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Stapleford Park Country House Hotel

Understated luxury at an English country estate.

Dogfriendly Magazine Review

Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.

Stapleford Park Country House Hotel
Review by: Jane Bowden

In late January 2022, my husband celebrated a rather 'significant' birthday.  With a party not advisable due to Covid, I decided that a few days away would be a suitable alternative.  
We set certain criteria: it had to be something pretty special that was dog friendly (so that Vinnie, our rescue Laffie* could join us), had an indoor pool, lift and a spa, and was not too far away from Nottingham where we live. 

 Lots of Googling later, I came across Stapleford Park Country House Hotel and Sporting Estate near Melton Mowbray which, amazingly, met all the criteria and, even better, had a 3 for 2 offer!  We booked directly with the hotel and the staff sorted out a suitable room (not all rooms are dog friendly) that also had a walk-in shower. 

The approach to the hotel is beautiful (even on a damp January day) as you drive up a long tree lined driveway, past the estate church and then through a sort of 'tunnel' in the building before circling the drive and entering the large car park.  There are fields of sheep and trees for as far as you can see around the hall and the rather grand Grade I listed building is stunning.  Through the huge main door, you enter a massive hall with an open fire, where you check in.  It was at this point that I realised 'dog friendly' really meant 'dog infatuated'; Vinnie was not going to be merely tolerated but was truly welcomed.  It seemed that every member of staff we spoke to had at least one dog and had a true love of dogs.  When really looking at some of the portraits in the bar, I suddenly realised that they were not what they seemed; several had the heads of dogs but still retained the dignity and pose of the original sitter. The room was fine, and Vinnie rapidly learnt where it was, trotting up the magnificent staircase as if to the manner born.  

He was allowed everywhere in the hotel except for the main dining room.  Nobody said anything about the swimming pool area, but I don't think he would have been allowed there!  In the room, he was provided with a large cushion, a bowl and a couple of Bonios. It seemed a bit slim for the £20 per night dog charge, but this is a special place. 

We dined in the 'drawing room' the first night and first morning but decided that the birthday meal had to be in the proper dining room, which left us with the problem of what to do with Vinnie.  The house rules state that dogs shouldn't be left in the room but there is clearly a little leeway if the dog is well behaved, and you are prepared to take the risk and pay for any damage! Alternatively, the reception staff may 'dog sit' if they are not too busy. 

As you would expect, the food and wine are high quality but do not come cheap.  However, the breakfasts (included) are excellent and, as in every other respect, the service is second to none, while not being 'stuffy'.

Within the grounds are formal gardens, outdoor table tennis and chess, and boules available.  There is a tennis court, but it looked as if it might need a lot of work before it could be used.  Normally there is falconry but, due to bird flu, this was suspended during our stay. However, I did have a fascinating chat with the 'falconer' who is clearly passionate about his birds.  We were also offered clay pigeon shooting and archery for an additional charge but stuck to swimming and walking.  The swimming pool is reached via a maze like walk through corridors and up and down staircases but is well worth the walk. It is, therefore, not really suitable for anyone with difficulty walking, although the manager was incredibly helpful in working out an alternative route that didn't involve this tricky walk for my husband.  The pool is big enough for anyone wanting to swim lengths and there is also a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.   Robes and towels are all provided.

 

The smart spa connected with the hotel is down the driveway (buggies are available to transport you) in a converted stables. Treatments are booked separately.

 

Unfortunately, Dog Friendly hasn't yet produced a guide to Leicestershire, but Stapleford is close to Lincolnshire and there is a guide for that.  The weather wasn't great, so we didn't do a lot of exploring although we did visit Rutland Water which is about 12 miles away from Stapleford.  It is a wonderful (and huge) place for walking, bird watching, fishing, open water swimming and cycling.  From April it will also be possible to take a boat trip on the 'Rutland Belle'.  Dogs must be on leads in most of the area around Rutland Water although there is a small 'off lead' area close to an Insect Zoo called Bugtopia and a mini golf course.   

We also visited Oakham, a lovely little town that houses the famous public school and where you can buy award winning pork pies. Most dog walks were in the grounds which are extensive, and on the disused golf course.  Locally, there are plenty of good, dog friendly, pubs including the "Tap and Run", owned by England cricketer Stuart Broad, "The Wheatsheaf" in Oakham (good home cooked food) and the "Finch's Arms", Hambleton.  Be aware though that many close on Mondays and Tuesdays or don't serve food on these days. 

Stapleford is a wedding and conference venue and has a number of rooms of various sizes to accommodate different sizes of groups.  Whilst we were there, there was a birthday party in one room and a conference in another area.  However, it never felt crowded or busy, in fact, rather the opposite: at breakfast one morning there were more staff than customers!  There is a very calm atmosphere.  Because of the conference /wedding focus, you may get a better deal when booking midweek.  To book Stapleford you can contact the hotel directly or can use online booking sites. They do not publish a tariff but do offer special deals such as the three for two one that we got.  We paid £360 for the 3 night bed and breakfast stay, plus £60 for Vinnie (but he's worth it!).  It really is a special place and ideal for a special celebration.

 

For more information on the DogFriendly magazine visit  https://www.dogfriendly.co.uk/magazine


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Listing Updated: 12/04/2022


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Listing Address

Stapleford
Melton Mowbray
Leicestershire
LE14 2EF
01572 787522
Website

Listing Details

Can Leave Dog Unattended

No


Wheel Chair Access

Yes


Owner Has A Dog

No


Limit On Dog Size

No Limit


No. Of Dogs Allowed

2


Charge For Dogs

Yes


Miscellaneous Notes

Charge for dogs includes Dog, Treats, Bowl and Basket


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