Sunday nights in the house of Hungry Harriet typically look a little something like this: two pyjama-clad human-sloths, horizontal in bed before 9pm, nursing roast potato-stuffed stomachs and doing quite literally anything to fend off the impending 6.30am alarm. I know we aren’t alone either. Sunday night has long been tarnished as the cloud to the silver lining of weekends; Monday morning is looming, there’s a whole week of to-do lists ahead and Friday night is but a speck on the horizon. Sigh.
So, when we got the chance to book a day off work and spend our Sunday night at The Hollies luxury lodges, you can only imagine the speeds at which hands were bitten off.
Me and mine have been a huge fan of The Hollies for years now; we’ve enjoyed many a lunch date in the cosy restaurant and even dined like royalty as the eatery transforms by evening into the rather sophisticated 59 at The Hollies. It’s the perfect little escape from the daily grind in its gorgeous rural surroundings of Little Budworth, even just for a mooch around the award-winning farm shop to pick up an artisan treat or some freshly baked pastries. In fact, an afternoon wandering around The Hollies Barn at Christmas time is festive tradition we have very gladly fallen into, so it’s safe to say this place ticks all of our boxes.
The only thing left to experience was a night in The Hollies luxury lodges and cabins… until last weekend that was! We trundled along the M53, Abby’s trusty Fiat500 weighed down with everything but the kitchen sink and but 40 minutes after leaving the front door, were pulling up outside our exquisite home for the evening. After retrieving our key from the till point at The Hollies farm shop just a couple of minutes down the way, we eagerly stuffed it into the lock of the Douglas Fir lodge, eager to see what lay beyond its perfectly picturesque exterior.
A forest log cabin dream come true, that’s what.
Despite knowing that each of the five cabins on offer are 5-star rated and luxury by nature as well as name, I was still taken aback by the grandeur that was behind the rustic facade. Set back in its own secluded nook and nestled amongst towering and voluptuous fir trees, the cabin seemed to double in size once you crossed the threshold. The Douglas Fir sleeps four people with its double bedroom, twin bedroom, Jack & Jill bathroom, cloakroom, toilet, kitchen, dining area and vast living space to boot. After our welcome tour from the charming Chris, we let any mature and reserved pretenses drop and ran around the stunning lodge like a couple of kids on Christmas morning.
Traditional lofty ceilings and a log burning fire were a cosy contrast from the ultra modern kitchen which was quite literally sparkling on our arrival. Looking around at the ornate mirror stood above the mantelpiece and the expertly coordinated patchwork of fabrics and rich colours, you would be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled upon the set of a Cheshire Life interior shoot. However its with his own fair hands that the owner of The Hollies executes the impressive decor so beautifully.
The underfloor heating had already been cranked up for us before we got there so the cabin immediately felt like a home from home, only made more snug by the abundance of warmly scented diffusers dotted around the place. In fact, the Douglas Fir was an Aladdin’s Cave of little touches that made for two very happy campers. Of course, I use the term campers incredibly loosely as our overnight stay at The Hollies lodge was a far cry from draughty tarpaulin, communal toilets and soggy, stale food.
Before settling in for the evening, we chucked our jackets back on and headed over to The Hollies famous farm shop around the corner to pick up some ingredients for dinner. You can of course dine in the restaurant during your stay (and get 10% off with your lodge key) but we wanted to make the most of the swanky kitchen facilities back ‘home’. The farm shop and deli is packed to the rafters with the finest produce, from fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses through to artisan chocolates, home-baked desserts and an impressive repertoire of Cheshire Farm Ice Cream.
True to form, we left the shop with two carrier bags full of surplus luxuries that we quite simply couldn’t resist. Chris also came across and met us in the store and treated us to a mini gin tasting session which subsequently led to us snapping up a bottle of the new Zymurgorium Sweet Violet Manchester Gin faster that you could say, wow it really does taste like Palma Violets! Thanks to our freezer already well-stocked with ice back at the lodge, we enjoyed sipping our way through a few purple G&Ts while our fresh garlic marinated chicken, buttery carrots and goose fat potatoes cooked away in the oven.
Stomachs full of delicious, honest food, we slipped (or struggled) into our swimming gear for a dip in the outdoor hot tub which had been steaming and bubbling away all the while. We braved the subzero atmosphere and plonked ourselves into the toasty volcano, admiring the jungle around us and letting nothing but the whistle of birds disturb our blissful, blissful tranquility. Aside from the obvious grandeur, the faultless hospitality and the outstanding calibre of cleanliness at the cabin, I’d have to say the half an hour we spent soaking ourselves in the fresh evening air was my ultimate highlight.
As this was an extremely generous review opportunity, I don’t want you thinking my gushing account of our time there is one big fairytale. It really was that incredible and I’ve done nothing but recommend it to anybody who will listen since. Just for good measure though, I’ll serve up a couple of minute snaggles for those of you reading this through suspicious eyes who reckon this is all way to good to be true…
Okay so minor inconvenience numero uno was that the internet connection within the vicinity and in the lodge itself is pretty lacklustre. There is free WiFi available so you won’t be without your beloved data entirely but be prepared to wait a little longer for your Instagram stories to load. I actually found it refreshing not being able to scroll through various apps on rotation until my eyes ball vibrated but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if super speed internet is non-negotiable for you.
My only other barely-there quibble if I really had to highlight any would be that out checkout time was rather early. Check in is from 3pm and you’re required to vacate the dreamy premises by 10 o’clock in the morning. As somebody who has stayed in many a hotel in my time, I’d say that 11am or 12pm is the standard checkout time so this was a slight shock to the system – especially when it means potentially sacrificing your morning hot tub date. However as there is a 2-night minimum stay rule at The Hollies Lodges, this mightn’t prove an issue at all for those who have been lucky to call their cabin of dreams home for more than just a few hours.
Basically, I’m just being a spoilt little so-and-so because I’d quite happily move in to the Douglas Fir, barricade the door and only ever surface for a breakfast date at The Hollies restaurant or a Chateaubriand at 59 at The Hollies. So massive thanks again to the guys at The Hollies for having us – for making us feel right at home, for introducing us to a new favourite tipple and for giving us the most fabulous start to a busy week ahead.
For more information about The Hollies luxury cabins and lodges click right here.
I was very kindly invited to review the Douglas Fir Lodge by the lovely lot at The Hollies Farm Shop but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.