A stay in the Cotswolds is like stepping into a dreamy English novel where you stay in an ancient manor house, or a picture-perfect cutesy cottage. It is also a magical country escape for those living in the city, the perfect getaway.
In the Cotswolds, expect to find rolling hills, fudge-coloured villages packed with thatch-roofed cottages, country walks and lots of sheep! Most of the old country manor houses in the area have now been converted to glorious, luxury charismatic and historic hotels, but don’t discount the fun that can be had by staying in a boutique, cottage-style hotel accommodation that is more conveniently located in the centre of a village and walkable to the local pub.
We have picked 10 of the best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. Expect exposed beams, antique furniture, cream teas on the lawn and even complimentary Hunter wellies for long country strolls to a dreamy country pub. Our picks will make your dream of a country idyll come true.
Wherever you decide to stay, in England or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, InterContinental and more.
Typically, our free benefits* at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
1. Oakhouse 1 boutique hotel
Our first choice is the beautifully refurbished Oakhouse 1 boutique hotel in the pretty village of Tetbury (which is also frequented by the Royals and the polo crowd).
Described by TATLER as “The Notting Hill of Gloucestershire .. a little rock ‘n’ roll…a little country classic .. the vibe is fizzy French house party” and equally popular with THE GUARDIAN “We are spirited into a fantasy world, a collision of colour, modern design and trad sumptuousness”, this gorgeous boutique hotel has it all.
Oak House No.1 is a luxury boutique hotel in the Cotswolds packed full of intriguing objects and wonderful artworks. Its unique and opulent surroundings have attracted many celebrity guests including Martin Freeman, Peter Andre, Tim Minchin, Kelly Jones and more. These rockstars and royalty are attracted by the immaculate and luxurious rooms and the casual and discreet environment.
Oak House No.1 is nestled in the heart of the picturesque, fudge-coloured Cotswolds town of Tetbury, packed with antiques shops, boutique B&Bs and organic shops selling chutneys, cheeses and other local produce. Even Prince Charles has a shop named the Highgrove deli. Being located in the centre of Tetbury, all the local restaurants are just a few moments from the door of Oak House No.1, although the hotel itself is in a quiet and peaceful corner of the finest Georgian square.
In this wonderful part of the Cotswolds, you are ideally located for the Badminton Horse Trials or Polo at Cirencester Park Polo Club. More often than not you will see Prince William at close quarters playing a match, whilst Prince Charles plays at the Beaufort Polo Club just a few minutes away.
In fact, why not book in for a tea with Prince Charles? It is unlikely he will actually show his face for your tea, but you can enjoy his residence which is just a few minutes from Oak House No.1. Highgrove House and Garden Tours with a Champagne Afternoon Tea can be booked in advance and are not to be missed.
The bedrooms at Oak House No.1 have been re-designed to an exceptionally high standard. The walls are painted in bold colours, the furnishings are hugely high end and invite you to snuggle fireside under a cashmere throw. At night, sleep on the world’s finest quality Frette sheets with pillow choices from the finest Siberian goose down to hypo allergenic.
All the essentials are present along with some nice extras; free WiFi, full Sky TV package, including Sky Movies and Sky Sports Channels, an iPod dock, DVD/CD player, silver tea sets with teas, coffee and hot chocolate as well as fresh milk and bottled water.
They have thought of everything at Oak House No.1. Grab a pair of Hunter wellies and thick woolly socks (they supply these in all sizes) and wrap up for a long stroll across the fields to end by the fire of a local country pub. Isn’t what the Cotswolds is all about?
2. The Greenway Hotel and Spa
The Cotswold’s Greenway Hotel and Spa is hidden up a long driveway. My first impression of this old manor house was of a building that was wonderfully old, much loved and oozed character.
Set within a stunning landscape of rolling hills and enormous oak and horse-chestnut trees, the Greenway Hotel and Spa sits in perfectly tended grounds with the hedges full of hidey holes. Relax on the lawns here or play croquet. The more adventurous traveler can walk beyond the boundaries of the hotel grounds and trek up the nearby hill for a stunning view.
