Fabulous hotel with stunning grounds and golf course on the river Severn with a truly original menu, dripping candle wax massage and a warm welcome.
The drive up to Tewkesbury Park Hotel in the Cotswolds is utterly fabulous, a welcoming gateway that winds half a mile up through the gorgeous greens of the golf course leading to the main building.
There is plenty of parking and electric charge points, not needed this time as we were touring the Jaguar F-Type with its powerful V8 engine.
The grounds at Tewkesbury Park are quite stunning, surrounded by the golf course perched on the edge of the River Severn. There is a wonderful 50-minute walk that takes you around the park, along the river and back up the undulating driveway.
The Deerpark is a par 72, 6554-yard course and The Acorn is their 9-hole par 3 course. Both benefit from the most magnificent golden light that flows over the Cotswolds Hills and illuminates the soft verdant hills, water features and ancient oak trees. At sunset, the vista is a play of golden highlights and shadows, tones of dark green, bright emerald and hay.
As you enter the glass doors you are greeted by multicoloured Wellington boots in a double rack, carefully laid out for guests to use when wandering about. A nice touch.
The recently refurbished open-plan lobby is full of natural light from the V-shaped glass roof with the welcome desks to the left opposite a comfortable lounge. Further on and up a few steps are the bar and another lounge area. Blue/grey pillars and light oak floors help to accentuate a welcoming, airy atmosphere.
Two receptionists swiftly booked us in, handed us our room keys and showed us to the "Lord Hastings" room, part of the Opulence Suites, with triple bay windows, Super King Hypnos bed, double-ended free-standing bath and 24-hour room service. All with a wonderful view of the park and golf course fringed by the Cotswolds Hills in the distance.
Emily and I spent an enchanting afternoon wandering the park and were treated to a guided tour of the hotel by Sarah who is utterly charming. They have 93 rooms set in 113 acres of parkland, which can only be described as heavenly. Just the sort of English countryside that inspired poets like John Clare to write ‘On a Lane in Spring’.
"A Little Lane, the brook runs close beside
And spangles in the sunshine while the fish glide swiftly by
And hedges leafing with the green spring tide
From out their greenery the old birds fly
And chirp and whistle in the morning sun
The pilewort glitters ‘neath the pale blue sky
The little robin has its nest begun"
It was a fantastic location to photograph the Jaguar F-Type, another great piece of British History.
Getting ready for dinner was a pleasure in such a large suite with the evening light shining through the bay windows. We even watched a little tv in the free-standing bath to relax, before stepping down the curved staircase to the bar lounge for a pre-dinner glass of Taittinger.
Mint, the main restaurant, is open-plan and rustic with plenty of natural light. Furnished with a mixture of wooden tables, benches and chairs, some painted bare white, others upholstered in blue or green velvet, creating a pleasant relaxed ambience. Quaint cast iron lamps hang from the ceiling highlighting the multiple cubby hole shelves and white oak wood dressers. We sat by the tall bay windows beneath the white wood beams overlooking the hills and immediately tucked into more champagne, an excellent 2014 Hattingley Blanc de Blancs with small lasting bubbles, a rich fruity flavour and a lovely aftertaste.
The menu at Mint is refreshingly different. Head chef, Anuj Thakur, and his team are inspired by their rich ancestry to create their own take on modern British cuisine using the best local suppliers. Being somewhat famished after a long day touring in the Jaguar we selected a range of starters. A paneer pakora, a crispy fritter with sweet yoghurt, coriander chutney that was light and subtly spicy and a super fresh and tender Severn & Wye smoked salmon with rye bread, avocado & coriander mayonnaise with pickled cucumber. Plus a delightful spiced goat's cheese cornetto with puffed rice filling in balsamic pearls and the Scottish King scallops in a green coconut chutney espuma with pineapple marmalade and gunpowder spice that really brought out the flavour of the scallops.
For our mains, we chose the Himalayan Goat Curry and the Sole Veronique as they sounded so amazing. The slow-braised goat cooked with Himalayan spices, onion pilaf rice and mixed pickles tickled the tongue with a rich soft texture and gentle spices. The spices complemented the dish rather than overpowering it, softening and enriching the meat perfectly. The lemon sole with confit grapes, spinach and crispy samphire was creamy and yummy. In fact the meal, even with the numerous starters was so well balanced that we were well prepared for dessert too.
The blood orange macaron with passionfruit and white chocolate ganache was zesty and sweet with exactly the right consistency. The rhubarb Eton mess meringue with crème chantilly, rhubarb compote and raspberry sorbet blended effervescence with silk. And finally, the coconut & mango parfait guava sorbet lifted and cleaned the palate, ready for a nice after-dinner whisky, a rounded Macallan 12 yr old. You can always judge a great chef by how much fun you and your partner have and the evening was peppered with lively conversation and lots of cooing over each new course.
In the morning I took breakfast in our suite gazing out at the Cotswolds hills while my partner received an enjoyable massage in the spa, with its indoor pool and outdoor hot tub. Heather, the masseuse took the time to explain all the products and treatments in detail, with no rush, in a calm and welcoming manner. She was happy to adapt the treatments to suit, tailoring between a full hot candle massage and facial.
You can choose between three scents, rose, fig and cocoa which are then poured over your skin, warming and relaxing the muscles very effectively. The facial cleansed, toned, moisturised and exfoliated and Emily's skin felt fabulous afterwards. She came back to our room glowing and visibly serene. The Tewkesbury Spa products are all from the Natural Spa Factory in Bath and they even give you the candle to take home afterwards.
Tewkesbury Park is all about relaxing in beautiful surroundings. It is deliberately informal so that you can put on your wellies and explore the park and nearby amenities then dine extremely well on a truly original menu in laid back but luxurious setting. Dress up in the evenings in your opulent suite and visit the local hotspots or simply revel in the stunning landscapes without straying from the spa to completely recover, rejuvenate and regenerate your mind and body. The service is attentive and most of all kind, they look after you as much or as little as you want. Always the mark of a good management team, the welcome is everything.
There are many things to do and see around Tewkesbury, here are a few worth considering: Tewkesbury Abbey, walking the Malvern Hills, Cheltenham Racecourse, Eastnor Castle, Prescott Speed Hill Climb, the market town of Chipping Campden, Cotswold Open Gardens and Gloucester Quays for shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
Tewkesbury Park Hotel and Spa
Jaguar F-Type R