we were offered a doggy bag for the remaining scones to take home with us to eat later on. We willingly obliged of course as we’d only consumed 27469857209876 calories during our two days stay!
Laura Ashley’s milkshakes certainly bring all the boys to the yard…
We rolled out of Coventry (literally), stopping in picturesque Leamington Spa on our way back home, for a (very slow) walk before Peter drove us back to Windsor, allowing the rest of us to snooze all the way.
What a memorable stay!
Huge thank you to Oana, the food and beverage supervisor, Iven, the guest liaison, Sophie, the tea room assistant and Katie the food and beverage assistant, for their incredible service and generosity.
This is a complimentary stay but as always, my words are honest.
Now you can enjoy a dreamy afternoon tea for yourself, below.
Enter via Rafflecopter to win a traditional Afternoon Tea for 2 adults and 2 children at Laura Ashley The Tea Room, Coventry.
Prize to be redeemed and booked by 31/03/2020 and is subject to availability.
Reservation must be booked in advance by contacting the PR team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel expenses are not included.
Any extras including food and drinks will be charged.
Ends 11th October 2019.
No cash alternative.
This was a complimentary stay but as always, it is honest.
Perhaps, you might like to see a post of me modelling Laura Ashley summer dresses.