In the evening, enjoy an alfresco Cotswolds lager overlooking the lawns and then retire into the cosy bar, with doors swung wide open. The crowd is sophisticated, well turned out and well-spoken, mainly couples without kids although children are treated with great kindness here.
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 evening’s highlight but are aware it could make or break your stay – let me reassure you, there is no need to worry here.
The restaurant has 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. The seasonal menu is tasty, beautifully presented and varied. The ambience is superb, the crowd young and lively.
Rooms are spacious with large king beds, large bathroom with powerful showers, large baths and, often, a separate living area. The ceilings in the attic rooms are a mass of old oak beams (not so low that you bang your head) and the furnishings are wonderful, with antique drawer sets and desks that fit perfectly with the hotel’s ambience. Imagine “bednobs and broomsticks” with views over the rooftop and onto the countryside.
3. Old Swan & Minster Mill
As you drive up to the Old Swan & Minster Mill you can’t help but be delighted by it’s perfect Cotswolds village setting, complete with grey stone cottages fronted by grass verges and colourful flowers. The hotel, which was built circa 1445, spans across numerous cottages and outbuildings. Beyond these, the small village tails off to one end and the River Windrush gurgles past at the other. Take in the hotel’s beautiful surroundings with our video tour.
The reception is in one of two main buildings and sits beside an enormous open fire. I can’t imagine a more atmospheric check-in but watch out for the dark beams that hang dangerously low and the uneven stone floors that try to trip those of us who sport high heels.
The second main building is a gorgeous old and quirky village pub. Here you can take a seat above the well which is set deep into the floor – just a glass slab stops you from toppling in. Alternatively, you can cosy up to one of the many fireplaces.
Our room was the garden suite; a beam filled converted outhouse (I am guessing it used to be a barn for horses or cows), with medieval-looking chandeliers hanging from the exposed beams. Small windows at the foot of the huge and deeply comfy bed, look through hanging flowers at the courtyard beyond. The adjacent sitting area is made up of two seats and an inviting leather sofa. The remaining furnishings were an eclectic mix of antique drawers, dark wood side tables and a large copper coffee table giving the room a snug cottagey feel.
The gardens are just beautiful at the Old Swan & Minster Mill and extend into all sorts of different areas. To the rear, there is a vegetable garden with an adventure playground, chickens and a Pétanque pitch. Next to the bar/restaurant is an outdoor dining area in another garden, this time with ducks, a duck house and a pond surrounded by pretty lawns.
Cross the road and you are met by weeping willow trees drooping into the river with a seating area on the river’s edge. More gardens beyond rise up from the banks of the river including a sweetly scented rose garden and lawns then drop back down to the river with a croquet lawn. Usefully, throughout the gardens are huddles of deck chairs so that you could grab a book and disappear into your own corner for the entire day.
As I mentioned above, the pub is exactly how you imagine a Cotswolds pub. Low beamed ceilings, old fireplaces, comfy chairs and candles dotted everywhere flickering into the night. Outside you can drink and eat in the garden and the staff are friendly and smiley.
The bar is just what you want from a Cotswolds bar and I noticed that many Londoners, who had come down for the weekend, were already quaffing champers in the sunshine late afternoon. This is one of the best spots in the Cotswolds to enjoy the quintessential English garden, paddle or fish in the stream, laze on a lounger or drink yourself merry in the sunshine.
4. Ellenborough Park
Arrival at Cheltenham’s Ellenborough Park is impressive. The hotel sits alone on the side of a hill, in acres of immaculate grounds with sweeping views down to one of the UK’s most famous racecourses. Ellenborough Park has won many awards. Having seen the grounds, I couldn’t help thinking that I had found the Four Seasons of the Cotswolds.
