Words & Photography by Granville Orange and the Elms Hotel
Welcome to our latest feature on where to stay if making the pilgrimage to Malvern and the Morgan factory. This month we are at The Elms, Abberley, and should you be looking for a peaceful, relaxing and comfortable hotel in the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire, then this is your place. Granville Orange met up with General Manager Martin Page to review the hotel on behalf of our readers.
The Elms is a privately owned, luxurious country hotel, set in 10 acres of attractive rural grounds and gardens. Not only that, but it has a fabulous spa where you and your fellow guests can relax, treat yourselves, and indulge in the various facilities and treatments on offer. There is a large car park where you can safely park your treasured Morgan, and car clubs and groups of Morgan owners are particularly welcome.
The hotel has 23 rooms, 17 in the main hotel, which dates back over 300 years, and 6 in the Coach House, where well-behaved dogs are welcome. All rooms have a view, those to the front across the meadow, and those at the rear across the Teme valley.
The hotel is just 18 miles from Malvern Link and the Morgan factory. It is also just 7 miles from Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, the oldest motor racing track in the world. Attracting car enthusiasts over many a weekend during summer, check out the web site for forthcoming events, and I know if Christine and I were staying over at the Elms, she would be perfectly content to let me go off to the hill climb whilst she spent the day being pampered in the hotel spa !
The spa includes an indoor swimming pool, indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool, a thermal retreat, two steam rooms, a sauna, and an ice fountain, plus four Elemis treatment rooms. There is also a tennis court and croquet lawn, plus the ten acres of grounds for guests to enjoy, all free of charge for residents. The spa also incorporates a garden cafe serving drinks and healthy snacks.
Having enjoyed a day at the spa or out and about, wherever you might have been, you are guaranteed a warm welcome back at the Elms. The relaxing lounge has a lovely country house ambiance and amongst the various glossy magazines dotted around you might even find copies of MOG to enjoy. There is a very well stocked Library Bar with an artisan gin trolley (the cocktail waiter will mix exceptional gins to your specific liking) where you can sit and relax whilst perusing the menu for dinner. The Elms prides itself on growing much of the food served, within its own market garden, and on serving high quality local produce wherever possible. The restaurant (known as “Brookes” after Richard Brookes, a former owner of the hotel, has earned itself a four star AA silver rating plus two AA Fine Dining Rosettes and is open to non-residents too. The Elms has a growing reputation for its afternoon teas, and should you prefer a less formal meal there is a lounge bar menu on offer too.
This part of Worcestershire is scarcely populated, and off the usual beaten track of visitors to the region. However, if you do take the opportunity to travel to this part of rural Worcestershire then the scenery to be enjoyed is simply stunning with lush green valleys nestled between wooded hillsides, with pretty unspoilt villages and hamlets and some lovely country properties to appreciate. This is some of the most beautiful scenery not only in Worcestershire but in the UK and beyond.
The Elms has an interesting history. Built in 1710 during the reign of Queen Anne, it was designed by Gilbert White, a pupil of the famous Sir Christopher Wren who designed amongst other buildings, St Paul’s, London. Gilbert White also designed the magnificent Guildhall in Worcester (which is worth a visit should you be visiting the city on your travels and stay here). Elm trees once lined the drive from the main road up to the hotel, but they have long since gone and have been replaced with lime trees. In 1840 the house was owned by an Admiral Malin, then in 1854 by Rev Pearson who had married into a wealthy Swiss family – the Moilliet’s, who owned nearby Abberley Hall.
The Elms was purchased in 1927 by Baronet Richard Brookes as mentioned above, who was a famous race horse breeder and ran Abberley Stud. He added new wings to the house and furnished it with fine features. However, upon the first night of occupation following all the renovation and additions to the Elms, it caught fire and was gutted throughout, the only remnants been the main external walls. The Elms was then rebuilt as we find it today, and was sold in 1946 when it then became a hotel.
Tim informs me that they have had a number of famous guests stay but the hotel discreetly respects the confidentiality of all guests, so names could not be mentioned! However, should fame and/or fortune afflict any of our readers, then the hotel also has a heli-pad for your treasured mode of transport should it not be your Morgan !
Local attractions in addition to Shelsley Walsh include the Severn Valley Steam Railway at Kidderminster, and the West Midlands Safari Park at Bewdley, plus several National Trust properties.
Readers wishing to stay are encouraged to book with the hotel direct for the best rates, albeit they do have a good rating with Trip Advisor and other booking sites. Also do have a look at the hotel web site for the latest special offers. Check in is at the usual 3.00pm, departures by 11.00am the following day.
The Elms, Stockton Road, Abberley, Worcestershire, WR6 6AT. Tel: 01299 896 666 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Editor’s note: We are pleased to report that Copper Beech House, that we reviewed in our “Where to Stay” article in the March 2019 edition of MOG has won best B&B in Malvern, coming first out of 31 establishments. Congratulations from all at MOG to Kathy and Steve for achieving this accolade).
(We can also report that Stanbrook Abbey, which we featured last year in MOG, whilst already a unique and luxurious hotel venue, has just undergone a further £4.2m investment with additional bedrooms and improvements).