This 18th century manor house became a golf and country club in the mid 1970s. Since then new accommodation wings have been added over the years to make it a 93-bedroom hotel. It’s a short drive and a 15-minute walk from Tewkesbury, a pretty Gloucestershire town with a famous Medieval Abbey. Set in 165 acres of rolling countryside, the hotel has 360-degree views across its pristine golf course to the Cotswold and Malvern Hills beyond.
Like all good country house hotels, this one is reached up a long drive, which cuts through the golf course. The car park was busy, mainly with golfers and locals coming and going from the hotel’s health club. In the entrance, a rack lined with colourful welly boots (for guests to borrow) adds to the country house feel. The large reception area is also home to the bar and a dining area specifically for guests with dogs. I was informed about breakfast times and given directions to my room, which involved going back outside and turning left and going down a level. Despite being told three times, I was still confused but asked a grounds man and eventually found it. The hotel is a bit of a maze and during my one-night stay I got lost on several occasions, and met many other guests who were also struggling!
Dog in tow, we stayed in one of the six dog-friendly rooms, which were added to the mix this year. They have fully-enclosed terraces with glass balustrades so you still get the stunning views, and can be accessed via the terrace, so you don’t have to walk through the hotel with your muddy dog. A doggy wash area with a shower is located just outside the terraces and our room came with two pairs of welly boots, which happened to be in our size (although we’d brought our own). Other thoughtful doggy touches included a memory-foam dog bed, blanket, food and water bowls, a bag of healthy salmon treats and wooded flooring, so you don’t have to worry about mishaps. My bed was softer than I usually like but super comfy and the shower – overhead and handheld – was the perfect strength and easy to work out. Some rooms come with baths too.
Golf is the main attraction here, mainly for the 18-hole 72-par course, but there’s also another nine-hole par-three course. A health club, in a separate building to the hotel, has an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, barrel sauna, steam room, two squash courts and a decent gym. These, and tennis courts, are all free for guests to use. Two spa treatment rooms, which were previously in the health club, have been moved to a quieter spot in the hotel, among the bedrooms. I thoroughly enjoyed my massage with Lucy, who exerted just the right amount of pressure to ease out the stress in my neck and shoulders using seaweed oil made by Bath-based Natural Spa Factory. For dining, the split-level Mint restaurant has views of the green and a seasonal menu with Indian touches, including a tasty beetroot chaat for starters and a Himalayan goat curry. Bite-sized starters cost around £5, full-size starters £12 and mains £20 and upwards. Deserts also come in two sizes. Alternatively, guests can enjoy lighter snacks in the bar. Buffet breakfast is served back in Mint. While the hot options covered all bases, I was slightly disappointed with the limited choice of bread (just sliced white or wholegrain), pastries and cereals and was surprised that we had to pay extra for a cappuccino. The pot of tea, however, was one of the best I’ve had in a hotel and stayed hot even for the second cup. If we’d wanted to breakfast with the dog, we could have eaten in the Piano Lounge and walked through the lobby to help ourselves to the buffet. Flo would have even been allowed to have a breakfast sausage.
Following a four-year renovation in 2016, the hotel has conference rooms to accommodate private board meetings for eight people to conferences for up to 200. The conference suites also have their own bar and terrace for additional privacy and make the most of the countryside views, particularly the Cotswolds Suite, the latest addition, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass. The outside terrace comes with a wood-fired oven and oil-drum BBQs while at the end of the hotel drive is ‘Bloody Meadow’, named after its role in the Battle of Tewkesbury, which is a 10-acre field ideal for outside team building events.
Perfect for meetings, conferences, events and team building, especially if you want to throw a game of golf into the mix. Also the perfect place to take your pooch thanks to the new dog-friendly rooms. Just make sure you allow extra time to find your way around.
Dog-friendly rooms cost £258 including breakfast, (based on double occupancy), with a a memory-foam dog-bed, food & water bowls and treats.