The reception is both modern and stylish with beautiful flower arrangements. Leading off reception is a maze of rooms and corridors as well as a modern bar and bistro. The hotel’s oldest rooms and premium suites are also located in this main building, reached via character-filled stairways. The remainder of the rooms sit in pretty Cotswold stone outbuildings dotted around the lawns and pool.
Our room was a De Luxe Double in one of the outbuildings. I was expecting a room full of character and Cotswolds charm. The room was lovely but modern. I can’t fault the size or the spacious and immaculate bathroom bearing a passing resemblance to a Four Seasons bathroom; modern with a large roll-top bath and a shower and toilet in separate cubicles.
A few of these rooms, including our own, (number 21), opened directly onto the pool with a mini patio and chairs. Paradise for kids and a pleasure for adults, as treks down corridors in damp and unsightly bathrobes after a swim can be avoided.
The pool was outdoors but was warm even on a grey English summers day. It’s cleverly designed in a natural dip making it a sun trap and sheltering it from the wind. It’s a modern pool, well cared for and with ample space around its edge for loungers. There’s also table service, meaning food and drinks can be ordered poolside.
The bar is surprisingly small, with just 8 seats. We popped in and took up a 4 seat table, (half the bar), but the pints were good and the view of people going in and out of reception and the brasserie was colourful.
The Beaufort Dining Room is set in a historic room in the main building with an ornately carved fireplace. The ingredients are local and fresh, the chef using them to produce mouth-watering dishes. The Beaufort Dining room alone is reason enough to visit Ellenborough Park, the food is simply delicious and the price ridiculously cheap in comparison to an equivalent dining experience in London.
Set in the historic part of the building, the Spa is stylish and atmospheric. I had their detoxifying wrap treatment and although I am not keen on being covered with goo, the pain was worth the gain. My skin felt brand new after the treatment, plus I loved smelling like a lemon cake!
Is the Ellenborough Park the Four Seasons of the Cotswolds? No, at the Four Seasons I am always addressed by my name and the staff ooze warmth. At Ellenborough Park, I was “Madam” and was dealt with in a polite but formal manner. Having said that, Ellenborough Park remains an excellent hotel choice and one of the best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. The food is truly excellent, the spa and pool enjoyable, the grounds and communal areas full of character and lovingly maintained.
5. Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa
Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa is a country house hotel near the beautiful city of Bath, on the edge of the Cotswolds set in acres of listed parkland.
You approach this impressive hotel up a long treelined driveway. In the Spring, carpets of yellow daffodils run down either side of the entire driveway – magic! Upon entering Lucknam Park Hotel through the double doors you are met by a large elegant room with wooden clad walls and a reception desk to the corner. To your left you pass through a beautiful library to reach a pastel pink cream tea room and bar. To your right is the Michelin starred fine dining restaurant. Straight on leads through the courtyard and to the swimming pool.
Our room, (a “Grand Suite” called Apricot), was one of 42 rooms on offer and was situated at the front of the building, with a vista which included the driveway and ran across the entire front of the property. These views are simply breathtaking, especially first thing in the morning when the dew is catching the sun. I peered into a few more rooms and found the ones to the back of the building to be much darker and less appealing, hence would recommend booking a “Grande Suite” and requesting a view to the driveway.
The room itself was finished in a very traditional style with a pastel carpet, a hotchpotch of old antique drawer sets and old fashioned antique furniture, all sympathetic to the style and feel of the property. The room also had a fire place that the hotel staff would light for you on a cold evening, (a nice touch), and a large well-appointed marble bathroom. Without the television placed between the windows, I would have felt like I’d stepped back in time.
In the evening we chose to enjoy a few beers in the bar/lounge area, which doubled as the cream tea lounge during the day. This lounge was decorated in ornate in pastel pinks with old fashioned armchairs for seating. It again boasted the beautiful views across the parkland and was very large and very quiet. In fact it was so quiet that I could actually hear the wind whistle in through the crack in the window frame next to me. There were other guests here playing cards and speaking in muted tones, but it was almost as if no one group of guests wanted to disturb the other guests, all a bit too formal for my taste.
