The driveway at Studley Castle provides an impressive overture to Warner Leisure Hotels’ 14th adults-only short-stay location.

Opened in April, following a £50m revamp, the castle was built as a private residence in the mid-1830s. Its architect, Samuel Beazley, who had cemented his reputation with a flourish of buildings in London’s theatreland, delivered an imposing facade. Baronial turrets and castellations overshadow the lawn as you approach.

But much of Beazley’s work fell into disrepair as the castle underwent a century of change – from a spell as an agricultural college, to accommodating the Women’s Lady Army during the Second World War, and later housing the UK headquarters of British Leyland. Over the past five-years,Warners have painstakingly restored the building’s stonework - a feat largely achieved by referencing Victorian photographs.

A cheery porter bundles up your suitcases at the gate, and the fun begins.

For up inside those balistrariered turrets, where you might expect to find a company of archers, sits a sequence of miniature rooms. These encircle some of the hotel’s largest bedrooms, and give the impression of space well used. Instead of bows and arrows, you find traditional, flat rim bathtubs, Belfast sinks, and innovatively converted alcoves, devoted to the taking of tea.

There is teapot wallpaper here too, which takes some fathoming. It later transpires that this is part of an Alice in Wonderland motif which sweeps through the hotel. An ever-random series of March hares, Cheshire cats and white rabbits prop up in unexpected places. There is even a pair of Tweedledum and Tweedledee doors in the gents’ loos.

Oxford Mail:

The 19th century buildings segue into an avenue of 21st century bedrooms, all of which open out onto balconies with views of the Warwickshire countryside, and of the herd of sheep who graze in the fields facing west, contentedly feasting on Warners’ newly planted trees and flowers.

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Tracing the new buildings further along you arrive at a glass-fronted swimming pool and spa complex. The pool is modern and luxurious, and the spa’s reception, located in a converted stable block, is the epicentre for booking afternoon activities. If a massage or a mud-pack isn’t your bag you can enlist for archery or rifle shooting, hire one of the hotel’s 1950s-style bicycles, or, if you’re especially lazy, you can stroll over to a state-of-the-art cinema, beaming blockbuster movies thrice-daily. All activities are included in a set price, as is Warners’ notoriously good food in a variety of different packages, some of which include supper.

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There are two restaurants at Studley Castle. The Arden Lounge offers a full table service. A larger space, the Evesham Restaurant, offers a waiter-and-buffet system. There are steaks, salads, fish, fruits, and vegan delights galore. Chefs prepare food cooked to order in front of you. Ice cream is scooped from a sort of roulette wheel. Wine is delivered to your table with a smile - the staff are relentlessly enthusiastic. Breakfast here is also a joy.

The only downfall here is that, in the castle’s heroic attempt to operate as a cashless-resort, you can’t pay for anything without a card. Which doesn’t quite fit the age demographic.

But I suppose the switch to cashless betrays Warners’ ambition to reposition itself for a more youthful breed of holidaymaker, something equally evident from the choice of musical entertainment. To put it bluntly there a few startled expressions in the room when one of the musical acts starts rapping.

Oxford Mail:

Alexandra Burke, Gabrielle and Kim Wilde are among celebrity entertainers appearing here over the next few months. Tonight it’s the turn of Jo Wiley, and West End veteran Cassidy Janson who puts on a stirring show, powerful voice and piano, combining songs from musicals with a heartfelt tribute to Carol King. It all feels distinctly trendy. Guests are guaranteed a revitalising stay amid comfortable surroundings, with superb catering and excellent staff on hand, which is why they keep returning to these resorts again and again – rapping or not.

STAY: Studley Castle is at Hardwick Lane, Studley B80 7AJ

Three night bed and breakfast breaks available from £279 per person

BOOK: Details and booking information at

DO: Explore Shakespeare’s Stratford, the Cotswolds or enjoy country pursuits like clay pigeon shooting.