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A piece of England hidden away in Lincolnshire
Petwood Hotel (Woodhall Spa)
Author Name: Praskipark
Petwood Hotel (Woodhall Spa)
Advantages: Beautiful old-style country hotel in lovely setting, professional staff, good food and atmospheric
Disadvantages: At this moment - none
Last February we were called away to the UK for family reasons and as the timing was very close to Valentine's Day my husband as a surprise booked a room in the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa which isn't too far from Grantham. My family live in Boston so the hotel wasn't too far away.
Petwood - a strange name for a hotel, you might think. I always think of pets as in dogs and cats but the pet pertaining to this hotel is actually a favourite wood of the heiress who originally owned the house and 30 acres of woodland surrounding the hotel.
My husband was already very familiar with the Petwood as he had used the conference facilities many times in the past in his UK consultancy days. What I didn't realise until the evening of the 13th was that not only were we staying in an executive room but he had actually booked for the special Valentine's dinner. This caused a little panic attack on my part as he didn't tell me until we had left Poland and I wasn't sure if I had the correct clothing for the evening. However, once I saw the hotel hidden away within it's beautiful grounds I put the thought of clothes and dressing up on hold for a while. I was stunned at the beauty of the building and gardens.
So exactly where is the Petwood Hotel? This attractive Edwardian building which was originally built for Baroness Von Eckhardstein, and once home of the RAF squadron, known as the Dambusters, in World War II, is situated in Woodhall Spa, in rural Lincolnshire. Nearest city is Lincoln, approximately 19 miles and Grantham is about a 45 minutes drive away. We hired a car for our time spent in UK but the Petwood can be reached by public transport. Coaches and buses stop at the local bus stop which is half a mile away from the hotel and the railway station is approximately five miles. A pick up from the hotel can be arranged beforehand or if you forget; one quick call and someone will come out to pick you up. Also, taxis can be arranged to both pick up points. Note that the nearest airports - about an hour away are Nottingham, Doncaster and Leeds.
You can book online but I believe my husband booked by telephone and paid a deposit with his credit card. The telephone number is: Telephone: +44 (0)1526 352411. A conformation fax was then sent and on leaving the hotel after our stay he paid the bill in full with his credit card.
As I said we arrived by car so the first thing was to park before off loading our luggage which wasn't too much as we always tend to travel light. The main car park is at the front of the hotel and there are extra spaces located outside the woodland suite and terrace. An attendant was available to help people with luggage or heavy equipment.
My husband had told me about the original features of the hotel many times but I was still knocked out by the main wooden staircase which is on view as you enter reception. It really is quite stunning and even though it is well over a hundred years old, designed by Frank Peck in 1908, is still in excellent condition. Oak is one of my favourite types of wood because of its colour and durability and the wood panels on this staircase and carvings are of a very high standard. The lady on reception was very polite and well spoken and asked if we needed help with our bags which we said, No thanks. I never feel comfortable with other people carrying my bags. I let my husband carry on with all the details while I wandered around looking at the paintings and books in reception. I liked the solid reception desk and the old-fashioned pigeon holes at the back of the desk and the way that this area had kept its originality. After my husband had checked in we were shown the way to our room which was on the ground floor.
It was around 3 in the afternoon when we arrived and not the best of afternoons weather wise. It was quite a dark day with a slight drizzle. I mention the weather because as I walked into the room and looked through the French windows leading to the lawn I could see a wedding party having their photographs taken. The setting was perfect but the weather wasn't.
Our room was enormous. Nearly as large as my flat here in Warsaw. The ceilings were high and the room had a light and airy feel. Walls were of a light shade of cream with decorative covings and cornices. The bed was King size, covered with a floral, chintzy bedspread, bolster pillow and extra pillows in the matching decorative style. Curtains which were full length and very swishy were made from the same material and pattern as the bedding. Above the window was a pelmet which I always like as it reminds me of a cottage I once lived in, in Cumbria. The main colour of furniture situated in another room to the side of the sleeping area, was pale green which isn't my favourite shade although it is meant to be relaxing. The chairs and sofa were made from a velvety material and were very soft and comfortable. I really liked the desk which was in French style - one of those where the front rolls down to form a flat area for writing on. Inside are lots of tiny shelves and nooks and crannies to put paper, envelopes etc. Now for the best bit. On the coffee table was a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne in a bucket with ice and a box of chocolates. The flowers were very pretty - a mixture of lilies and Birds of Paradise, my favourite flower; a native from South Africa but I know these plants from Madeira. My husband had ordered these treats as part of the package. On another side table there were crystal glasses and two large bottles of mineral water (fizzy and non fizzy), tea making facilities with coffee and tea (decaffeinated too), best china cups - very dainty, a selection of hand crafted oat biscuits. Although not contemporary enough for me I did like the room and especially loved the fact that the windows opened out on to the lawn.
There was a separate door leading to the bathroom which was spotless and of a more modern design. White fluffy bath robes were placed on the door, towels and complimentary toiletries were of high quality and plenty to choose from. There was a bath and a separate shower; water was plentiful and very hot. The size of the bathroom was exceptionally large - you could have had a game of football in this area. It was nice to spend time in a room that wasn't cramped which is what I find in a lot of hotels in Europe. Spacious, clean, modern - what more could I ask for?
