I’m a big fan of boutique properties, I find the attention to detail is usually much higher and the service often more personal. Indeed, at The Bower House you’re welcomed as an old friend and the smiling staff have great suggestions for the local area.
The five rooms are individually designed, with different styles, layouts and sizes to appeal to a range of guests. I stayed in Room 1, which was spacious but furnished in a way that felt cosy, especially with the slightly drizzly weather outside. There were many details in the rooms that have addressed pet peeves of mine at other hotels over the years; fresh milk was provided in the fridge, necessary for people like me that have their coffee pretty white and who don’t want to have to empty 12 UHT pots to make it drinkable.
There was a bath oil provided, once again presumably an idea of someone who has stayed in too many hotels where you have to empty the shampoo bottle into the bath to make any bubbles. Plug sockets were plentiful and near both bedside tables, a detail so often missing and making it difficult to charge one’s phone overnight.
The rooms come with a mini bar/drinks including local gins and quality wines, and the television comes with a Netflix account. Normally I’d say that I don’t go to a hotel to stay in and watch television but there was something about The Bower House that made me want to actually relax and enjoy the room. It’s designed in a luxurious way, but one that doesn’t feel pretentious, just quality furnishings allowing you to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
The bathroom is huge, featuring ‘his n hers’ sinks, a deep bath tub as well as a large shower with a range of quality shampoos and lotions. Once again it strikes me that the designers /managers will have stayed in the room as the small details make it so functional. Separate towels for the bathtub and the shower area make for easier post bathing and even the addition of the full length mirror alongside the sink mirrors and make up mirror mean every eventuality is thought of.
The stylish bar serves some great cocktails, some featuring twists on classics like the margarita with a dash of pear brandy and some foreign favourites like the Pisco Sour. The bar and dining area is a mix between modern and traditional, with old paintings on teal walls and vintage style drinks trolleys next to brightly upholstered chairs.
I enjoyed the ambience in the dining area. It’s clearly a popular location for a meal amongst guests at the hotel but also with customers travelling in from miles around to dine there. I opted for the Roasted Chorizo as a nibble for the table, followed by a perfectly done salt & pepper squid with homemade chilli jam.
Desserts were excellent including the Treacle Tart and the chocolate fondant served with honeycomb. The Bower House is also a popular brunch spot, and on Saturdays the restaurant was a lively affair with families and couples choosing from American Pancake stacks, smoked salmon and poached eggs and other breakfast delights alongside mimosas and a selection of coffees.For a fantastic nearby option for dinner or drinks is The Howard Arms. A cross between a local style pub with friendly regulars & small groups enjoying the bar, and smartly dressed couples dining in the restaurant area. As well as a selection of real ales they have some fantastic wines including a great English white which went excellently with the Cropwell Bishop stilton bon bon served with grilled pear.
The Howard Arms offers both traditional favourites like fish & chips, and slight twists like the ham & duck egg, but also more fine dining presentations such as the ‘Ham Hock Rillete with crispy black pudding, soused vegetables and apple sauce.’
Shipston on Stour is a very pleasant town with some great unique shops, independent boutiques & charming delis to spend a couple of days wandering around, and The Bower House makes an excellent luxury base from which to explore.