Short break - The Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club

Many bedrooms have views over the grounds

Many bedrooms have views over the grounds - Credit: Archant

This city-meets-country hotel has just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a revamp. Mairead Mahon finds out what makes it so popular

The pool is 20 feet and has a cardio gym nearby

The pool is 20 feet and has a cardio gym nearby - Credit: Archant

It is home to its own 18-hole championship golf course yet it lies just a couple of miles from the centre of Manchester and that might make any potential traveller pause for thought. After all, how can a country club be so close to one of the largest cities in the UK?

It’s a pleasant surprise to discover that the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club is set in its own tranquil bubble of 200 acres of lovely parkland, with not so much as a mumble of traffic to spoil the sound of birdsong.

It is built on the site of the now long since demolished Worsley New Hall, a very grand building which once welcomed Queen Victoria. The Earl of Ellesmere had built a special private landing stage on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal in order to make her journey to the Hall as effortless as possible.

We arrived by the more conventional route of public road and the Worsley Park is very conveniently situated, with easy motorway access planning to stay overnight. Unlike Her Majesty, we may not have been greeted by a member of the aristocracy but the reception staff were friendly and hugely helpful.

The Grill on the Park has an AA rosette

The Grill on the Park has an AA rosette - Credit: Archant

Our subtly decorated en-suite double room, complete with floor to ceiling windows, overlooked the grounds and provided little comforts such as a coffee machine, cable TV, fluffy dressing gowns and slippers and – always a good sign – high thread count bed linen. What could be better than an early afternoon nap? Well, lunch is the answer and off we went to find some.

There are three places to eat and we sampled them all but we settled into the Tempo Bar because there was a football game on and it was, after all, the sports bar. However, this is one of the upmarket variety decorated in a quiet, sophisticated style with carefully chosen accessories to make it pop. The walls are dotted with large televisions and sports memorabilia and there is a great selection of drinks and light meals with an international flavour. We just had a drink and – after watching our team lose – went along to console ourselves with lunch in The Brew Bar, a cosy space with a courtyard to sit in when the weather permits.

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The flagship eating location is The Grill on the Park, which has recently been refurbished. Smart waiting staff seat diners in a variety of seating, including tub chairs and banquettes, and the whole restaurant is lit with ambient, soft lighting. We went here for dinner - our fellow diners included business people, couples, small celebratory parties and the atmosphere was relaxed.

My husband chose a steak, cooked to a pinky perfection and served with peppercorn sauce and I chose the lambs liver, a difficult dish to get exactly right, without going to extremes of slipperiness or toughness but this was, as Goldilocks would say, just right. The two dishes required very different wines but the wine waiter was full of knowledge and guided us through the extensive list in order to help us make the right choice.

The hotel has an 18 hole championship standard course

The hotel has an 18 hole championship standard course - Credit: Archant

The Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club has rightly gained a reputation as a place to come simply for the food and it has an AA Rosette to prove it.

As well as fine dining, it is worth investigating the myriad of things that can be enjoyed without ever leaving Worsley Park. We learned how to make a cocktail – and then drank our handiwork – with our own mixologist, who told us that it was becoming an increasingly popular activity with everyone from romantic couples to groups of friends.

We also visited the in-house health and fitness suite. The changing rooms wouldn’t shame either of Manchester’s two premier football sides, with sophisticated fitments and an abundance of mirrors. I had a sauna in the three tiered spacious facility and followed it up with a swim in the 20ft swimming pool. My husband, feeling a bit more energised, went to the Cardiovascular Gym. Here, all the top of the range equipment – there are 46 machines in total– have built in television screens, so he was able to watch the pundits explaining why his team had lost! Next time, he’ll try the Resistance Gym.

It was then time to explore the Spa of Senses, where a range of beauty treatments are offered from body cocooning to manicures. Embracing his inner metrosexual, my husband had a facial and neck and shoulder massage, a popular treatment with men he was told. There are four treatment rooms, gently lit, with soft music and masses of candles and, after our treatments, we met – skin glowing – in the designated relaxation area, to read magazines, sip chilled water and plan for our next visit.

Mairead Mahon was a guest of The Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club situated in Worsley Park, Manchester, M28 2QT.