10 of the best Cotswolds hotels

10 of the best Cotswolds hotels
The finest hotels in this preposterously pretty part of England

From its photogenic honey-stone cottages to its postcard-perfect country pubs, there’s very little that isn’t ridiculously good looking about the Cotswolds (and that includes its celebrity residents).

Stretching across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, this area of outstanding natural beauty delivers charm in spades. Hotels range from sprawling countryside estates and shirt-and-tie manor houses to cosy restaurants with rooms and boutique B&Bs.

Options are plentiful, so it’s all about finding the right fit and making yourself at home. Here’s the cream of the crop.

The Independent’s hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

Hotels in England can reopen from 17 May.

Best for village vibes: Thyme

Neighbourhood: Southrop

The pool at Thyme: cross your fingers for sun

Dotted throughout Southrop Manor’s sprawling 150-acre estate you’ll find the cosy pub, 17th century cottages, two restaurants and al fresco pool that make up Thyme, which is not so much a hotel as a village-within-a-village. Guests can have the run of the place, swanning from central-hub-slash-watering-hole Baa (which also happens to be a bar, set in former lambing sheds) to the first-class Meadow Spa that offers probiotic treatments in soothing surroundings. When it comes to sleeping, 31 restful, neutral-hued rooms are set in restyled farmhouse buildings (including a former rectory and a magnificent tithe barn) while ex-Quo Vadis chef Charlie Hibbert is doing wonders in the kitchen.

Rooms from £245 thyme.co.uk

Best for channelling your inner lord of the manor: No 131 The Promenade

Neighbourhood: Cheltenham

Room number 16 at Number 131

If you have designs on one day rattling around a grand Georgian mansion, make it this grand Georgian mansion. Traditional on the outside and eclectic on the inside, this good looker from the team behind The Lucky Onion is a (really big) home away from home. Each of its eight opulent rooms is decked out in statement wallpapers, industrial lights and moody blues with brassy touches, while antique knick-knacks rub up against original artworks by David Hockney and Banksy. A new addition is events space The House, which can be booked out in its eight-bedroomed entirety for OTT weddings and parties.

Rooms from £117 no131.com

Best for grown-up glamping: The Fish

Neighbourhood: Farncombe Estate

The Hilly Hut at The Fish: the ideal hideaway for high-end glampers

With shepherd’s huts, forests prime for stomping and adult-friendly tree houses poking out from towering silver birch trees, The Fish is a veritable playground for the Cotswolds set who want lashings of luxe with their long country walks. Set on 400 glorious acres, it’s dog-friendly, romance-friendly (we’re talking twin soaking tubs and prosecco in the minibar) and seafood-focused, with elegant restaurant Hook serving up poached fish, tender mussels and Porthilly oysters that are a bracing coastal walk on a plate.

Rooms from £155 thefishhotel.co.uk

Best for hearty suppers: The Wild Rabbit

Neighbourhood: Chipping Norton

Seasonal and locally-sourced food is the name of the game at The Wild Rabbit

The most genteel sort of pub with rooms, The Wild Rabbit is actually a meticulously transformed 18th-century coaching inn. Set just a few fields apart from Daylesford’s Bamford Haybarn spa and organic farm shop (where posh sorts get their eggs and kale), the hotel is a brilliantly mellow space filled with blonde wood, honey-stone and nature-inspired touches, like tree-trunk four-poster beds and twig coat hooks. But grub is the real name of the game here and menus are based on what’s in season on the Daylesford Estate. Dishes are not cheap, but the market garden Jerusalem artichokes and cote de boeuf with Roscoff onion cooked over charcoal is more than worth it.

Rooms from £150thewildrabbit.co.uk

Best for boutique chic: Foxhill Manor

Neighbourhood: Farncombe Estate

The Oak Suite at Foxhill Manor

This small and intimate modern manor has only eight rooms, so you’re unlikely to get trampled by a rush of welly boots on your way to breakfast. Here, privacy is king and you’re as welcome to hole up in your airy room (with rolling views of vales and mountains) as you are to settle down with head chef Richard Thorpe in the cushion-strewn dining room to discuss menu options. Grounds are pretty and well-maintained; ask the kitchen to pack you a picnic and head out to explore the 400-acre woodland on your doorstep, or Dormy House and its bounty of high-end amenities are just a short transfer away.

