When Mark and I
We want a chance to enjoy great food, try a new experience or activity, and get a good night’s sleep. Our stay at Ye Olde Bell ticked all of those boxes.
Invited to review the AA Four-Star Rosette hotel by the management, we couldn’t wait to see what Ye Olde Bell had to offer. It’s an independently owned, 59 room country hotel with roots dating back to the 17th Century and a state of the art luxury on-site spa.
Located in the rural village of Barnby Moor, Retford on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, it’s the perfect distance from our home in Nottingham for a short break.
Although the buildings that make up the hotel have been modernised, there’s still a nod to the history of the property, with interior features include plush fabrics, deep red carpets, elegant wallpapers and moulded Lincrusta wall coverings.
All the oak panelling in the restaurant has been restored, likewise the ‘linen fold’ panels in the St Leger Bar. Even the original creaky oak floorboards were kept and antique furniture restored and added to, so the whole place feels really special.
Lunch at the Herb Garden Brasserie
Soon after we’d unpacked, we headed over to the Herb Garden Brasserie, situated across the carpark from the main building, inside the spa.
The Herb Garden’s theatre-style kitchen is headed up by Chef Richard Allen, serving a changing menu with healthy food options such as superfood salad and Asian inspired broths to richer, more indulgent dishes. As such, the menu is cleverly divided to allow you to easily choose how much you want to indulge during your meal.
Mark ordered the cold pressed ham hock, pea puree and quail scotch egg, followed by the pork fillet, smoked bacon, black pudding, apple and grain mustard sauce. It was all beautifully presented and Mark declared the black pudding to be the best he’d ever had.
I opted for the rustic broth with red lentils, followed by the curried lentil cake, onion bhaji, raita and tomato salsa. My soup was flavour packed and delicious, and the only flaw in my otherwise perfect starter was the under seasoned lentil cake, but that was easily rectified with the salt and pepper sellers at the table.
Neither of us had room for dessert.
The Spa at Ye Olde Bell
The presence of an onsite spa was a major reason why we were so excited to visit Ye Olde Bell. Mark and I fancied a bit of luxury!
It’s a really beautifully decorated and spacious spa, with and a genuine feeling of being well looked after, which is enhanced by the attentive staff.
Mark and I both enjoyed “A Taste of Germaine de Capuccini”, a mini facial tailored for our skin. The 30-minute treatment is designed to refresh your skin with prescriptive products, and includes a cleanse, exfoliation and massage.
Mark had never had any kind of spa facial before but actually really enjoyed it, emerging from the treatment room smiling and relaxed. And I loved it too – super relaxing with gentle products that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin and left me with a glow that lasted for days afterwards.
After our treatments, we settled in to enjoy the rest of what the spa had to offer.
Time passed calmly but quickly as we enjoyed our first couple’s spa experience, and it was soon time to shower and dress for dinner
Dinner at 1650
Back in the main building, we made our way down to the ground floor for dinner at 1650, a restaurant bar with an AA Rosette.
Named after the year of origin of Ye Olde Bell, 1650 offers an elegant dining option and bespoke and refined menu of five starters, five main courses and five desserts.
These include the likes of crab rillette, lobster bisque gel, peppered squid, caramelised fennel puree, fried mussel; lamb cannon, heritage potatoes, goat’s curd, tempura granny smith apple, artichoke; and dark chocolate
The vegetarian options were excellent, with a creamy vegetable soup, delicate courgette flower and piquant goat’s curd salad stealing the show.
Mark was equally impressed with his dishes, which included
Every dish was utterly delicious, and though the portions may look small, across four courses we felt extremely well fed.
Our room at Ye Olde Bell
After a luxurious day, we retired to our bright, spacious, quiet and comfortable room.
With classic decor and excellent amenities, the accommodation was perfect for us.
The generously-sized bed was firm but comfortable, and we slept deeply and awoke refreshed and ready to head back to the kids.
If you’d like to visit Ye Olde Bell, prices start from £100 so it’s a very affordable break and a gorgeous one at that!
We stayed overnight at Ye Olde Bell as guests of the management. Our spa treatments and meals were included.