“ Address: Smokey Lane / Cropthorne / Pershore / Worcestershire WR10 3NF / England „
Firstly I would like to apologise for the error in the title. It is actually Cropvale - a typo that I only discovered once it was too late. I discovered the delights of Cropvale Farm B&B whilst working away in Worcestershire. It was the client that booked my work colleague and myself in this B&B and I am glad that it did. Having never been in the area before, there is no way that I would have thought of booking somewhere like this - and would have ended up in the local Premier Travel Inn instead! ****Getting there**** Cropvale Farm is situated on the A44 in between Pershore and Evesham. To get to the farm you turn off the main A44 down a single track lane in, what can only be described as the a*** end of no where! ****The grounds and parking**** Turning in to the drive way of the premises I was confronted by a quaint looking farm house (complete with ivy growing up the front - what a look), converted barns, agricultural buildings and 2 fat chocolate labradors - that I later found out were called Rollo and Twix. There is enough room for about four cars directly outside the farmhouse, with further room down the drive way near the cattle sheds. This is more than enough for the 8 rooms on offer. ****The welcoming party**** Rollo and Twix are the friendliest dogs I have ever seen. The proprietor Sue Hutchings actively encourages guests to take them for walks - but judging by the size of them I don't think too many do. It looks like most of the guests feed them. ****Checking in**** Upon checking in I was met by Sue - a very friendly lady that can't seem to do enough for you. After a hard days work all I need is a cup of coffee - and that is exactly what we got. We were invited to the seating area in the dining room and offered an unlimited supply of tea, coffee and biscuits. After refreshments I was shown to my room. I had one of the 5 rooms in the converted barn opposite the house, called Elmley. ****The room**** The room was more than adequate. I would even go as far to say that it was quite luxurious. As you go in Elmley there is a dressing table and drawers on the right hand side with a tray full of instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, biscuits etc. In most of the overnight accommodation I have stayed in I always run out of supplies as they seem very stingy with the refreshments. Not here! - there was plenty for the night, the next morning and probably for four or five days thereafter! A nice touch was 2 wine glasses and a cork screw. To the right of the dressing table there are two luxurious high backed chairs, complete with cushions, that are very comfortable. Further along the wall there is a double wardrobe complete with several coat hangers. The kind that you can actually take off the rail and aren't fixed to it. Directly in front of you is a large, wooden king sized bed. The linen was brilliant white, crisp and smelled very fresh. I have issues with skin allergies and find that the (I can only assume) cheaper detergents create havoc with my skin. Upon feeling the crispness I was concerned that I would be affected - but this was unfounded. Each side of the bed are large cabinets complete with lamps. There is also a radio alarm clock to ensure that you can actually get up on time - it was difficult getting up in the morning after such a comfortable night's sleep. ****Bathroom**** The bathroom is very spacious and can only be described as 'sparkling'. It was exceptionally clean and very modern. There is even a glass holder complete with a glass in it - oh yes. No tacky plastic teeth rinsing cups here. There were four towels. 3 very large white bath towels and a smaller maroon floor towel. Just like the bed linen the towels were exceptionally clean. On the back of the door was a bathrobe. I have never seen one of these in such a cheap room before. The shower is a large cubicle type with a decent power shower. It is powerful enough to ensure that the shampoo is completely rinsed out but not so powerful that it hurts. I wasn't bothered that there is no bath since I prefer a shower, however I know that many people do like baths. It is the 'small' things that make all the difference and this is what makes Elmley such a lovely room. In the bathroom there is 'proper' hand wash - as opposed to a bar of soap. There is Dove moisturiser and a decent sized bottle of Dove shampoo. In the main room there are tasteful pictures, and as mentioned before there is the wine glasses and cork screw. I cannot comment on what the other rooms were like, since I did not get to view them. Since all the converted barn rooms, except for the Orchard which is a bit more expensive, are the same price I can only imagine that they will be of the same standard with the same quality furnishings. My work colleague stayed in one of the three rooms in the main house. Again, I cannot comment on these but she did confirm that her room was "lovely - being very clean and homely". ****Entertainment**** Elmley boasts a 15 inch flat screen TV that is ideally mounted on the wall. The TV includes a built in DVD player and there is a selection of DVDs to borrow