The grounds belonging to the hotel are wonderful for strolling through even on a wet drizzly morning. I should imagine in the snow they look really very pretty. The landscaping is a bit of a mixture. There are many formal areas with manicured lawns and bedding plants. Other areas are wild and woody; hilly parts and areas that have been levelled and paved. The flower that always reminds me of Edwardian England is a rhododendron although it is the national flower of Nepal and throughout the walkways and woods are so many varieties of this woody plant.
As the Valentine's dinner was going to be a special meal we decided to have a drink in the terrace bar before going into the dining room. This is a nice room with furniture in keeping with the era of the building which has a mock Tudor feel about it. I should think in daylight this is a light room as there are many windows looking out into the vast gardens.
The barman was friendly, dressed in a smart uniform and stood very proud behind his well stocked bar. He asked us if we were staying for the Valentine's meal. When we said, Yes, he said that one of his colleagues would come over to our table with the menus for the evening. We ordered a glass of chilled white wine and went to sit over near to the window to look out on to the lawn and wooded areas which were lit up.
The manager of the dining room did come to our table with the set menus for the evening and asked us what time we would like to go forward into the dining room. Obviously, it was going to be a busy night with the wedding party and lots of guests staying for the Valentine's dinner. The staff seemed very well prepared, organised and amiable. This is not always the case in a large hotel. I was impressed.
The dining room is traditional in style with dark tables covered in white linen cloths, chairs with red velvet backs that matched the dining room carpet. Waiter service is exceptional here and they are on the ball.
There were 4 different set menus; all included a starter, main meal, dessert, cheese and biscuits, half bottle of wine or champagne. The price was £35 each for the meal. The room was decorated in Valentine style but very tasteful and not at all tacky. There was a single red rose on the table - a bit clichéd but a nice touch. We both chose vegetable consomme as a starter which was delicious and really attractive. Every vegetable had been shaped into a heart.
The main meal was baked trout with toasted almonds, stuffed with garlic and mushrooms followed by duchesse potatoes and a selection of fresh vegetables. The potatoes were cute; they had been piped into heart shapes, were very soft and tasted of a mixed puree of butter, egg and seasoning. The trout was cooked just like it should be where the meat just falls off the skeleton. Trout can sometimes taste bland but I think the creaminess and garlicky taste of the stuffing was the added extra in this dish and I loved the crunchiness of the almonds. Vegetable selection was also delicious and each vegetable wasn't overcooked.
For dessert we had a huge slice of Death by Chocolate; a multi layered chocolate cake consisting of dark chocolate mousse, sponge and ganache with a huge dollop of thick fresh cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sparkler on the top. Yes, we were full but the half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc helped aid our digestion and made room for the cheese selection. It was nice to see Blue Stilton in the selection of cheeses as this is my favourite blue cheese especially served on a crisp digestive biscuit.
As you have probably guessed we had saved the champagne which was in our room for later and we were a bit tipsy on this evening and consequently next morning had a slightly fuzzy head. We were in luck - a full English breakfast awaited us in the Terrace bar and it was superb. Consisted of the full works, bacon, sausages, egg, hash browns, beans and mushrooms. The lovely waiter was spot on when filling our coffee cups up. Only thing was - I ate too much and felt a bit sickly afterwards but that was through my own gluttony and had nothing to do with the quality of food.
To sum up, the Petwood Hotel is a three star country hotel with good access. It is in a wonderful setting, very close to Tatershall Castle, the city of Lincoln with its cathedral and castle, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre and the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa. Rooms, suites are spacious and very attractive, staff are very professional and organised. The grounds are stunning and well worth a stroll around.
We went along for the Valentine's evening but many more events are held here at the Petwood. I will leave a link at the bottom of my review. As I mentioned in the beginning my husband has used the hotel for conference facilities in the past and was always pleased with the hotel's rooms and facilities. Small or large conferences can be catered for and you can even design your own conference package whether it be residential or for only a day.
Also, if you want to pamper yourself there is a beauty salon offering various therapies. The hotel also specialises in organising wedding banquets. Details and prices can be viewed when clicking on the link at the end of the article.
I'm not really sure how much my husband paid for a night's stay plus a Valentine's meal and all the extras. I know the set meal was £35 and at a guess I would say the room cost somewhere in the region of £120. For a special occasion, I don't think that is too bad. I was very pleased with my surprise, loved the champers, chocolates and flowers which I took back to my sister's house.
Yes, I will give this charming hotel full marks. I liked the Petwood Hotel very much because it is an old-style country hotel and hasn't changed over the years. I haven't lived in England for a long time now and it is nice for me to be able to stay somewhere that is quintessentially English. Highly Recommended.
Other snippets of info that might come in useful:
Pets are allowed.
Major Credit cards are accepted
Disabled access is very good with ramps leading to the entrance, many rooms adapted for disabled persons throughout the hotel as well as toilets in the bar and restaurant areas.
In reception area there is an induction hearing loop.
For visitors who have special needs whether they be dietary or any other special needs always speak to the head receptionist or head housekeeper. Probably best to mention dietary requirements in advance.
Telephone: +44 (0)1526 352411
Fax: +44 (0)1526 353473
Webiste : www.petwood.co.uk
Summary: A piece of England hidden away in Lincolnshire
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