For food, we tried the Bistro which was connected to the spa and pool area with a wood-burning pizza oven and a large terrace for the summer months. If I had a criticism it would be that the modern feel and decor of the brasserie didn’t befit the style and mood already set by such a traditional hotel. The hotel’s main restaurant holds a Michelin star but the formal dress code kept us out.
In the morning, we took breakfast in the main restaurant. This huge room with chandeliers and high ceilings and was populated with the same guests almost whispering in the same muted tones as in the bar the night before, I can’t fault the staff and the breakfast itself was good but the formal atmosphere persisted.
After breakfast we explored a tiny portion of 500 acres of grounds which are just gorgeous and seem mainly used for numerous equestrian activities on a beautiful array of horses. Most guests seem to be choosing to spend the day visiting the nearby National Trust properties or had headed straight over to the excellent pool area, a huge modern pool with an indoor-outdoor spa pool which overlooks the gardens. This pool is an absolute highlight of this country house hotel, light, modern, large and immaculate, just a great place to swim and sunbathe. There is also a separate Spa house beyond the pool and to the back of the main house which I didn’t try.
6. Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa
Whatley Manor is a country house hotel in the heart of The Cotswolds countryside. This grand 19th-century farmhouse lies on the eastern fringes of the Cotswolds situated in a beautifully relaxing location steeped in history just a stone’s throw from the gorgeous market town of Malmesbury, packed with its pubs, coffee shops and antique shops.
With its long drive through grounds that roll out to fields, Whatley Manor feels a world apart from 21st-century pressures and just oozes character and style with gardens that seem to be straight out of a picture book. Built out of honey-coloured stone and adorned with winding wisteria and roses climbing up the walls, it is set in immaculate rolling 12-acre grounds.
Verdant greenery climbs the walls and the garden is full of colour framing the quintessentially British house. Strolling around the magnificent gardens which are laid out in 26 distinctly different areas, you really experience true peace and tranquillity as there is no noise from passing traffic, just the sound of nature.
The public areas have a generous feeling of space with a graciously wide main staircase and several comfortable rooms to sit in and relax. Everywhere you explore within the hotel feels historic with the floors being a mix of flagstone and wood, and each room sporting a majestic fireplace. There is a wooden-clad bar which feels like a small library leading into a spacious and charismatic lounge.
In fact, there are a variety of lounge areas throughout the hotel that give you the opportunity to sit and soak up the ambience, or even to sample an elegantly served Whatley Manor afternoon tea of traditional sandwiches, fluffy scones and delectable cakes and sweet treats. The main lounges offer views across the gardens and doors which open up enticing you outside; sitting overlooking the regal lawns, fountains and flower beds bursting with colour is truly idyllic.
Executive Chef, Niall Keating gained a coveted Michelin Star within one year of taking on the role at Whatley Manor, and his passion and creativity has reinvigorated all of the dining experiences at Whatley Manor. Breakfast here is good and brought to the table rather than served as a buffet, with a menu of pastries, cereals and plenty of cooked options such as eggs Benedict.
The accommodation upstairs is also full of character. All rooms are very quiet and spacious; even the smallest ‘classic rooms’ have ample space for a desk and comfortable chairs. Rooms have been refurbished to a very high standard with quality products and comfortable surroundings, giving a modern edge. There are only 23 rooms and suites that are completely unique in style and overlook the gardens and Cotswold countryside.
Hotel amenities also include full use of the award-winning Aquarias Spa throughout your stay to restore your mind and body, to reset and recharge. The beautiful honeystone building exudes a calming and relaxing environment that whispers “switch off” as you walk through the doors.
7. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Nestled amongst beautiful gardens in the rural Cotswolds countryside, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is a luxury hotel located in the picturesque village of Great Milton in Oxfordshire; the quaint streets of Oxford city centre being only a 20-minute drive away.