in the main house. I cannot comment on the DVD selection since I did not check it out. Each converted barn room has a small outside table and chairs. I can imagine that it would be very pleasant sitting outside on a summer evening with a couple of glasses of vino. Although the temperature is above average for this time of year, unfortunately it is still not quite warm enough so I had to miss out. ****Food**** Breakfast is served from 7.30 a.m to 9.00 a.m. and consists of fruit, cereal and juice followed by a cooked breakfast - if you have a large enough appetite for it. The cooked breakfast includes kippers, or a full english including: Sausages, bacon, eggs (fried, boiled or poached), black pudding, mushroom and tomatoes. The vegetarian option is a cheese or mushroom omelette or the full english less the meat but with baked beans instead. The breakfast is grilled, as opposed to fried, and is not only healthy but extremely delicious. All of the above is served with white, brown or a mixture of toast with butter and maragrine. It is worth mentioning that Sue is more than willing to do a mix and match breakfast and the menu is not set in stone. If you don't want something then you can choose an alternative. You can have everything if you wish - all at no extra cost. It really is that flexible! 2 - 3 times a week Sue will cook an evening meal. Unfortunately on the night that I stayed the evening meal was unavailable. Sue did mention that the price was £16 for a 2 course or £19 for a 3 course. This appears to be reasonable - and if the breakfast is anything to go by then I can imagine that the portions are going to be quite large. On the evenings that dinner is not available there are a couple of local pubs - a 10 to 15 minute walk away that serves food. Unfortunately we did not sample any of these, I can not even tell you what they are called since my work colleague decided that she wanted to eat at a Brewers Fayre that was approx 3 miles from the B&B. ****Things to do**** The B&B is situated on a working farm that grows grass for sileage, a few cereals, and has a herd of cattle. The proprietors are only to keen for the visitors to take a wander around the farm - and are even prepared to lend you a pair of wellies if you have not brought your own. Being a working cattle farm there is a definite 'farm yard' stench - but this just adds to the charm of Cropvale B&B. At the back of the house there is a large lawn with table and chairs. There is even a grass tennis court - which the proprietors allow the guests to use. Other than the above, and the television there is little less to do onsite. As mentioned before there are a couple of local pubs but I cannot pass comment on these. ****Prices**** Elmley costs £64 per couple, per night. This is the price for all the rooms in the converted barn - except for Orchard which is £70 per couple per night. I do not know what the difference is between Orchard and the other rooms. The rooms in the house costs £58 per couple, per night. There is a single ccupancy room for £40 per night. Unfortunately, I am unable to pass comment on the farm house rooms. Although I have never stayed in a B&B before and have always been put up in Travel Lodges, Premier Travel Inns and the like I cannot comment upon whether Cropvale is cheap, average or expensive com[ared to B&Bs. However, since a Premier Travel Lodge would have cost us £55 per person, per night excluding breakfast I think that Cropvale is exceptional value. I am not a snob, but Premire Travel Inns are awful - you get a basic bed, limited coat hangers, limited refreshments, a tiny bathroom, a basic TV and no bath robe! ****Other**** I only stayed at Cropvale for one night, and whilst there I kept thinking why would anyone want to stay here. I was away on business, and the client booked us in. I was not there for pleasure so did not really look at the surrounding area and attractions that would draw people to the area and encourage them to stay at Cropvale. However, after a bit of research on the internet I found that the B&B is central for Cheltenham races, it is close to Stratford Upon Avon (What is there to do there? I have never been : - ( ), close to Warwick Castle, close to the City of Worcester and close to Broadway - the gateway to the Cotswolds. To get to all these places a car is required. As mentioned before (other than Cheltenham Race course) I have no idea what these places have to offer - but now I know about them I am quite keen to find out. In addition to the above Sue mentioned that there are numerous walking paths/routes. However, there is a lack of cycle routes - which, since I am a keen cyclist, is a shame. ****Conclusion**** Cropvale is a great palce to stay. It is holds an English Tourism Council Gold Award, and has done so for the last four years - and it is easy to see why.. The proprietors are friendly, helpful, accommodating and can't do enough for you. You will be welcomed by the whole family - even Rollo and Twix. The breakfast is delicious, freshly prepared and you can eat as much or as little as you like. And all of this for a little more than a Premier Travel Inn at approx £65 per night. It is fantastic value.