Since moving in we have spent much time and effort planning our refurbishment.

Last year we changed all of the beds, we had great fun finding “the right bed”. The only way to test the true quality of a bed is kick your shoes off and jump on and lay as you would at home. We did get some funny looks. In the end we found the ideal bed whilst staying at a hotel, we slept so well, in the morning we looked under the sheets to find out where it had come from. We contacted the company and arranged for them to meet us at Avonlea. They had a vast range and we ended up choosing their stylish deluxe divan base with luxury pocket sprung mattresses. This was the best investment we made in our 1st year as many of our guests say it’s “the best nights sleep they have had in a long time”

We knew after changing the beds there would be a long list of changes still to come and the biggest job was to redecorate the whole house. Fortunately we know Charlie, a local decorator who told us the job would take at least a month. Unfortunately this meant that we had to close in the New Year and have a holiday ourselves, what a shame! (more about our holiday in another post)

So at the beginning of this year we closed for 7 weeks so we could re-decorate and re-carpet throughout the whole house. Charlie lent us his colour chart so we could choose the best colours; I never thought choosing the right shade of cream could be so difficult. (50 shades of cream springs to mind!).Whilst we were away Charlie and his team including a Spaniel called Freddie, set to on the work.  After returning from our time away we were blown away by how light and airy the house looked, all that time choosing the right shade had paid off!

We also used the time whilst we were closed to change all of the flooring throughout. We decided on plush carpets for the bedrooms so that they would feel warm and snuggly under foot. In the hallway we decided on sisal because we love the look of this fantastic natural fibre. We wanted to change the breakfast room to hard wood but when a previous extension had been added it wasn’t put on the same level so this ruled hard wood out. We found a fantastic product called Karndeen that looks just like real wood but is flexible this meant it would go down our slight slope from the conservatory.

All in all we are happy with the new look of the B&B, there was just one more thing that needed doing….curtains. So I asked round some friends and found a lovely lady called Fiona. Fiona came round and helped us choose the curtains for each room, the only thing we told her is that they had to done in be black out material (a must in our opinion). She came up with some fantastic choices and 6 weeks later we had some lovely new curtains. We think this has now finished off all of our hard work, making Avonlea look stylish and comfy yet not detracting from the buildings Victorian heritage.

We are just now waiting for our photographer to return from holiday and we will be able to share with you all how wonderful Avonlea now looks, I did consider taking the pictures myself but I do not think that I would do any of the work justice. So watch this space for a future post with picture of the B&B.

www.avonlea-stratford.co.uk

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We have reached a milestone we now have 100 reviews on TripAdvisor.

We wish to thank all of our previous guests who have taken to time to rate us on TripAdvisor. Not only has this meant that we have reached the milestone of 100 reviews we have moved up a massive 20 places from when we took over Avonlea a year ago.  We are now 13th out of a possible 90 B&B’s in Stratford Upon Avon which is a great achievement in just a year.

Also last week we were honoured to be mentioned in Vanishing Points “Globetrotter Postcards” blog. Why not see what she has to say about Avonlea B&B and also visiting Stratford Upon Avon in general.

We really love to hear everyone’s feedback about their stay at Avonlea so we know what we are doing right and any future improvements that can be made to make your stay in Stratford even better.

The Chef’s Dozen an Amazing restaurant just 20 mins drive from Avonlea B&B and worth the trip.

When we first decided to recommend restaurants to our guests we decided that they would have to be within walking distance from Avonlea. However we were so blown by the Chef’s Dozen we have decided to add it to our list.

I have wanted to go to the Chefs Dozen for ages now, it had been recommended by a friend and after seeing their website and reviews I got very excited. We finally got the opportunity to go and I was hoping that it would live up to the high expectations that I had set for it.

All I can say it that it didn’t only meet expectations it dramatically exceeded them. We walked in and were warmly welcomed by the front of house half of the 2 person owner/partner team (Solanche) the other half being the Chef (Richard). Many times I have been to restaurants where a chef had decided to set up on their own have their partner working out front and it just does not work because the partner does not have the knowledge to run front of house. It was quickly apparent that this was not the case as we guided through the unique menu and offered some fantastic wine that had been personally chosen by her.

We decided to go for the 5 course option as this was the best way we could get to try every dish on the menu by sharing everything between us. The idea is a sort of build your own tasting menu from any of the 12 dishes on offer.

Now down to the food we were firstly presented with a pre appetiser that was a curried parsnip ice-cream, we all instantly knew we were in for a treat. From then on every course was faultless even dishes we were slightly unsure about when reading the menu surprised us and were fantastic. My favourite dish was Brill with lovely crispy skin and a lovely zesty lemon a perfect marriage. Another awesome dish was the Shropshire chicken with wild garlic and candid walnuts that were just sublime.

We were sat finishing our meal deciding exactly where in our “best ever meal list” the Chefs dozen would rank the only this we could agree on it that with would be in our top 5. We love to dine out and we have eaten a many Michelin 1 star and even 2 star restaurants (and one 3 star for myself) and we have even worked for Michelin star restaurant so to be in our top 5 is something special.

I truly believe that the Michelin man will be knocking on the door of the chefs dozen very soon. Part of me does want him not to find them in this sleepy Warwickshire backwater just so that I can get a table but I think with cooking as fine as this very soon they will have many accolades from not only Michelin but AA and Hardens and I will have to start to plan well in advance when we want to go back again.

Olympic news from Stratford Upon Avon (NOT Stratford east London)What’s been happening happening near Avonlea B&B

At the beginning of the month the Olympic torch went right past the door of Avonlea. In the centre of town the crowds were out in force and some people were 10 deep trying to get a view. We thought with all the other Bed & Breakfasts on our road it would be hard to get a space too. But fortunately we managed to get a great spot right outside the front of the B&B.

There was a great atmosphere and all of our family who came to visit for the occasion had a really great day. It really made us realise the countdown is on. The next big Olympic event in Stratford Upon Avon is the installation of the big screen in Bancroft Gardens just a 5 min walk from Avonlea. The screen will be up on the 27th of July to celebrate the opening ceremony and they will be a part in Bancroft gardens too. If the weather finally decides to surprise us with “summer” we are looking forward to a great atmosphere.

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Avonlea
47 Shipston Road
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 7LN

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