Times have changed and an increasing number of people are working from home, only visiting the office for important meetings or at key times in the work calendar. When work calls, and being away from home is necessary, a place to stay that is reasonably priced, friendly, comfortable and serving good food is a real treat. All Things Business editor Judith Halliday has found that The World’s End at Ecton ticks all those boxes.
When it’s all go at the office and you’re away from home, it’s good to have somewhere you know you can relax and recharge your batteries at the end of the day.
For a while, after personal circumstances meant I wasn’t within commuting distance of the office, I tended to stick to the big hotel chains when I needed to be in Northamptonshire for work. They did the job, certainly, but after a while I found myself looking for a little bit more, and decided to try out The World’s End.
I’d eaten there on a number of occasions when I lived in the county, and always enjoyed the food and surroundings. So, I was impressed to find that a night in one of the hotel’s 22 cosy bedrooms was more than comparable with most options across the county.
Recently, the accommodation and service was recognised in award-winning style when The World’s End took part in the Channel 4 programme Four In A Bed, where bed and breakfast establishments up and down the country compete to impress their co-hosts. Not only did owner Andrew Chapman and his son Chris showcase
their hotel in a good light, they had a positive impact on the competition, too, taking the coveted winner’s plaque, which is now on display in the reception area for all to see.
Reception is, inevitably, the first port of call for guests, and there’s always a friendly welcome. It’s a small team, and so if you stay regularly, you soon become known to the staff, who always look pleased to see you return. Off to the left of reception, up just a short flight of steps, is the bar area – almost too tempting after a long journey or a hard day at work, so it takes will power to head in the opposite direction to offload your luggage and unpack.
The rooms include twins, doubles and two superior rooms. Half of them are at ground level and easily accessible, with the rest on the first floor. The usual facilities are available, tea and coffee making facilities, TV, free wifi – but, most important of all, as far as I’m concerned, there’s plenty of space. There’s nothing worse than the sideways shuffle round a double bed that just about fits, but only just.
Unpacked and ready to eat, I usually head for the bar, reserving a table as I pass the restaurant. I’ll often catch up with friends while I’m staying locally and they’re always keen to join me at The World’s End for dinner rather than suggesting somewhere else locally. One of the positives for me is that the restaurant is likely to be busy whatever night of the week, and there’s always a good atmosphere. Andrew Chapman describes his vision as a pub with rooms rather than a hotel with a restaurant, and he has achieved that. The World’s End has a reputation for good food that brings in people from a wide area, with a menu that has something for everyone, from sharing boards and pizzas to a la carte choices and a list of daily specials, and you’ll find yourself among tables of work colleagues enjoying some down time, families celebrating a birthday or anniversary and couples out for a candlelit dinner.
Tempting as it is to go back to old favourites each time – I’m thinking chicken liver parfait, tempura calamari and triple cut chips here – the entire menu is tempting and I often branch out, and can personally recommend the Mediterranean vegetable tart, the pan seared lamb’s liver, the steak and ale pie and the chicken Caesar salad (tried separately over several visits, I hasten to add).
I’m usually strong enough to resist dessert because by that time being lured by the big leather sofas in the bar, where I head for a glass of wine and an hour with my book or a crossword, to wind down completely before bed.
I’ve never stayed at the weekend but I am assured Sunday lunch is very good, and there’s a special two-course lunch menu available at £16 per person; and, as the weather gets warmer, there’s plenty of outdoor seating with a play area for children.
Andrew Chapman told me:
“During the week, residents tend to be business guests and we want them to have a good experience. We want people to go away from here happy, having enjoyed their stay, and the best thing for us is when we get to welcome people back whenever they are in town, because that’s when you know you’re getting it right. We’re independently owned and try to o er a personal service and a homely atmosphere where people feel comfortable.”