Once you have taken in the astonishing grandeur of this Italianate stone house near Cheltenham, you may think yourself convinced that whatever is within cannot match it. To call the look 'designer' doesn’t do justice to Cowley Manor’s funky, flamboyant aesthetic; the effect of cowhide window seats and comical papier-mâché ‘hunting trophies’ is certainly a world away from the usual country-house hotels.
Spectacular Cotswolds setting
Award-winning contemporary design
Fabulous spa and indoor/outdoor pool
Free cooked breakfast daily for each guest
In the know
Also need to know:
CD and DVD library. Wellington boots are provided. Two-night minimum stay at weekends. Some rooms are suitable for guests with mobility issues; please ask the Smith24 Team when booking.On sunny, English afternoons, keep the waddling ducks company and have tea on the terrace overlooking the lake. If even this sounds like too much effort for a lazy holiday, seek out one of the hammocks in the grounds for a spot of well-deserved shut-eye.
Bring your running kit, if you fancy scenic cross-country jogs. In June and July, a Panama hat and a few linen shirts wouldn't go amiss; year round, pack your waterproofs: the English weather is notoriously unpredictable.
More uptown than dressed down: think smart jeans, heels and tailored shirts.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Cowley Manor at just over a decade old is still a favourite of ours for a romantic escape. This time, however, we had two children in tow, and were nervous about disturbing the other couples' peace. We needn't have worried: the attitude to children here is incredibly welcoming. The ethos is of flexibility and fun. Apart from the obvious swimming-pool activity, our children loved the garden: sculptures, incredible water features, giant FatBoy beanbags and hammocks strewn across the lawn, as well as a giant garden toy box filled with Jenga, Connect 4 and so on… Cowley and kids mix as well as gin and tonic. When we got home, Tom (aged 5) piped up: 'Mummy, can we have a big garden one day?' 'Hmm,' I said, 'not quite that big I don't think honey – Daddy would never be able to keep up with the mowing!'
Cowley, near Cheltenham, Cotswolds, GL53 9NL, United Kingdom
4.8 mi / 7.8 km from city centre
- Aerobics instruction
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
The grand, oak-panelled dining room is formal but candlelit and welcoming. The chef, James Graham, whips up punchy, flavoursome food that focuses on the very best of seasonal, local ingredients. We're fond of the breakfast, particularly the huevos rancheros: as good as any you'd find in Mexico.
By the window, especially in summer.
Food: 9.30pm at weekends and 9pm during the week. Breakfast is available from 7.30am until 10.30am; 11am at weekends. Afternoon tea is served Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm–4.30pm.
Soups, salads and sandwiches are available 24 hours.