After having a lovely Easter weekend, the Bell Events team swapped the office for Emily’s car and embarked upon a two-day road trip across The Midlands. The trip consisted of the team site visiting 7 different venues across Warwick, Stratford, Chipping Campden, Cheltenham and The Cotswolds with an overnight stay at Charingworth Manor.
‘We set off bright and early on the Tuesday morning and drove down to our first stop, which was Chesford Grange. Chesford, a QHotels property has a total of 205 bedrooms and an amazing events centre. A highlight of the meeting space was the Kenilworth Suite which has a max capacity of 700 in reception, this can also be split into 3 separate spaces depending on the requirements of the event. The venue had many other great event spaces, which would work well for a range of events and with different capacities. We especially loved The Directors’ Suite, it’s great for small boardroom meetings and conferences – it has a long board table surrounded by plush chairs and lots of natural lighting flooding in from unique angled windows. This room is also very private away from the rest of the hotel. The bedrooms followed suit being very light and airy. We were given some Bell Events branded cupcakes which were much appreciated for the remainder of our car journey! – We love the attention to detail and the personalised touch.
We next visited Stratford Manor, which is also a QHotels property. We were met by Jo who showed us round the venue. We were surprised by the amount of land this venue was situated on, which would work great for incentives or team building days. The property has 104 bedrooms and 13 event spaces; the largest event space can hold 440 delegates. Jo showed us around the rest of the hotel including the bedrooms, leisure facilities and restaurant where we were presented with a light up sign saying ‘welcome Bell Events’ and some goodie bags for us to take away for the rest of our trip!
We then took a short drive up to the amazing Stanbrook Abbey. Stanbrook Abbey is a former nunnery, making the venue very unique and interesting. We were met by Paul who showed us around the property – they have so many unique event spaces which can be used for a wide range of events. We loved the basement of the property, which consisted of foosball and snooker tables and a wine cellar, which can host wine tasting events. We also enjoyed seeing the manor, which can be used as a self-contained house with a kitchen/diner, living space and 5 bedrooms. This could work great for a smaller meeting or incentive trips with an overnight stay, as it is completely private and separate from the main hotel. We were then treated to a lovely afternoon tea at Stanbrook Abbey - Rhyanne was very impressed with their selection of vegan options!
Next stop, was Hilton Puckrup! Hilton Puckrup consisted of two buildings, the main hotel and the house. The main hotel was formal and welcoming. Michelle from the hotel made us feel very welcome and showed us their wide range of meeting spaces and catering facilities, perfect for conferences and business events, with an abundance of hall space which can be privatised as breakout rooms with unlimited tea and coffee offered to delegates. They have a total of 112 bedrooms onsite across the two properties. The House is unique with Georgian features and space for small meetings and breakout rooms – it felt very exclusive and private but with the convenience of the main hotel close by with the rest of the facilities.
Lastly we retired to Charingworth Manor, an amazing venue with an English cottage atmosphere accompanied with great staff ready to help at every turn. Part of Classic Lodges it truly lived up to its name. We took a tour of the hotels meeting rooms and grounds; this would be perfect for outdoor events due to its extensive grounds. We were excited to see our bedrooms - Eva was fortunate to be given the hotels finest suite first of all; a four-poster bed with traditional furnishings and a bathroom located down a set of stairs! We all rushed with excitement upstairs to Emily’s room, which was equally as nice - it had a very homely feel with wooden beams and low light, really embodying the feel of the hotel. Down stairs was Rhyanne’s room, which was long, spacious and bright, ending in a large bathroom with a roll top bath. Cora’s room had a plush seating area with a full sized settee, with the natural stylings of the manor.
After our arrival, we had just enough time to check out the spa, which very peaceful, with a pool, sauna and steam room. Sadly we couldn’t stay long as we had dinner to look forward too! After getting ourselves ready in our spacious suites, we met Anna and our account manager Naomi. The menu has a wide range of food from beef to ratatouille, offering something for all tastes. They even had a separate menu for all dietary requirements when asked. What was most joyous about the evening dinner was the ending of fudge and jelly, which was made by the in-house chef. We loved this so much we had to take more home!
After enjoying a lovely breakfast at Charingworth we left for our next stop, Ellenborough Park. With dark wood panelling and an outdoor pool it became a hotel hard to forget. The main meeting room, De La Bere Court, was spacious and bright accommodating up to 116 guests. One of our favourite meeting rooms was The Royalist, which consisted of dark wood panels and ornate fireplace, this room is full of character and is perfect for smaller meetings of 18 or less.
Our last and final stop of the trip was the De Vere Cotswold Water Park. The Water Park is ideal to mix business and pleasure with the opportunity of boat trips and water sports on the doorstep – it’s the perfect place for team bonding! Sadly due to the weather we could not experience these activities, however we did have the opportunity to test out their on-site pub, which had a nautical theme, over looking the undisturbed lake. All of the meeting rooms looked over the impressive lake, which is very peaceful and inspiring. They have 21 meeting rooms in total, with two large suites accommodating 370 delegates in one and 400 in the other – many of the event spaces have large balconies too to allow you to really make the most of the surroundings.
Overall we had an amazing trip and have gained so much knowledge from the hotels we have seen. We are looking forward to being able to share our first hand experience and knowledge with our clients when proposing these venues in the future.