One of England’s wonderful qualities is that it has history and heritage that goes back centuries. Hotels such as the Grade I listed Rushton Hall & Spa, on the borders of the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire, is a testament to that.
Its good looks and wonderful Jacobean ceilings were fashioned by Sir John Tresham who lived there for some 200 years. By 1829 it was in the hands of William Williams-Hope of Hope Diamond fame – a gem said to be worth 300 million dollars. When he died, Miss Clara Thornhill, a friend of Charles Dickens, purchased Rushton Hall. In 1957 the RNIB opened the hall as a school in and sold it in 2003 to H I Limited, a privately owned family business.
But it’s not the fact that this stone building dates back to 1438 or that it has links to the gunpowder plot or even that Charles Dickens wrote his famous novel Great Expectations here – featuring the Great Hall where Lady Havisham would sit – that makes it special.
The building has a most intriguing provenance but it’s most overwhelming pull is that this four-star hotel and its 28-acre estate, myriad antique furnishings and original stone fireplaces, is quite simply, beyond posh. You will get a sense of this even as you approach through a pair of suitably elegant gatehouses and onto a long twisty stretch of driveway that leads to the majestic building that looms ahead.
This grand hotel oozes romance in its wood timbered walls, chandeliers, and gracious service. Families would find this a calming venue to celebrate an anniversary or birthday, and with so much decorum, business travellers would find respite here.
There are 46 individually styled bedrooms, 30 of which are in the main house, another 15 in the stables above the spa with another six in the newly built Orangerie.
Bedrooms are sumptuous, luxuriously spacious and sometimes with intricate plasterwork. The staterooms have four poster double beds with rich drapes and lovely touches such as an old-fashioned trouser press (you have no idea how useful this is). Bathrooms are stylish and whether you get a bath, shower or both, all have Penhaligon’s toiletries.
Tip: Choose a stateroom for the optimum stately experience.
The Great Hall is a room to behold. You could spend some meditative time appreciating the intricately carved stone fireplace, oak panelling and the stained glass windows. Or just enjoy some quiet time.
The spa comes with a full menu of treatments with six treatment rooms (ideal for groups such as hen parties), an 18-metre pool, sauna, steam room, two hot tubs (inside and outside), a room dedicated to spinning, and a fully equipped gym, which was used by Hugh Jackman when getting fit for Wolverine. Outside is a relaxation area with sunbeds.
The grounds are lush and plentiful with ancient trees, a lake and several walking trails that make for a wonderful after-lunch or pre-dinner saunter.
Food and Drink
Top-notch dining is served in their stately dining room and is created by Head Chef Adrian Coulthard using seasonal ingredients and local suppliers to produce their spin on British cuisine.
For lunch, there is a lounge menu and comprises soup, Ploughman’s lunch, gourmet dishes or a simple sandwich with a side of fries.
If you are there over the weekend, you can enjoy their Sunday lunch of roasted meats or vegetarian dishes.
Afternoon tea is popular and ranges from scones and finger sandwiches and an assortment of cakes. Sip tea or champagne depending on how extravagant you feel.
There is a smart casual dress code so trainers and t-shirts will look out of place.
Northampton town is around half an hour away, but the whole point of a stay here is to enjoy a luxurious couple of days within the hotel itself.
Classic Bedroom rate from £240 for two including dinner bed and a full English breakfast.
You may also like to read: The Stately Homes of Northamptonshire