LIVING’s Nancy Emery escaped into the heart of Cheshire for some classic dining and boutique accommodation courtesy of Flat Cap Hotels
If you were to define boutique; it’s something of a speciality – something that has an air of unusual character and unique charm. You can jump in the car and travel for a couple of hours and come across some enchantingly charming and charismatic places to stay but head to neighbouring Cheshire and there are just as exciting escapes to experience.
Grade II listed country pub and hotel, The Vicarage, located in Cranage, Cheshire, has launched six luxury signature rooms this year, following its initial opening in 2015 after a hefty refurbishment by the young but dynamic Heywood brothers. They own the Cheshire based hotel group, Flat Cap Hotels.
There are a further 20 en-suite bedrooms on the site but you wouldn’t know. They are cleverly hidden behind the main building, leaving you to enjoy the rustic atmosphere of a traditional country pub.
As soon as you pull in the entrance of The Vicarage, you’re impressed. And not just because you can finally exit the busy Knutsford Road part of the A50, which, incidentally, gives it an excellent positioning for Staffordshire, as well as the North West, and if you are a business traveller looking for a little grace in your working week, you would be better-placed here.
On entering the pub, you walk into the most historic part of the building, there are joyful drinkers dotted around the many areas of the interior and you can see that the otherwise quiet Holmes Chapel society are pleased to have somewhere quirky to congregate. There is a grand fireplace area at the foot of an original feature staircase, there are punters playing pool in the library room, and plenty of nooks and crannies to escape into if you’d rather a quiet drink.
The signature rooms are accessed from here via a creaky staircase up to the first floor. We stayed in suite number 24, the room reserved for newly-weds and bridal parties. It’s a fusion of styles but it seems to work. A boudoir style king-sized bed is wonderfully comfortable, the original wooden beams and heavy embroidered curtains remind you of the setting, while the vintage touches add another element of design to the room, including pieces of antique furniture selected by the Heywood family themselves.
Special touches include a jar of complimentary homemade cookies, a Nespresso machine, and a 3D compatible 42-inch TV. I wasn’t privy to other rooms but I’m told they all have been individually designed. The bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom; it features a freestanding roll top bath and large walk in shower. Great for couples looking for a romantic break.
The Vicarage sees itself as a food-led destination and with a 150-cover restaurant, bar, library and games room, it’s got local foodies excited and with good reason. Steve Tuke heads up the kitchen (ex-Oddfellows in Chester) and offers a seasonal menu that is hearty and country-style with a decent and varied wine list to match.
Evening dishes include Shropshire Blue Salas, Salt & Pepper Squid, Lamb Rump, Linguini, Steak & Chips and the signature Vicarage Burger. The food is tasty, the service is good and a bustling atmosphere all contribute to making it a great place for a Cheshire night out. For Staffordshire couples looking for a bit of understated luxury and interesting charm, this would be a great stop for a couple of nights, it’s easy to get too and perfect for a Cheshire mini-moon to get you started with married life.
Prices start from £140 per room per night with a full English breakfast the following morning. The hotel is also dog-friendly, with a £10 surcharge per dog per night. To book at The Vicarage call 01477 533393 or visit www.thevicaragecheshire.com for more information.