After watching the first episode of this season’s American Horror Story which is set inside a scary hotel, it’ll probably put a lot of people off staying in hotels for life. However I personally love jumping from one hotel to another seeing what type of food the menus have to offer, people watching from a distant table and discovering how shiny the bathroom is. On this occasion, I was kindly asked to give some feedback on the food and Peaky Blinder beer that the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club had on tap. Coming from a family who runs several pubs and hotels, realistically saying no wasn’t really going to be an option… was it?
The four star hotel is known for its key amenities such as the golf course, the spa and fitness centre. A couple of my friends actually used to visit this hotel weekly as part of their gym membership – some even telling me beforehand how beautiful the grounds are. I used to live not far from Meriden and my mom used to work for a couple of restaurants and hotels nearby, so I know the area fairly well. So when I was asked to come along, we incorporated date night there and spent most of the evening eating burgers and drinking the beer.
Stanley the Stag stands proud in the middle of the courtyard before you enter the reception. The hotel clearly prides itself on its looks, and boy does it impress! I couldn’t help but take some photographs as we walked towards the entrance. We had a smartly dressed gentleman who goes by the name of Ankush Sharma, Director of Operations at the hotel greet us at the door. I really admire the fact staff members made us feel welcome on arrival, not just because I was reviewing, but I’m hoping it’s because the hotel overall has such high reputation. We were walked through to restaurant Zest by Ankush, who kindly gave us his business cards in case we had any problems on the night. I doubt we would have had to use them anyway.
We were seated right by the entrance of the restaurant in a private booth. In all honesty it would have been nice to overlook the golf course on the terrace but this wasn’t a big deal. There were several groups of men in the restaurant area that had just finished their daily rounds of golf and were ordering several pints at the bar. Our waiter for the night was pleasant and wasted no time introducing himself and offered us several pints of the Peaky Blinder beer. It takes its name after the well known drama of Peaky Blinders (we have just finished watching season 2!) and it is a true English beer, brewed from English hops. I know that a variety of people have already tried the beer in several bars around Birmingham. I found it to be very light and easy to drink. I usually struggle to drink 2 pints of Carling normally, but this itself was a very light, smooth formula.
The hotel has one Oaks Bar & Grill (assuming where they serve breakfast and international cuisine) and a more standard, casual restaurant Zest which is where we sat. They serve typical pub grub such as burgers, sausage and mash, pizza, salads, a selection of sandwiches and fish options. Considering it was a Friday night and we were drinking beer, we thought two burgers would be appropriate to complement our drinks. I ordered the Marriott Burger which came as a beef pattie, bacon (the american smoked type which you eat with the pancakes and syrup), cheese and salad. Josh opted for a Rugby themed burger that came with hot jalapenos, salad and smoked cheese. Our meals were tasty and had great portion sizes, but Josh wasn’t sure about his side of wedges instead of standard chips. Although the food was tasty, I wasn’t completely blown away by the presentation but would definitely consider it again as a standard lunchtime option.
We were full but there’s always room for dessert. Josh’s favourite pudding ever is chocolate brownie, so a portion is never turned down. We asked for one portion with two spoons, but the chef kindly served us two small portions, warm with chocolate sauce and a pot of vanilla ice-cream. Overall, I was really content with the whole experience. The service was fluid and they didn’t ask us how our food was when we had our mouths full which is always a bonus! Considering I now have a hotels category on my blog, I would absolutely love to try a night’s stay. Rooms are a little pricey side, so this might have to wait until I win the lottery!
The address of the hotel is: Maxstoke Ln, Meriden, Birmingham CV7 7HR. You can follow them on Twitter here.
Disclosure: Please note, I was invited for a meal and drinks by the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club. All opinions are 100% honest and are my own… and the grounds are bloody impressive!