When we arrived at the hotel first impressions were good. The Georgian house looked lovely in the light, grand but not imposing, the front door garnished with two festive holly wreaths.
Love the festive decorations
I already had an appointment booked at the spa, so as we were too early to check-in, Mr W. went to discover the delights of Ludlow.
The spa at Fishmore Hall is a new facility, offering 4 treatment rooms, 2 couple rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a jacuzzi and the products used are Elemis. I was greeted by Rosie my therapist who was very welcoming, explained the treatment and got me to fill in a health questionnaire. Before my treatment, I asked how long the spa had been open and Rosie explained it had opened only a few weeks previously and the whole spa was put together and transported down and put up in less than a day! What an interesting concept, and a great idea for hotels to offer that extra special experience to their customers.
The spa at Fishmore Hall
The treatment I chose was a hot stone massage - the Lava Shell thermal spa experience. Now I'm in my 40's and a little embarrassed to say this but I have never had a massage in a spa. So I was a little unsure what to expect but Rosie put me at ease straight away. I was shown where to change, given a robe and slippers and then the treatment began.
I had to say the massage was so relaxing, and Rosie used a special coconut oil base which wasn't too greasy or too perfumed. I'm not a fan of strongly scented massage oils but this was just perfect. The hot stone used was placed on my body and Rosie ensured it was at the right temperature and not too hot. Rosie appeared to be very experienced in massage and used a variety of massage techniques and before long any stress I was feeling prior to my visit was a distant memory. With the lights dimmed and with soft music playing I was in heaven.
Jacuzzi with views of the beautiful countryside
After the treatment, I was offered the use of the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. The jacuzzi was outside with lovely views of the surrounding countryside, and although it was frosty outside getting into the warm water was a lovely experience.
|A hammock to hang out in and relax|
After the spa treatment, we went back to the main reception to check-in and were shown to our room by the receptionist.
Fresh modern decor
A very large bath in a chic bathroom
Love the Elemis toiletries and the glam mirror
A glamorous bathroom with a Hollywood style mirror, large shower and very large bath was a nice surprise, as well as the Elemis toiletries. This room had personality!
Little touches like fresh milk and Elemis products make all the difference
Wi-fi was fast and easy to access which was a huge plus when you work online like we both do.
We decided then to go out and explore Ludlow which was only a mile or so away. Ludlow was a real delight too, with plenty of Tudor style houses and over 500 listed buildings. The town centre was full of cafes, delis and lovely little clothes and gift shops, and some bigger chains like White Stuff and Joules. After a coffee and the purchase of a new scarf for Mr W, we decided to return to the hotel, where we relaxed in the room until our evening meal.
Before our meal, we decided to have a drink in the lounge area and sat and sipped a Cosmopolitan and a Long Island iced tea whilst we studied the menu.
ForellesWe were then taking through to the restaurant. Forelles is a fine dining restaurant headed by Andrew Birch head chef. You may have seen him on The Great British Menu. With the emphasis on local produce, they endeavour to source their ingredients from within 30 miles of the hotel, an excellent ethos I think you must agree. If you want a more casual meal the hotel also has a brasserie menu too.
When looking at the wine menu we thought the prices were reasonable and wines by the glass could be ordered if you wished. So we ordered a decent priced bottle of fragrant Chardonnay and before long the food arrived.
Firstly we were served a tasty pre-starter of light cheese choux puffs with an Emmental cheese sauce and pig's head croquettes with a mild mustard sauce. Ok I must admit at this point I was in two minds due to the description of the croquettes but they were honestly delicious. A crispy coating hid the moist meaty filling and the sauce was a great accompaniment without overpowering the croquettes. The cheese puffs were flavorful, the cheese inside was not too strong and although the sauce was mild it added extra flavour.
Pigs head croquettes and cheese choux puffs
After a short break a basket of warm delicious bread arrived and then our starters - lobster and salmon ravioli for me and a pear and cheese salad for Mr W. When the ravioli arrived it came with a lobster bisque which was poured ceremoniously over the ravioli and I liked this presentation. It felt like my starter was definitely an event! The ravioli was full of big chunks of lobster and the bisque was absolutely delicious with a slight spice and was well seasoned. The pear salad was described as Williams pear, walnut, lemon Shropshire blue cheese and maple. Mr W. enjoyed his pear salad although it didn't have the wow aspect of the ravioli.
Extreme action shot - Lobster and salmon ravioli in a lobster bisque
Pear and cheese salad
Before the next course came an amuse bouche of quinoa which tasted slightly smoky but was full of fresh flavours and lightness. The slivers of almonds added a nice texture to the dish too.
Quinoa amuse bouche
We both ordered the duck which came next. The duck we thought was outstanding. Duck can often be tough if not cooked correctly but this duck was ever so tender, cutting into it was like butter. The skin was crunchy and crisp with a smattering of salt. Served with honeyed parsnips, braised red cabbage and prunes, exceptionally vegetable crisps and a red wine jus it was just superb and a feast for the eyes as you can see below. If Mr W, who doesn't normally eat duck, enjoyed it, you can see how outstanding the dish was.
Duck with a crispy skin and honeyed parsnips and a red wine jus
Just before the dessert, we had a pre-dessert of a lemon meringue mousse. Now I'm not one to turn down desserts but at this stage, with all the courses and the extra amuse bouche dishes, it was almost one course too far, but I did the best I could and snaffled it down in no time.
Pre-dessert of lemon meringue mousse with layers of lemon
For my actual dessert, I decided to have the passion fruit and mango cheesecake whilst Mr W refrained, instead he decided to have a cheese course, which was a selection of five kinds of tasty cheese. If you wanted more you could pay a supplement for up to ten.
Passion fruit and mango cheesecake
The passion fruit and mango cheesecake was a delight to behold. A lovely creamy filling with a fruity glazed top, a biscuit base and served with a refreshing mango sorbet. Mango pieces and a drizzle of passion fruit and mango sauce finished this dish. Perfect for these with a sweet tooth I really liked the textures and flavour of the smooth creamy filling which worked well with the crunchy base. The mix of passion fruit and mango complemented each other extremely well.
There was a great selection of cheese to choose from including local cheeses such as Hereford Hop and Shropshire Blue, and these were served with a Forge Cottage apple and plum chutney, homemade biscuits and grapes. Mr W. really enjoyed the Hereford Hop cheese especially, which was a full-fat hard cheese coated with toasted hops with a distinctive buttery sharp but sweet flavour.
Overall we both thought the meal was beautifully presented and the flavours were fantastic. We also thought the staff were excellent. The young French waiter was very helpful and anything he didn't know he went and asked. So sated with full stomachs and with the wine making us a little giggly we bid our farewell and retired to bed.
After another restful night's sleep, we were ready for our breakfast the next morning. For breakfast, there was a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts, nuts and seeds, as well as toast and your choices of a cooked option, such as a full English breakfast or Eggs Benedict amongst other things.
At this point, I was wondering if I could eat any more food but somehow I did and polished off the delicious full English breakfast in no time, whilst Mr W went for the Eggs Benedict.
Food is locally sourced wherever possible
*We were given a complimentary stay, all words and opinions are my own