If I was quizzed about England’s Cotswolds, and what all the fuss was about, I’d point the inquisitive towards the The Greenway Hotel and Spa. Turn off a busy road, travel up the hotel’s long driveway and you are instantly transported into the heart of English countryside. There are picturesque villages like Stowe On The Wold nearby, but dear reader, should I have felt bad in having no real desire to leave the Greenway?
My first impressions of this old manor house were of a building which was wonderfully old, much loved and oozed character. It was set within a stunning landscape of rolling hills and enormous oak and horse-chestnut trees. Had I stepped into an Agatha Christie novel? It certainly felt like it!
The grounds were perfectly tended, the hedges full of hidey holes leading to other parts of the gardens. You could spend many many hours just relaxing enjoying the view and taking in the beauty of where you are. The more energetic could play croquet on the lawn, the more adventurous could walk beyond the boundaries of the hotel grounds and trek up the nearby hill for a stunning view.
The weather for my stay in mid September was glorious. After an alfresco Cotswolds lager overlooking the lawns I retired into the cosy bar, with doors swung wide open, and watched guests wander in and out. The crowd was sophisticated, well turned out and well spoken, mainly couples without kids although children were treated with great kindness here. Some visitors had come straight from the Spa and weren’t staying, other guests plonked themselves onto one of the plush sofas in the cosy bar and adjoining lounge for an early evening beverage before heading to the busy and excellent restaurant.
I’ve been privileged enough to eat in some of the best restaurants in the world. A good meal makes a stay. It can be scary to entrust dining to a new and unknown hotel. You want to look forward to your evenings highlight but are aware it could make or break your stay – let me reassure you, there is no need to worry here.
The restaurant seemed to have been built onto the outside of the original building. As a result, all the quaint arched doorways and brickwork are visible on the inside of the restaurant which I loved. The seasonal menu was tasty, beautifully presented and varied. I don’t think there was a dish on the menu I wouldn’t have scoffed. I can think of a few Michelin stared restaurants that would be proud to serve the food produced at the The Greenway. The ambiance is superb, the crowd young and lively and the charismatic Italian head waiter goes out of his way to make the experience special.
We were given the most wonderful master suite named “Cedar” in the eaves of the hotel. It was spacious with a huge superking bed, large bathroom with a powerful shower, large bath and a separate living area. The ceiling was a mass of old oak beams (not so low that you banged your head) and the furnishings were wonderful antique drawer sets, and desks that fitted perfectly with the room’s ambiance and were balanced at slightly wonky angles due to the uneven nature of the old creaky floorboards. It all felt very “bednobs and broomsticks” and as the room spanned the breadth of the building, we could gaze out over the rooftop and into the countryside from both sides of the house.
I’m afraid dear reader, we travel with my son and the spa had a policy of only allowing kids at some ungodly hour in the morning and from 16.30-18.00 in the afternoon which didn’t suit our plans, so I didn’t actually use the Spa facilities. However, I did take a snoop before we left. There was an immaculate, intimate and warm pool surrounded by comfy loungers, a cafe area and an outdoor lazing patio with a jacuzzi. It all looked terribly inviting and had I had another day there, I wouldn’t have been able to resist!
I left this country escape in the Cotswolds wanting more. From the inviting bar, excellent dining and olde world charm of the rooms & communal areas – to the maze of lawns, hedges and climbing trees that made up the extensive grounds, the weekend was an absolute delight and I will be back for more soon…