The rolling hills of the Heart of England, where the Cotswolds meet Shakespeare country, is a fertile landscape for country house hotels. Add stylish rooms and a Michelin-starred kitchen, and you have Mallory Court, a triple threat Relais & Chateaux manor house in the Warwickshire hills near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

The entry drive rolls up to an ivy-covered golden stone mansion, trimmed with low bright plantings, and whose gables, mullioned windows, and tall chimneys mark the style of Sir Edwin Lutyens, major British architect of English country houses. Built in 1915 for a retired cotton magnate, its transformation from private home to public hotel followed a circuitous route: it was restored in 1976 and turned into a restaurant with rooms, then developed in stages as a hotel over the last twelve years, with the addition of a two-floor wing of bedrooms, then more bedrooms and meeting facilities, and finally a casual restaurant, its second dining room.

Bedroom Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

The 30 bedrooms are all individually styled, from traditional country English to standard contemporary, most of them looking out onto the ten acres of velvety lawns or formal gardens. Nice touches include, for instance, a pair of apples on a small tray with three tiny Mason jars of dried fruits and nuts.

Dining room, Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

The handsome dining room is oak paneled and carpeted, with brocade window treatments, leather and plush dining chairs, heavy cutlery and crisp linens. All signs of serious dining.

Chef Simon Haigh came to Mallory in 2002 from his Michelin-starred restaurant at Inverlochy Castle in Scotland, and promptly earned a star at Mallory, which he has kept for nine years with his contemporary British cuisine. Trained in traditional French techniques, he uses the seasonal produce of the surrounding agricultural region, as well as Mallory’s own kitchen gardens.

A three-course dinner presents two choices per course; for instance, cream of parsnip and apple soup or tuna carpaccio, dressed crab, oriental dressing; Pan-fried escalope of cod fillet, brandade ball, and curried lentils or fricassée of Label Anglais chicken, and Périgord truffle risotto; desert might be a selection of British and Continental cheeses with biscuits and plum chutney or blood orange mousse and pannetone pain perdue (£45, including coffee and petit fours).

dessert Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

The Brasserie, in a former groundskeeper’s cottage, is light and airy, with a glass roof and smart art deco style, plus a walled garden for al fresco dining. It’s casual and informal, with an à la carte menu to fit. Soup and salads, fish and chips, pastas, and a few meat and fish dishes, among them braised rabbit leg, roast pork fillet, sirloins. Prices are gentle, with starters about £6 and mains often less than £15.

The Brasserie is also the place for lunch and afternoon tea, as well as party central for Mallory, with Thursday evening “Jazz at the Braz.”

Mallory’s leisure activities include an outdoor pool, croquet, and tennis, with horse riding, golf, fishing, hunting and polo nearby.

exterior rear, Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

Lack of an onsite spa is no disadvantage, as the hotel has arranged for a nearby spa to bring its therapies and beauty treatments into the guests’ rooms. It’s an amazing menu of offerings:

  • Four different facials and skin refining treatments (generally 55 min/£75).
  • Specialized scrubs and wraps, among them de-stress muscle release; detox reviver, rebalancing back treatment, and hydrating cocoon (generally 50 min/£70).
  • Swedish Massage (55 min/£75; 85 min/£105) and The Real Aromatherapy Experience, specially perfected relaxation therapy incorporating Swedish, neuromuscular techniques, spinal pressures and foot reflex points (50 min/L80; 80 min/L110).
  • Maintenance treatments, among them manicures and pedicures.

exterior rear, Mallory Court, Warwickshire, England

Mallory Court is well situated to explore the Heart of England: Kenwilworth and Warwick Castles; Ragley Hall, an elegant Palladian House in 400 acres of Capability Brown parkland to which a roster of notable British architects contributed; Compton Verney, a new museum with England’s largest collection of British folk art; the Heritage Motor Centre motor museum, with the world’s greatest collection of British cars, and, of course, Stratford just eight miles away, and productions at the marvelous new Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Mallory Court, Harbury Lane, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, 01926 330214, Double rooms from £148, including breakfast and VAT.