Hambleton Hall Rutland review

Hambleton Hall, Rutland: warm, welcoming and wonderful food

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Some hotels just get it completely right – and Hambleton Hall is one of them. From the traditional and immaculate bedroom, to the excellent food, lovely gardens, cosy bar and superb attention to detail, I can’t think of a single negative comment to make about my recent stay. Except that it’s not just round the corner from where I live – but I can hardly blame Hambleton Hall for that.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Hambleton Hall is surrounded by Rutland Water and its grounds go right down the shore

If this all sounds too gushing, then I defy anyone to not come away from a night’s stay without feeling incredibly content.

Part of Hambleton Hall’s charm must come from the fact that it is rather small compared to some other country house hotels, with just 15 bedrooms in the main house, so it all feels rather luxurious and exclusive.  There is still ample room for you to find a little corner all to yourself, either in the downstairs living room, bar and reception area – all beautifully furnished – or in the gardens where little seats and tables are dotted around to make your own.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Hambleton Hall has beautiful formal gardens, beyond which is an open-air swimming pool and a field you wander across to get to the lake

With 55 staff you are never far away from someone to bring you a drink, the morning paper or recommend things for you to do in the local area, should you be crazy enough not to want to spend all your time at the Hall, but they will only appear when you want them and will magically disappear until needed again.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Hambleton Hall was built in 1881 – notable guests include Noel Coward and Malcolm Sargent

Owners Tim and Stefa Hart bought Hambleton Hall, on the banks of Rutland Water, in 1980 and since then have worked tirelessly to create a hotel which has attracted plaudits from everyone from the Good Food Guide, the AA, Pride of Britain Hotels and Relais and Chateaux. It has held a Michelin star ever since 1982, no mean achievement.


To book directly with the hotel, go to: Hambleton Hall
To compare prices for Hambleton Hall
click on: Expedia – Hotels.comHotelsCombined
To read more reviews click here to go to Hambleton Hall on TripAdvisor


Hambleton Hall Rutland

The entrance hall, like the other rooms at Hambleton Hall, is very smart while being cosy and well thought out. On our arrival two staff instantly materialised to help with our bags and park the car. Within five minutes we were sitting in the bay windows of our bedroom, looking out onto the splendid view of Rutland Water, enjoying freshly-made coffee and biscuits and reading Tim’s extensive guide on what to do in the surrounding area, from stately homes to cycling around the water’s edge (the hotel has a selection of bikes for that very purpose).

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Our bedroom was traditionally decorated but managed to be very stylish at the same time
Hambleton Hall Rutland
We were welcomed with freshly made coffee and biscuits in our room

Our bedroom, named Middlehurst, was very much of the traditional country house style, no boutique hotel-style modern flashes of bright colour here (though there was good, free wifi). Instead there was a selection of books, TV, digital radio, fluffy robes and slippers and frankly I felt that I could perfectly happily spend the entire stay in my room.  I was so relaxed I instantly fell asleep.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Chewton (from Chewton Glen hotel) looks very much at home
Hambleton Hall Rutland
The view from the bathtub – not bad! The bathroom was spacious and immaculate

A pre-dinner drink in the bar with Tim Hart and manager Chris Hurst was a great reviver (I had a delicious French 75 cocktail made with Burleigh’s Dry London Gin, distilled in Leicestershire and expertly made by the bar manager) and then it was time for dinner.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
The dining room at Hambleton Hall

The dining room was intimate, just a few tables in each section, and the service was as good as we’d come to expect. It might be Michelin-starred cuisine but the chef Aaron Patterson avoided the trap of endless pauses between courses.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
The tasting menu at the restaurant at Hambleton Hall

There was a six-course tasting menu, at £85 a person, but we went for the a la carte instead, which was £68 for three courses. Bread was supplied by Tim Hart’s own bakery which has a deservedly high reputation.

I chose my starter of black Perigord truffle risotto from the ‘Gourmet Corner’ for a £4 supplement and it was exactly as hoped for – earthy, hearty and supremely tasty.

My dining companion had the crab salad and then, while I had the loin and breast of lamb with pepper stew and dumpling,  she went for the other Gourmet Corner option – the fillet of Angus beef cooked on the bone, with smoked bone marrow and mashua root. It arrived on a trolley and was expertly carved with a touch of theatre – and it was, unsurprisingly, superb.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
Black Perigord truffle risotto – a perfect start to an excellent meal
Hambleton Hall Rutland
Fillet of Angus beef – freshly carved
Hambleton Hall Rutland
There were lovely little touches, such as the cutlery rests

As well as the food, the service was excellent – friendly, attentive, prompt but not overwhelming – and it all made for a very memorable evening.

We skipped the sweet options for dessert and went straight for the excellent cheese trolley – the Delice de Bourgogne being a particular highlight, although there were some great local cheeses too.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
The cheese trolley had a great selection

Replete, we retired upstairs rather than follow some of our fellow diners example and have a nightcap in the bar, and slept like logs for 10 hours.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
The bar – no shortage of comfy chairs and sofas to curl up in
Hambleton Hall Rutland
Poached egg and haddock for breakfast

Waking up to that wonderful view was a real treat, and after breakfast – I had poached eggs and haddock which was pretty good, in spite of the rather odd addition of some pak choi –  we borrowed some wellies from the hotel’s selection by the front door and plodged our way down through the ornate garden, past the open air swimming pool which will be a stunning place in the summer,  and down across the fields to Rutland Water.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
You can tell I’m pretty happy to be there
Hambleton Hall Rutland
Hambleton Hall had a good selection of wellies (and a very handy boot pull for afterwards)

There was no-one else there except for some very cheerful ducks and a dog-walker in the distance, the only sounds were the waves splashing against the shore and the ducks chatting to each other.

Once back at the house it was almost impossible to leave, so we walked around the gardens some more, taking a look at the separate cottage, the Croquet Pavilion, before having more coffee and lounging around reading the newspapers.

Hambleton Hall Rutland
The swimming pool in the summer time looks rather nice…
Hambleton Hall Rutland
The Croquet Pavilion is a two bedroom cottage in the grounds of Hambleton Hall for extra luxury and privacy

Hambleton Hall Rutland

Finally it was time to leave and end what was a very memorable stay. Now, when am I next back in Rutland…?

Hambleton Hall Rutland

To book directly with the hotel, go to: Hambleton Hall
To compare prices for Hambleton Hall
click on: Expedia – Hotels.comHotelsCombined
To read more reviews click here to go to Hambleton Hall on TripAdvisor

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by me, Sarah Bridge, who, when I'm not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends my time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings. Some of the links on my reviews are affiliate marketing links, which means if you click through I get a small commission if you end up buying on these sites. This in no way affects the independence of my reviews, but helps with website running costs and I just wanted to let you know so as to be fully transparent.
Sarah Bridge
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