Calcot Manor – hotel review

Ben Dowell has found the perfect place for stressed out parents to enjoy a country break - which will keep the children happy as well….

For tired and stressed-out parents who are keen to get away to the country – but maybe don’t have the childcare – then this is a real find.

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Set in 220 acres of grounds near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, this Cotswold manor house is a comfortable delight which will pamper parents and make children feel they are the most important people in the world.

It offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a brilliant gym and an outdoor hot tub (see our take on the spa treatment below).

Made from unmistakeable (and unreplicatable) Cotswold stone this is a wonderful building set in acres of bucolic English countryside. There are bike rides to enjoy, a set of tennis courts, a wooden playground and events programme for kids during the school holidays.

For smaller guests, toddlers have The Playzone, an Ofsted-registered crèche in a converted barn, while over eights can use The Mez, a supervised area with games consoles, board games, books and a private cinema. There is also an indoor swimming pool with family swim times.

What impressed me about this hotel, which I couldn’t recommend enough, was the thought and the detail. You can stay in apartments which have separate bedrooms for children. They are child-friendly – but they are adult friendly too. The two are interchangeable (parents will know what I mean – when your kids are contented, you can enjoy yourself).

But back to the detail. You get biscuits on the bed, plug safety covers for peace of mind, a babysitting service and lovely trompe l’oeil decorations in the children’s bedrooms. Even the exit buttons you need to press to get out of the building are positioned high up so your kids can’t get out when you’re not watching. It is the little details that count and here they count for a lot.

Overall it is effortlessly tasteful – harnessing the natural beauty of the English countryside and combining it with style and comfort (I particularly liked the hydrangeas that peered in through the windows and the rolling lawns and meadows outside your room and the window boxes…God, those window boxes….).

I can’t stress this enough – I have stayed in so many hotels where my children are happy and safe but this is all too often achieved at the expense of taste and beauty. Not so at Calcot Manor.

The Spa:  Calcot Manor Spa is bustling with people eagerly awaiting treatments. The downstairs airy reception promises delicious food and a generous hot tub beyond. Upstairs the smart salon area gives way to a corridor lined with aromatic treatment rooms. Pleasingly you are given the choice of music or no music – plus the opportunity to select what kind you want. This is great news as a spa experience can be seriously compromised by the wrong kind of noise, and it’s typical of the kind of thoughtful touch on offer here. The hour-long massage was deep, satisfying and expertly delivered. Afterwards a comprehensive briefing on your wellness going forward leaves you with many good intentions – even if you do head straight to the pub for lunch. 

Food and Drink: This was a real highlight. The kitchen here is absolutely first-rate. Friendly and attentive service and food to die for. Sweetcorn and polenta fritters crackled intense and fresh flavours into the palate and their seared scallops were cooked to perfection. For mains, a wood roasted fillet of beef was a hearty comfort feed using excellent quality meat while their whole Dover sole was a delight. Cooked in nut-brown butter and accompanied with Jersey Royals there was nothing provincial about this dining room.

Price: A night’s stay costs from £199 (two sharing) including breakfast. Family suites cost from £224 per night (four sharing) with a supplement of £30 per child, per night. Inter-connecting rooms and two-bedroom cottage suites are available. Call Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929, www.prideofbritainhotels.com).Calcot Spa, with pool, sauna, steam room, gym and  offers range of treatments including the 55-minute full-body Traditional Swedish Massage (£70). 

Hotel address: Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8YJ; tel: (01666 890391); www.calcotmanor.co.uk

Radio Times Travel rating: 10/10. If the kids are happy you are happy – and here you will be very happy indeed. I honestly cannot really fault this hotel and the only black mark was losing my glasses (but that, I suppose, was my fault. They still haven’t been retrieved!).

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Radio Times was hosted by Calcot Manor, all of our contributors maintain editorial independence at all times and conduct first-hand research.