A few weeks ago my little sister hit the ripe old age of 18 – sob! – and to celebrate we headed into the magnificent Cotswolds countryside for a sleepover at The Greenway Hotel & Spa. Nestled amongst fields and hills in perhaps one of the most quaintest corners of the country, the sixteenth century Elizabethan manor house – complete with ivy-clad Cotswold stone, a large inglenook fireplace and a ticking grandfather clock – hits that sweet spot between hotel luxury and home-from-home charm.
One of my highlights – the spa and the far-reaching glorious views aside(!) – was my sister, Carys’s, face as we entered our master room (bigger than some suites I’ve stayed in), greeted by a glass of cold champagne, a plate of chocolate truffles and a thoughtful birthday card. It was her first hotel stay and I felt immense gratitude that The Greenway had worked so hard to make it a memorable one too, their skill undeniably lies in the little details. The room embodied the charisma of a classic country house hotel with grand beams, equestrian print wallpaper and plush carpets replacing mod-cons such as a fridge or AC; the purpose of a stay here is to relax, unwind and unplug. Views from the bedroom window of the heavenly outdoor hot tub bubbling away below and miles of greenery certainly don’t hinder the process.
Where the facilities themselves are concerned, no detail however fine has been spared and the Elan Spa is without a doubt one of the best I have ever used. Having previously visited in the winter to celebrate my mother’s birthday, I was thrilled to find that the warmth and comfort of the tub, the cosy loungers and the vast hydro-therapy pool is no less satisfying when it’s thirty degrees outside. Staff are quietly efficient and are happy to let you lull around in the sun-trap courtyard soaking up the rays to your hearts content, or bring chilled refreshments to the poolside whilst you get lost in a good book. The treatment rooms are clean, calm and luxurious and the spa offers some truly excellent value half-day packages where for little more than the price of a treatment, you’re indulged in fluffy robes, use of the facilities and a delightful two-course lunch (£99 pp Mon-Thurs). The ESPA Facial, Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage is a firm favourite of mine.
I’ve visited numerous spas around the country and Elan rivals even the most expensive and prestigious with it’s impressive facilities and laid back approach; it is truly a little oasis and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again and again.
After a day of luxuriating, we made our way upstairs to change for dinner. The aptly named Garden Restaurant is elegantly dressed in oak panels, large stone fireplaces and chandeliers with calming views across the sunken garden and lily pond. Diners can choose from either a market (two courses; £35/three courses; £42.50) or seasonal menu (two courses; £45/three courses; £55), both of which focus upon fresh produce and creative pairings. Devon Crab Salad, Roast Isle of Skye Scallops and St Brides Guinea Fowl all currently feature on chef Marcus McGuinness’s evening menu. It does seem a little curious that a restaurant surrounded by Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire farmland wouldn’t choose to source locally, but there is a real focus upon British game and seafood. Whilst the food itself was impressive both in flavour and presentation, the service lacked behind and didn’t seem to mirror the attentiveness of staff throughout the rest of the hotel. Nevertheless, we had a lovely evening which was topped by a birthday message piped in chocolate around Carys’s pudding; they really do know how to celebrate a special occasion.
Sleeping at The Greenway is far homelier than at most hotels and the heavy curtains and a quiet, back-facing room are conducive to a lazy morning spent in bed. Where I often feel quite restless staying somewhere for just one night, time seems to slow down at The Greenway and a mere twenty fours later we both felt rested and rejuvenated.
Gloucestershire, GL51 4UG
We were kindly hosted with compliments of the Greenaway Hotel & Spa. All views, words and imagery are my own.