In 2015 and 2016 I went on quite a few mini breaks to discover new cities in Europe such as Riga, Bucharest and Bratislava.
At the start of 2017 I decided that this year I would spend more weekends exploring more places closer to home. I get itchy feet often and I love spending weekends doing and seeing new things – whether that be abroad or just exploring our local area.
So in March we set off to Kidderminster, to discover a new place and to also experience Mercure Kidderminster‘s new fine dining ‘Gourmet Break’ package which is priced from just £149 per couple. The package is available at six country collection hotels located throughout the UK including Bristol, Newbury, Gloucester, Burton Upon Trent and York. However we decided on a weekend away at Mercure Kidderminster due to it’s close proximity to Birmingham and the ease (and low cost!) of getting there from London. We spend a lot of weekends in Birmingham as that’s where two of our best friends are based, so it was a good chance for a quick stop off to see them in Birmingham on our journey to Kidderminster.
We don’t drive so we got to Kidderminster by travelling from Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street which takes just under two hours (or you can go Euston to Birmingham New Street which takes one hour 20 minutes) and then on a 40 minute train from Moor Street to Kidderminster. By using the off peak train search on The Train Line, we managed to get train tickets for around £15 return – which is cheaper than travelling from London to back home in Kent!
The journey was quick and smooth, it was great that we didn’t need to get on a specific booked train from Birmingham to Kidderminster so we were able to stop off in Birmingham for a couple of vinos.
Once at Kidderminster we grabbed a taxi from the long queue outside of the station and it took around 10-15 minutes to the hotel and cost £10. Our taxi driver recommended we visit the closest town – Bewdley. He explained that it was a quaint little town with lovely local pubs, which sounded perfect. As much as I adore London, it’s nice to visit somewhere quieter and which runs at a slower pace every now and then.
Our taxi pulled up on the grounds of the beautiful restored Victorian hotel surrounded by 20 acres of Worcestershire countryside. It was so quiet and so peaceful – a whole world away from manic London we had left a few hours ago. Check in was so quick and easy and within minutes we were in our hotel room.
Our room was so large and spacious with a great view of our beautiful surroundings and picturesque landscape gardens.
There was also an extremely comfortable bed which I decided to test it out…..
Have you seen my review of @mercurehotels Kidderminster? I can confirm that the beds were up to standard 😂 I’ve tweeted the link to the review on twitter: roxannehs 👆🏻 I may have just ruined my pink Instagram theme with this boomerang 😂🙊#ukbloggers #fbloggersuk #gourmet #luxurylifestyle #londoner #london #londontown #boomerang #style #fashion
A post shared by Roxii Hoare-Smith 🦄 (@studdedkissesblog) on
The room featured everything we needed so it was totally fine if we forgot any toiletries. There was shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, soap, a toothbrush and mini toothpaste. Our room had great facilities including a HD LED TV, high speed WiFi, Nespresso coffee machine, a hair dryer and ironing board. The room was really spacious with plenty of room to chill out or sit at the table to eat breakfast or get on with some work. The only negative of the whole stay was there wasn’t a plug near a mirror. This may sound like such a silly remark but I am sure some people will understand how vital this is! I had to style my hair at one end of the room and keep running over to the mirror to check it. But as I said, this is the only negative point of our whole stay.
We freshened up for what was to be the highlight of our day and taste the amazing work of Head Chef Phillip Waring with the the five-course tasting menu.
I’ve stayed at a few Mercure hotels before in Europe so I am familiar with the brand and after having what I still proclaim as the best burger I’ve ever tried at a Mercure in Cologne, Germany, I had high expectations for our gourmet five-course tasting menu.
We took a few steps from our room to the hotel restaurant and were greeted with a glass of prosecco each. Our table also had an ice bucket filled with the prosecco, rose and white wine – some of the pairings with our tasting menu. We were so ready for our culinary feast.
The dishes in the five-course tasting menu have all been carefully selected with matching wines. The menu has been created to include seasonally driven produce, providing dishes full of taste and quality ingredients. The latest menu starts with an amuse bouche of pumpkin & celeriac soup with rosemary and black truffle oil.
I’m a huge fan of truffle, it has such a distinctive fragrance so we smelt it’s delightful aroma as our waiter brought over our bowls. The aroma was absolutely incredible, we were dribbling at just the site of this exquisite dish. The delicious smell completely matched the taste too. We both agreed it was by far the best soup we had ever tried. So smooth and creamy and so full of flavour – the truffle oil complemented the soup amazingly. The rest of the menu had a lot to live up to after this amazing start.
