If you dream of staying in an old English Manor house set amongst the rolling Cotswold hills, surrounded by a thousand fields and reached up an almost never-ending tree-lined driveway… you are dreaming of Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa.
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This glorious example of the perfect Cotswolds Country Manor House is built out of honey-coloured stone and is adorned with winding wisteria and roses climbing up it’s walls. It is located in the middle of the countryside but just a stone’s throw from the gorgeous Malmesbury, the perfect example of a country town, packed with pubs, coffee shops and antique shops dotted amongst tiny windy roads.
Style & Character
The main building couldn’t be more pretty. Verdant greenery climbs the walls and the stunning garden (which is tended to by 4 full-time gardeners) is full of colour and frames the manor house like a real-life David Winter country cottage.
Inside, a faint smokey smell from centuries of warm smokey fires mixes with the scent from enormous bunches of lilies. Each room feels historic with the floors being a mix of flagstone and wood and each room sporting a majestic fireplace.
Service & Facilities
There is a wooden-clad bar which feels like a small library and which leads into a spacious and charismatic lounge. In fact, there are various lounges throughout the hotel where you can grab some afternoon tea or just sit and play a board game and enjoy the ambience. The main lounges offer views across the gardens and doors which open up to the gardens.
Outside is an idyl, where you can sit drinking a glass of fizz as the flowers embrace you with their heavy scent. In front of you, the regal lawns, fountains and flower beds bursting with colour, could be a starring garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Of course, the mooing cows in the fields beyond offer a welcome reminder that you are not in London and are in fact plonked right in the middle of the countryside.
A brand new brasserie is the latest addition to the hotel and there is also a one-Michelin-starred main restaurant which serves a fantastic taster menu (more on that below).
I must not forget the beautiful spa area with a pool which I didn’t try but looked well worth a dip.
Rooms are upstairs and are also full of character. They look out upon the gardens. Toiletries are L’Occitane with a lovely lemony scent and the bathrooms are immaculate.
Food & Drink
We spent the evening in the restaurant and loved the food. The taster menu is a glorious example of fine dining; probably the best food we’ve had in the Cotswolds. There were around 12 courses… enough to loose count. Each dish was a talking piece, from the oyster and ancient parmesan to the smoked fried eel (surprisingly delicious), to the shellfish dish that tasted like you were eating a rockpool (in a good way). One thing that surprised me was the dessert. Usually, in fine dining restaurants, the chef excels at the savoury dishes, but so often the dessert is not the highlight. Here, not only was each dish delicious and unique, but the dessert was amazing too. A tapioca with a chocolatey delight. I won’t even try to describe it, but I could have eaten 5 of them!
Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa is the country hotel you have been looking for in the Cotswolds. It oozes character and style but also feels loved and homely. The staff are wonderful and the taster menu at it’s 1-Michelin Star restaurant is fantastic.
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.