An Inspector Calls… Hampton Manor is a Gothic-style mansion near Birmingham airport with a ‘refreshing Swedish feel’ and a Michelin-starred restaurant
- Hampton Manor is a Tudor Gothic-style house near Birmingham airport
- The Inspector liked the quirky touches in his room but it was ‘unpleasantly cold’
- He dined in the Michelin-starred Peel’s restaurant – dinner and drinks cost £230
Hampton Manor is not a pretty building.
Commissioned in 1855 by Sir Frederick Peel — son of prime minister Sir Robert, the father of modern British policing — it’s a Tudor Gothic-style lump near Birmingham airport.
We fear the worst, but inside there’s a refreshing Swedish feel and bags of enthusiasm from the young staff, who seem genuinely proud that the restaurant, Peel’s, has a Michelin star.
Hampton Manor is a Tudor Gothic-style country house hotel near Birmingham airport
Our room (we’re upgraded without having to ask) has a huge bay window, high ceilings and cheerful colours. And we like the quirky touches: a bright orange radio, low-hanging lights, a rolled up Scandi blanket, homemade biscuits and a freestanding tub in the large, airy bathroom.
We’re not so keen on the net curtains, grey carpet and stone-cold radiators.
There are two choices for dinner. Fred’s Bar serves staples such as posh fish and chips, rib-eye steaks and fancy burgers, or you go for the main event in Peel’s, with either a four-course menu for £80 or seven courses for £100.
We go for four, which, of course, becomes more like seven or eight once you factor in the canapes, amuse-bouche, pre-starters and pre-desserts.
‘This is where your dinner experience begins,’ says a waiter as we are shown into the drawing room, which has William Morris wallpaper.
We worry it’s going to be a long evening, but it turns out we’re mighty impressed by the flavour of the crab, the intensity of the beef, the lightness of the desserts. And the atmosphere is informal, which is unusual in a Michelin restaurant, where a waiter can take ten minutes to describe unsalted butter.
The Inspector liked the quirky touches in his bedroom. Pictured is one of the rooms
When we return to our room, it’s still unpleasantly cold. I go downstairs and am told that the duty manager should be with me in ten to 15 minutes. Poor thing. Presumably she’s in her jammies and all tucked up for the night.
She arrives carrying two fan heaters and is full of apologies. In return, I apologise for making a fuss. It’s a classic British scene. Americans pay good money to witness this sort of carry-on.
Breakfast is a tour de force as a biting wind whips the leaves into a frenzy outside. We half expect Dracula to make an appearance.
Instead, Hampton Manor is preparing for a winter wedding, a far happier thought — necessary when we discover that our dinner with drinks has come to £230. And that’s with my wife sticking with fizzy water.
Hampton Manor, Shadowbrook Lane, Hampton-in-Arden, B92 0EN. Rooms from £225. For more information visit hamptonmanor.com or call 01675 446080.