To showcase the restaurant’s culinary flare we were then served a beautifully presented starter of Earl Grey cured salmon with charred & pickled cucumber and watercress. This was paired with a refreshing glass of Austrian white wine – Zero G Gruner Veltliner.
The smooth and fruity white paired well with the fresh dish and the Earl Grey flavour – which was just right and was complemented by the pickled cucumber.
The intermediate first course showcases gorgonzola & walnut tortellini with nut brown butter, crispy sage and chestnuts – an exquisite (and mouth-tingling!) dish.
The main course was roasted lamb rump which just melted in your mouth. This came served with potato bubble & squeak, buttered kale, carrot ribbons and red wine jus – all which was just incredible, so flavoursome and so luxurious.
I’m very picky with red wines however this dish was perfectly paired with a deliciously fruit and smoky glass of Spanish red wine – El Primero Graciano Garnacha – which I adored.
To complete our intimate gastronomic experience, we were served a Tarte Tatin with caramelised apple and vanilla ice cream pudding complete with a glass of Italian rose wine – Alfa Zeta Rosato Corvina.
Dessert was a struggle to eat, even though it was so incredibly delicious, we were full to the brim.
During our meal we were able to chat with the staff at the hotel and restaurant. Everyone was so so lovely and made us feel so welcome!
Service is so important in a hotel. I’ve recently been watching the Mandarin Oriental Hotel a Very British Hotel documentary and it just shows how important service is and how it plays a part in the running of a hotel. Unlike the guests on the documentary I am not looking to be treated like royalty and have people run around me, but it’s so nice to be felt well looked after and chat to the staff as though they’re just your mate! That’s exactly what it was like here, everyone was so friendly and so chatty. And Karl, being typical Karl, left behind a few things but the hotel posted it first class the next day. The service was flawless, even after departure.
After we’d greedily cleared our plates we remained in the restaurant to finish off our wines which we hadn’t been able to keep up with! It was an incredible gastronomic experience and perfect for foodies and wine connoisseur’s alike. We were amazed at the quality of the dishes and how much food and wine was served at such an affordable price. It’s an amazing deal if you are on a budget as there’s no worry about over spending as everything you need is included (£149 per couple for an overnight stay with the dinner)
We didn’t end up finishing until 10pm and it was wonderful knowing we just had to walk upstairs to our room. There was no way now we would make it into Bewdley! A bit of a fail in discovering new places in the UK BUT it was totally worth it to just sit and drink wonderful wine in the relaxing surroundings of the hotel, then walk a few seconds back to our room (or waddle after all of that food) and just sink into bed and fall into a major food coma. It was such a dreamy evening. Since I started working full time three years ago I really appreciate any moment to just relax and unwind and just do nothing. Something I never really understood as a teenager!
But the gourmet break didn’t stop there. The next day we were treated to a utterly delicious English Breakfast in bed.
I’d planned to go to the gym and take a dip in the 25-metre pool at the hotel’s Feel Good Health Club. But after our mind blowing culinary feast, I didn’t feel quite up to it and planned to stay in bed as long as I could (well until the 12pm check out anyway).
The Gourmet Break offer is designed to suit all occasions. It is such a fantastic deal, offering more than just an overnight stay with dinner thrown in, guests can opt for a one-night gourmet experience from just £149 per couple. I cannot believe what a bargain this is. It’s the perfect break for a relaxing weekend away, which is just what we needed. The location didn’t really matter to us as it was just perfect to have a chilled weekend, have a good sleep and completely indulge in absolutely amazing food. If you live close to one of the hotel’s offering the package then the Gourmet Break offer also includes a dining only option priced from £50 per person.
We had such a perfect weekend away at Mercure Kidderminster. It’s the perfect place to visit for a luxury gourmet weekend which won’t break the bank. With five other hotels across the country offering the package you have a choice of where to visit, and you don’t need to travel too far either!
I would definitely consider returning for the Gourmet Break package again. Writing this post and looking back at the photos only reminded me how incredible our dinner was. For days after we were still talking about it. If we had to choose a favourite dish it had to be the soup with the gorgeous truffle oil but I can honestly say every dish on the menu was divine.