Combining history with an idiosyncratic and contemporary edge, Oddfellows On The Park brings a little originality to Bruntwood Park
Staying at Oddfellows On The Park is certainly a quirky experience but a pleasant one all the same – but then the name is a dead giveaway. And if you thought it was just a name for namesake you’d be wrong. Everything about the hotel – from the décor to room layout and the staff– is a little bit kooky, even the chef has curated an eccentric but heavenly menu in its restaurant.
If you are wondering where it all stems from, it’s actually quite a novel inspiration – the historic ‘Odd Fellows’ society – a group of peculiar but fascinating folk that weren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd – and once you step foot inside an Oddfellows hotel you can begin to see the connection.
Oddfellows On The Park is the second hotel for the chain, the first being in Chester, and is located within Bruntwood Park in Cheadle, just off the A34, and about 15 minutes from Manchester City Centre. The park is actually quite a popular recreational location for nearby residents, with sports facilities and a children’s playground, but right at the heart, accessed by a private driveway, is the hotel, a beautiful conversion of a Victorian mansion, and it really is stunning – statuesque and almost gothic-like and you feel pleasantly secluded. Having visited both sites, this one has a distinctly different atmosphere to its West Cheshire sibling, there are no late night revellers here, it’s very much a reserved and refined version of the original hotel, with a firm focus on fine dining and sophistication.
The aim is to be unconventional in design while still providing the best in hospitality – and it does seem to do the trick. The quirks come in the form of provocative art, winding corridors, contrasting colour schemes, and unusual features – it’s a bit like you’ve walked into Alice in Wonderland but it somehow manages to find a comfortable spot just behind the line of obscurity.
This is helped by a softened chaos in the room décor. We stayed in a Playground Suite, what would have been the master bedrooms of the original hall, brilliantly spacious rooms with a feature king-sized bed positioned right in the centre benefiting from a magnificent view of the park ahead and a huge separate bathroom with walk-in shower and toilet. If you can, it is well worth getting a room that has a free-standing Victorian-style bath sitting in the window adjacent to the bed. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of weird and wonderful to enjoy inside the rooms too; from mismatched furniture to curious wall art and eccentric accessories but, most importantly, you feel cosy, comfortable and serene.
A total of 22 bedrooms are available, giving it a boutique hotel vibe, with ample wedding facilities if you are looking for something a bit different for your big day. Throughout the hotel, there are nods to the history of the location, most notably to Bruntwood Park’s equine past. The Galloping Major restaurant, the Stud bar and Grand Landing lamp stand (which was an almost life-sized horse statue) being the more obvious ones. But Victorian features are also present – from the tiled flooring to the intricate ceiling and an original main stair case and bannister.
One of the highlights of the stay was undeniably the food. We beg you to take advantage of the stay and dine packages on option here and sample the surprising delights that are served up in the restaurant – aptly named: ‘The Galloping Major’ after the mansion’s second owner. Chef Ian Moss (who trained under top Michelin-starred chefs, Marcus Wareing and Brett Graham) is quite the wizard in the kitchen but then would you expect anything less from this whimsical and charming abode? Of course not! On recommendation, we went for the ‘Taster of Everything’ menu – the chef’s favourites – dishes were highly imaginative, super-tasty and exquisitely presented; the Miso Cured Tuna, Cannon of Lamb and Rhubarb Cheesecake were particularly delicious. We also had the additional Wine Flight to accompany – superbly paired choices, explained perfectly by local lad, Anthony, and just making the night wonderfully memorable.
Another addition to this version of Oddfellows is the adjoining spa called: ‘The Pigsty’ – in name only, I assure you. There is a Rasul mudroom and several treatments rooms offering an array facials, massages, pedicures and manicures to make you feel fantastic. The perfect end to our stay – I was treated to a ‘Glowing Radiance’ facial – a 60-minute moment of heaven, using Ila products which I am told are much more popular over in America but slowly making its mark in the UK and I can see why. My skin was noticeably softer and more radiant and my therapist, Emma, was fantastic.
Definitely worth a stay at this fun and funky hotel, I honestly felt like I was in a mild state of consciousness for most of the time. But, if nothing else, book in for dinner at the restaurant and sample the foodie delights – you won’t regret it.
A ‘Delicious Dine and Stay’ package at Oddfellows On The Park on a weekend night costs from £369 for two to stay in the Playground Suite overnight with a three-course dinner at The Galloping Major restaurant and a light breakfast-to-go delivered to your room the following morning.