Rooms from £417foxhillmanor.com

Best for posh countryside pampering: Soho Farmhouse

Neighbourhood: Chipping Norton

Still holding strong as one of the Cotswolds’ most exclusive addresses, Soho Farmhouse is a rare thing: a countryside escape, set in 100 acres of lush green land, where there’s very little in the way of actual mud (you’ll find no manure-scented breeze here). Instead, everything is wonderfully spick and span. Timber-clad rooms have a luxury Canadian cabin feel, with hurricane lamps, untreated floorboards and roll-top baths. Outside, electric milk-floats whizz guests around the human-made lakes, en route to best of British dinners in the cavernous Main Barn restaurant and hammam rituals in the Cowshed spa. The Mill Room pub stays open way beyond any “last orders” but if it’s seclusion you’re after, you can simply get Soho Negronis delivered to your room via milk float. Genius.

Rooms from £330 for non-members sohofarmhouse.com

Best for the whole gang to enjoy: Calcot Manor & Spa

Neighbourhood: Tetbury

The al fresco hot tub at Calcot & Spa

For a family-friendly space that welcomes tiny tearaways with open arms, Calcot Manor is decidedly chic. Drop the small ones off in the play zone for mask-making, den-building or other such mucky craftwork with the enduringly cheery staff, then make straight for the heated indoor pool or al fresco hot tub for a champagne-in-hand soak. The 35 rooms are splashed with Farrow & Ball and decked out in restful neutrals, and many of them sit under sloping eaves or ancient beams. The Gumstool Inn serves unpretentious pub grub that still tastes great, from Gloucester sausages with mash and shallots to Jerusalem artichoke risotto with porcini.

Rooms from £269 per night calcot.co

Best for fillies and stallions: Lucknam Park

Neighbourhood: Colerne

Equestrian enthusiasts will love the on-site stables at Lucknam Park

Is there anything Lucknam isn’t good at? From its Michelin-star restaurant to its award-winning spa, everything here is superlative – including the gloriously glossy horses that trot round the on-site stables. Set in a 500-acre estate, guests at this grand 43-bedroom property (alongside three cottages) have access to tennis courts, croquet lawns and manicured gardens. Rooms and suites – which are of the chinoiserie silk and chandeliers variety – look out onto green views, and downstairs chef Hywel Jones (who earned the opulent restaurant its Michelin star more than a decade ago) does wonders with hearty meats and seasonal ingredients, such as wild garlic, morels and lemongrass.

Rooms from £295 lucknampark.co.uk

Best for contemporary country-pile chic: The Slaughters Manor House

Neighbourhood: Lower Slaughter

The chic bar at The Slaughters Manor House

Forget opulent chandeliers and duck-printed cushions, Slaughters Manor House takes the country-house archetype and hurls it gleefully out the window. This place looks more like a boutique city crashpad than a stuffy country grande dame, with rose gold and marble in the dining room and strokeable aubergine and taupe in the bedrooms. Nineteen rooms and suites make The Slaughters wonderfully intimate, and some even open up onto their own private gardens. Outdoorsy sorts can take part in anything from rock-climbing to duck herding, but if you’re more of a homebody, the in-room spa treatments are the epitome of indulgence.

Rooms from £180 per night slaughtersmanor.co.uk

Best for spa junkies: Dormy House

Neighbourhood: Farncombe Estate

The indoor pool at Dormy House spa

Think of welcoming Dormy House as your secretly posh uncle’s second home, with 38 rooms and a spa so decorated with awards it draws in zen-seekers from across the country. The owners are Nordic, so interiors are suitably scandi-inspired, with clean lines and calm, quiet washes of colour on the walls, and at the property’s heart is a 17th-century farmhouse, replete with flagstone floors and flames crackling in imposing stone fireplaces. If you don’t fancy clay-pigeon shooting or quad-biking around the estate, then surrender to the salt-infusion steam room or the hands of the skilled massage therapists for an afternoon of knot-busting.

Rooms from £269dormyhouse.co.uk


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