The Cotswolds

Best Cotswolds Hotel

Total Recharge. Every now and then we all need to step o the wheel and indulge in the moment. Forget about work and life stresses and purely relax. Calcot Manor and Spa, set in 220 acres of the Cotswold’s rolling landscape, is designed to make that dream a reality. Pete Lawrence discovers more…

CotswoldsThe unwinding process starts with a relaxing drive through the south Gloucestershire countryside. Just 4 miles West of the charming market town of Tetbury, Calcot Manor and Spa nestles into the landscape – its well manicured Cotswold stone walls and slate roofs immediately make you feel like you have stepped back to a less frenetic age. The 35 bedrooms have space and individual charm – the calming neutral décor, soft lighting and large sumptuous bed are immediately soothing. The rooms also contain all the luxuries of modernity now expected of a quality hotel – space, a large powerful shower and hugeroll topped bath; fluffy towels and robes, a decent coffee machine and fresh milk for the tea.

There were three options for lunch. A full a la carte menu in the classy conservatory restaurant; something heartier and more traditional in ‘The Gumstool’, designed withthe feel of country pub offering log res andreal ales; or something light and healthy in the Spa. We opted for pub grub but with the sauna waiting, we veered away from the tempting and sizeable fish and chips, in favour of two starters: a delicious and rich French onion soup and Smoked Wye Mackerel Pate with homemade sourdough toast with a soft boiled egg.

CotswoldsThe spa building is across the courtyard from the hotel. Once kitted with the obligatory gown and slippers, we headed first to the outdoor Jacuzzi. Forty degrees of bubbling water, gently steaming in the chilly afternoon, offering immediate relaxation, particularly if alongside the chilled water on offer, or if you fancy squeezing in a small glass of prosecco. The Jacuzzi sits amongst box hedges beside a crackling fire in an adjacent outdoor oven, which provides the perfect spot to warm your towels for when you emerge.

Next the pool beckoned. Nothing strenuous here but at least a couple of lengths to lift the guilt of otherwise doing absolutely nothing. Next we could have made use of the high tech gym or booked a session with personal trainers but instead it was destination steam room and sauna. After just 2 hours at the spa,I was definitely in a different zone, I blissfully couldn’t even remember the name of my room when I went for appointment in one of the seven treatment rooms. I opted for a 55  minute massage and I’m sure I drifted off. I was without doubt transformed.

Stress-free, my only decision would be about dinner. We chose the conservatory restaurant. From a magnificent menu, celebrating local produce, I had organic beef tartare with quails egg to start, which was perfectly seasoned. Slow-cooked medium-rare rump and belly of Wiltshire lamb served with caramelized cauliflower was an exquisite main and left just enough room for a bitter chocolate tart with Horlicks Ice-cream. My wife had a wild mushroom risotto, fillet steak with salsify and shallot mash and a vanilla parfait with lemon curd and blackberry.

The whole experience and stay was an absolute treat and I promise myself that I must do it again soon.

Pete Lawrence was hosted by Calcot Hotel & Spa, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels collection. A night’s stay costs from £209 per night (two sharing) including full English breakfast. Please check out the website www.prideofbritainhotels.com

There are plenty of other wonderful places to visit here in the UK.  If you’re heading somewhere different on your travels, click on the links to see the corresponding websites – they might help you plan your visit!