Created by chef Raymond Blanc OBE, it is one of the country’s most cherished manor house hotels, with 32 individually designed guest rooms and suites. Opening in 1984, it was awarded two Michelin stars and has retained them ever since.
The food is French-inspired, using only the best seasonal produce, freshly picked from the hotel’s extensive vegetable and herb gardens and is a true gastronomic experience. Sitting in the perfectly manicured gardens sampling the seven-course taster menu is out of this world, each course bringing something new whether it be flavours or textures. Coupled with exemplary service, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons certainly does not disappoint.
8. The Manor House, Castle Combe
The Manor House is a stunning 14th Century luxury hotel and golf club set in 365 acres of secluded parkland within close proximity to the Cotswolds and Bath.
With 50 individually designed bedrooms, located in either the Main House or the Mews Cottages adjacent to the main building, no two rooms are the same but rest assured they all elude luxury combining the traditional with the modern.
Experience dining in the award-winning Michelin starred ‘Bybrook Restaurant’ with its diverse, imaginative menu or take a stroll around the picture box village of Castle Combe. The food is well-deserving of its Michelin star and its location makes The Manor House an ideal base for the area.
9. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
Located in the beautiful Georgian town of Marlow, near the Cotswolds in Buckinghamshire, The Hand & Flowers is the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars. Owned by Tom Kerridge and his wife, it looks like an ordinary pub from the roadside but you actually check-in at the small bar-turned-hotel reception, through which lies the 17th-century dining room.
Guests can stay in any of the 11 off-site individually designed boutique bedrooms situated in three different cottages in the centre of Marlow. All rooms are luxurious, cosy and contemporary with large beds and baths, hot tubs and rain showers and include a cooked breakfast in the pub.
10. Calcot Manor & Spa
Calcot Manor & Spa is set in a 14th-century weathered stone manor house located three miles from Tetbury and amid the rolling Cotswolds hills. It offers a gorgeous spa with and indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, an additional outdoor pool, a kids’ Playzone and two restaurants, all sitting within its 220-acres of meadowland.
This luxury hotel has 35 modern-country style bedrooms located in the main house and overlooking the courtyard and gardens as well as more family orientated rooms in the outbuildings. The rooms in the main house are for couples only. Family rooms overlook the outdoor pool; suites that are available to both families or couples are in one of the outbuildings and come with their own fenced private gardens.
All of the Calcot Manor bedrooms and suites are spacious with satellite television, magazines, fresh fruit and biscuits. The bathrooms come fully-loaded with fluffy towels, robes, walk-in showers, free-standing bathtubs and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. Of the family suites, Woodchester is an excellent choice, with its private garden and first floor bathroom with 2 baths (see photo below).
Calcot Spa is a few seconds walk from the main house. The spa includes a swimming pool, treatment rooms, a gym, lounge and an outdoor hot tub that’s surrounded by lavender and overlooks an open wood fire.
At Calcot there is a choice of fabulous fine dining in the Conservatory restaurant or tasty gastro-pub fare in The Gumstool Inn. The Gumstool Inn is right on site and gives you everything you would expect from a cosy pub from a a log fire to comfy seating. It serves local real ales as well as excellent warming pub food.
The Conservatory serves dishes infused with a Mediterranean flavour from his wood-fired oven, all made from fresh, local ingredients. Offering stunning views of the Cotswold countryside from all around, you’ll never miss out on the sunshine when dining in The Conservatory. The big windows and beautiful skylights make it a restaurant experience that will really lift your spirits.
While there are many activities like complimentary bikes for the three miles of cycles paths around the grounds, as well as tennis courts, mini football, horse riding (at certain times of the year), climbing frames, an outdoor pool, running routes and a woodland gymnasium. If you prefer to relax when I am away, to take a stroll, to snuggle up on one of the inviting fireside sofas, to indulge in the spa and to end the night in the hot tub with champagne under the Cotswold stars.
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Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.