The Cotswolds represent the British countryside at its best, an idyll that is portrayed in so many films and articles. An added bonus is that we have some of the most luxurious country house hotels where you can find all the creature comforts, together with delicious food. You can chill out in the sanctuary of a relaxing spa, perhaps while away a few hours with chosen friends and family, or explore beautiful gardens, intimate local villages and towns. All very decadent and sybaritic.
The Greenway Hotel is an exceptional example of such a gem and is a 16th century creeper clad stone manor house with all the attributes of a stylish boutique hotel and modern spa, set in glorious surroundings near to the elegant watering hole of Cheltenham.
We have come across Luc Morel, the general manager, at another hostelry and knew that we would be in for a treat. Luc is a great team builder and leader by example; they present an extremely relaxed atmosphere inducing a feeling of staying in a private house. It is what everyone dreams of finding in the best of the best of hotels. Not an easy task with today’s ever rising expectations.
One of the highlights of a visit is the prospect of a leisurely dinner. The restaurant is elegant with its oak panelled walls and picture-perfect views across the formal gardens to the hills beyond. Together with attentive staff it all combines to provide a culinary experience that upheld everything that is true fine dining. Everything was beautifully and seamlessly orchestrated from our delicious welcome glass of champagne in the garden to our last mouthful of pudding.
A complementary approach has been taken in the bedrooms with bold colours, heavy luxurious curtains and contemporary finishes. I found myself opening and closing the lush bedroom curtains just to hear the swish. Naturally the bathrooms are equally well appointed. The public areas with their bold jewel colours are extremely chic blending in with the character of the old building. Styles are subjective to personal taste but who cannot agree with their choices, as the attention to detail is meticulous and consistent.
It is difficult to know where to start in describing the spa and its many facilities. You are spoilt for choice with a swimming pool and outdoor tub set in a quiet, soothing lavender scented courtyard. Naturally there is a steam room and sauna which has an ‘experience’ shower –you press a button to find yourself in the middle of a tropical downpour or another to find out what it is like to be in the middle of an arctic storm. Whatever is your thing! Of course, there is also a comprehensively equipped gym with the latest equipment although I have to admit I have never been near one. Tim was going to try the pool out before breakfast but our four poster bed proved to be rather too comfortable.
The Spa offers probably some of the best selections of sybaritic treatments available. There are a host of wraps, scrubs, massages and facials majoring on the fragrance of herbs. It is a friendly haven of serenity, a refuge from the reality of day to day life. A sumptuous experience with something for everyone and we mean everyone – during our visit the gold medallist Kelly Holmes was spotted and that must surely be a heavy endorsement for the spa.
My aromatherapy massage was both a sensory sensation and thoroughly therapeutic. I was so spaced out at the finish that I could not find my way out to the reception – walking on air comes to mind and no I had not accepted the proffered glass of champagne.
So if you want to take a little bit of The Greenaway’s magic home you can buy a choice of goodies to remind you of perhaps one of the most relaxing and calming experiences going. It really is, hand on heart, an ideal country retreat both heavenly and elegance personified.
A charming hotel with a great team that can indulge and relax you; even before visiting their big spa.
The icing on the cake is that this delightful hotel is part of The Eden Collection of hotels and currently holds the prestigious AA Small Hotels Hospitality of the Year Award – need I say more?
Bonnie (and Tim) Stevens