What’s the Spa Bolthole like?
This cosy basement apartment, in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa, can be booked as either a one or two-bedroom property. It is housed in the old servants’ quarters of a detached Regency villa and spans the entire lower ground floor. The award-winning Jephson Gardens is just a few minutes’ walk away.
How dog-friendly is the Spa Bolthole?
Good. You’ll need to bring your own beds, bowls and food but dogs are very welcome at the Spa Bolthole. The only house rule is that pets must not be left alone in the apartment. When we stayed, host Victoria kindly offered to put a patterned duvet cover on the bed instead of a white one, in case Ernie and Stan liked to sleep up with us. I thought this was very considerate! There is an additional charge of £5 for dogs to stay.
Tell me more about the Spa Bolthole
The spacious apartment has its own private entrance via a side gate. Guests will need to navigate a steep set of stairs and a passageway to access the property but once through the front door, everything is on one level. You can book the Spa Bolthole in its entirety or just the king room, as we did. This meant we had access to the master bedroom, bathroom, the spacious hallway and a separate loo with washing machine. But if you book the whole apartment, you will unlock a second double bedroom, a large lounge/diner and a kitchen.
Flagstone flooring has been laid throughout the apartment, which is decorated in neutral tones. It also comes complete with underfloor heating. We slept well in the comfy kingsize bed and loved the rainforest shower. There was also a small smart TV and excellent wifi, as well as parking for one car. And while we did not have access to the kitchen or lounge, it was nice to have a kettle so we could make a cuppa with the tea and coffee provided. The Spa Bolthole is underneath a family home so be aware that you will probably hear some noise from above during your stay.
What’s the food like at the Spa Bolthole?
This is a self-catering property so you’ll need to bring your own. If you book the whole apartment, you will have access to a well-equipped kitchen. But if you just stay in the king room like we did, there are no cooking facilities. This was not a problem for us because we were planning to eat out anyway – and ended up at The Royal Pug. The neighbourhood pub is very dog-friendly and has several food offers during the week. We made the most of Pie Thursday and enjoyed a delicious veggie pie, pictured above, and a pint for £10.
The Town House also comes highly recommended and serves what it claims are the best burgers and pizzas in Leamington Spa. The New Inn is a great place to visit with dogs too, and funky Procaffeinate serves up delicious breakfasts and brunches. Boston Tea Party – an excellent dog-friendly cafe chain with outlets across South West – also has a branch in Leamington Spa and specialises in all-day breakfasts. All of these places are within easy walking distance of the Spa Bolthole.
Are there resident dogs at the Spa Bolthole?
No, although you’re sure to bump into plenty of other pooches when you’re out and about.
Where are the best dog walks near the Spa Bolthole?
Jephson Gardens, the jewel in Royal Leamington Spa’s crown, is just a two-minute walk from the Spa Bolthole. This beautiful park has everything from a glasshouse filled with tropical plants to sculptures, a sensory garden and formal planted flowerbeds. The River Leam runs to the south of the park and The Aviary Cafe, housed in a gorgeous Victorian pavilion, is well worth a visit for the coffee alone. The cafe is dog-friendly both inside and out.
Newbold Comyn Country Park, on the outskirts of the town, is also a good place to visit if your dog needs to burn off a bit more energy. The 300-acre park, which forms part of the Leam Valley Nature Reserve, has a number of trails to follow. A lovely 3.5-mile riverside walk starts from Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre and takes in several green spaces, including Jephson Gardens, Victoria Park and St Nicholas Park.
What Ernie and Stan loved about the Spa Bolthole
Being so close to the park, having space to roam
What I loved about the Spa Bolthole
The location, the modern design, the great shower
How to book the Spa Bolthole
Overnight stays in the king room start from £60 per night, including service and cleaning fees. The entire two-bedroom apartment can be rented from £80 per night. For more information or to book, visit the Spa Bolthole listing on Airbnb.