BREXIT and the pandemic did not make life easy for any of Britain’s hotels.
Brockencote Hall was no exception, but it has now capitalised on an unexpected opportunity that the double whammy threw up.
The Worcestershire hotel, renowned for its grand rooms and fine dining, found itself switching from a largely European workforce to a British one
And this meant the hotel no longer needed to use its gatehouse as staff accommodation.
The gatehouse has now been transformed into Brockencote Lodge, a perfect retreat for both bridal parties and families, adding another string to the hotel’s bow.
The attractive, two-storey property has three spacious and sumptuous ensuite bedrooms with all the features you would expect from a luxurious hotel, plus an open plan lounge and kitchen-diner.
Brockencote Hall is super busy with weddings and the lodge is already proving popular with bridaL parties the night before the big day and with happy couples after their nuptials, and it was plain to see why during my family’s overnight stay.
The first floor bedroom has a dressing room where brides can check every inch of their dress and an enormous double shower that’s perfect for the bride and groom on their first morning as man and wife.
There’s also a lovely sun-trap garden with a large patio and a wood-fired hot tub where the bride and her bridesmaids can enjoy a night of bubbles and bubbly before the big day in total privacy.
Should guests not want to cook their own dinner they can choose from a selection of meals to be delivered to their door. Alternatively, of course, they can indulge at the hotel’s Chaddesley Restaurant.
A Jaguar is on hand at all times of the day and night to ferry guests the short distance between the lodge and the hotel.
As our visit proved, the lodge is also a great base for a family break. Our two kids loved the hot tub, of course, as well as their palatial bedrooms and complimentary chocolates and biscuits.
They also made friends with the horses in the adjacent field.
Just one mile away is the beautiful Harvington Hall, a moated Elizabethan manor house with the country’s largest surviving series of priest holes and impressive Elizabethan wall hangings.
Within a 15-minute drive are the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Bromsgrove, and both the West Midland Safari Park and the Severn Valley Railway heritage line in Kidderminster.
There’s also Hartlebury Castle (historic home of the Bishops of Worcester turned county museum) and the Falconry Centre at West Hagley, offering flying displays and handling opportunities.
Ever so slightly further afield are the Clent Hills, the Waseley Hills, Bodenham Arboretum, the River Severn at Bewdley and the National Trust rock houses at Kinver Edge.
Brockencote Hall Hotel is a beautiful Victorian country manor house down a leafy lane off the Bromsgrove to Kidderminster road and is a five-minute walk from the attractive village of Chaddesley Corbett.
In the 1940s, following a major fire, Brockencote was remodelled as a French-style chateau by the well-travelled Butler family (of the Mitchell and Butler brewery).
Its potential as a hotel and restaurant was seen by Joseph and Alison Petitjean, who first viewed the property just two days after their wedding in France in 1985. They invested heavily in Brockencote, adding a conservatory and a new building to perfectly match the original, and traded successfully for 25 years.
But by 2011 the hotel had become dated and the Petitjeans realised that it required a major overhaul to remain attractive to its well-heeled clientele. They put Brockencote on the market and it was snapped up by Sir Peter Rigby’s expanding group of luxury hotels, the Eden Collection. A multi-million pound facelift breathed new life into the buildings, combining the traditional with the contemporary.
Now well established as one of the finest hotels and restaurants in Worcestershire, it is set in 70 acres of parkland, featuring a scenic lake, tennis court and restored, half-timbered dovecote dating from the 1600s.
Brockencote has won a host of awards including 4 AA red stars for its levels of comfort and hospitality, alongside 3 AA Rosettes for its outstanding cuisine at the Chaddesley Restaurant.
Tim Jenkins has been the head chef at Brockencote since 2016, satisfying foodies, afternoon tea diners and celebrities including Gary Barlow and his fellow Take That band mates during their stay.
In January the hotel received plaudits when it closed for 11 days and organised optional wellbeing events for staff following a turbulent 20 months during the pandemic.
Prices for the whole lodge start from £700 per night – based on six people sharing. It includes a generous breakfast hamper. Additional children can be accommodated on extra beds (£20 per bed or cot per night). Dogs are charged at £25 per night and this includes bedding and bowl. The lodge can be divided into three, so it can be booked as a one-bedroomed self-catering property, with the remaining two bedrooms adding to the 21 in the main hotel.