A country retreat with the children was delivered in style, luxury, and comfort at the gorgeous Bowood Hotel, Spa, and Golf Resort in Wiltshire for myself and my brood recently.
The Bowood Hotel lies within the estate of the same name, which is situated in the town of Calne in the heart of the county of Wiltshire in the UK. You are 5 miles from Chippenham and only a 15-minute drive from the pretty town of Devizes. The town is also the location of the infamous Caen Hill flight of locks where 16 locks are stacked continuously along the steep canal. It’s recognized as an ancient monument and makes for an impressive sight.
Best Time To Visit
The UK is a great all-year-round destination that doesn’t experience particularly harsh winters or hot summers. Bowood Hotel was gorgeous when we visited, with the autumn colors creating a sea of oranges, reds, and browns, but I imagine would also be incredibly beautiful in the late springtime when the gardens would be a full bloom, and a summer visit would have the bonus of being able to take full advantage of the large terrace found outside the restaurant and bar.
How To Get There
The hotel lies conveniently just off the M4 between Calne and Chippenham. The central location makes it an ideal meeting place for a weekend with extended family or for a special occasion, and several groups were doing just that when we visited. Bristol Airport is the nearest and lies only 30 miles from the hotel.
Style & Character
The hotel is luxurious and stylish, think a trendier version of the classic country house retreat. It was very comfortable to spend time in, and the little details had clearly been well thought out; boxes of tissues in both the bedroom and bathroom, USB chargers in the sockets, wellington boots you could borrow for a stroll around the grounds – these extras really elevate the experience.
Service & Facilities
The hotel has a championship golf course literally a 2-minute stroll from the front door and a luxury spa, which includes a beautiful swimming pool and jacuzzi. Unusually for luxury hotels, they allow children for two dedicated sessions a day, this was very much appreciated by our youngsters and us and the pool wasn’t by any means overrun with little ones, so all still enjoyed a relatively quiet swim. The spa offers a full menu of treatments and also includes a gym, a rock sauna, crystal steam room, and aromatherapy showers.
The hotel’s location on the Bowood Estate is rather fabulous. It means that as well as taking advantage of the golf course and spa on-site, you also gain complimentary admittance to Bowood House and its grounds. For couples, this means a relaxed day exploring the Georgian house and its stunning gardens, perhaps dining in the restaurant there before a calm meander through the arboretum. But as my visit was not just as part of a couple, our trip included the amazing Adventure Playground with its massive pirate ship, speeding through the house and gardens, soft play, and an adorable session in the animal barn at Tractor Ted Little Farm; not quite as peaceful as option A but so much fun for us all! Top tip; the concierge will very happily whisk you from the hotel to Bowood House on a golf buggy; surely the best way to travel for both the young and young at heart!
The service was excellent. It’s always a big test when you travel with children, particularly in luxury hotels, and all the staff were exceptional with both our children and us; welcoming, helpful, and friendly.
Stay in one of 43 spacious guest rooms; choose your view from Classic Courtyard or Classic Parkland. The Luxury Parkland rooms also have balconies so you can soak up that view. We were lucky enough to stay in the vast and very elegant Mercer Suite, one of the Courtyard Suites. It works incredibly well for families. We tend to find, even when we take over a suite, that the children’s beds take over the sofa and half the room, whereas here, they each had a camp bed, and there was still plenty of room for a large corner sofa and plenty of floor space, it never felt cramped even with the four of us. The piece de la résistance though, had to be the enormous bathroom! Simply beautiful with a large bathtub, his and hers sinks (or parents and children we found worked very nicely) and a shower big enough for the whole family (which no, we didn’t attempt). For an extra romantic stay, there’s also the option of upgrading to the Luxury Four Poster Suites for that bit more luxury and, of course, a four-poster bed.
Food & Drink
The hotel bar includes the main room that has a trendy vibe with lots of monochrome and rich reds, and then there’s also a lounge lined with books that boasts a roaring fire and huge sofas; ideal for an afternoon tea or to snuggle up with the Sunday papers. The Shelburne Restaurant is found just off the main bar and was alight with candles when we dined there. It manages to be classic enough for the older members of the family to feel comfortable and yet contemporary enough for younger guests. By day, the views across the countryside are divine, and I can only imagine how pleasant it is out on the terrace in summer months. The restaurant has a creative, wide-ranging menu with locally sourced produce and generous portions, we particularly enjoyed a very tasty Baked Camembert, and the service was impeccable as ever. For more casual fare, there’s also the Clubhouse Brasserie, which serves traditional English dishes overlooking the golf course.
We love this hotel because it makes for the perfect countryside escape and is delightful for families and couples alike.
Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
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