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September 8, 2014

Lords of The Manor, The Cotswolds

by Julianne Mooney
Lords of the Manor

Lords of the Manor

At the heart of the picturesque village of Upper Slaughter in The Cotswolds, is the luxurious Lords of the Manor Hotel. The golden building is surrounded by acres of brightly coloured flower beds and bog gardens, overlooking rolling hills dotted with grazing sheep. A more tranquil spot, I’ve not found.

Lords of the Manor Gardens

Lords of the Manor Gardens

The former rectory has been delicately preserved and as you step into the drawing rooms, sink into a couch and look out over the gardens, it feels like time has stood still. There are only hints of the modern world in some of the furnishings, but ultimately, the hotel oozes old-world charm.

Staff appear like magic before I’ve even stepped out of the car. I’m told to leave the keys and they’ll take care of the parking. My bags are whisked away and after a warm welcome at reception I’m led upstairs to my room. I love hotels that have done away with the arduous task of check-in. Form filling and swiping of cards. Here, a page is left in your room to fill in at your own leisure and discreetly moved when you’re at dinner.

My room is bright, and elegant furniture beckons me to spend the afternoon lounging on a chair or resting my head on the fluffed up pillows. The centrepiece, in the spacious bathroom, is a curved bathtub fit for a Queen. I can’t help but squeal with excitement. I’m not even in the room ten-minutes and I find myself immersed in hot, bubbly water listening to the chatter of the birds and bleating of sheep.

Elegant drawing rooms, luxurious rooms and lush gardens are not all the hotel is renowned for. The restaurant has had a Michelin star for seven years and it is well deserved. Dinner is an elegant affair, with guests enjoying a glass of champagne (yes, real champagne, not prosecco) and apéritifs in the drawing room. Our friendly waiter leads us into the restaurant to our table. I’ve no idea where all the guests have been hiding, but they’ve all managed to make an appearance for dinner and the room is buzzing with chat.

Aperitifs

Aperitifs

I decide to go with something different to start – Cornish Crab, Potato, Cucumber and Caviar. I don’t like crab, but I feel adventurous. It’s the second time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by crab. The mixture of flavours – sea, salt and sweet – is sublime. Perhaps if I was feeling daring I would have tried the pigeon for my main, but I decide to play it safe and opt for beef – fillet and ox-tail. Both are tender and tasty and the dollops of mushroom puree, wafer-thin onion rings and shallots are divine.

It is a rare occasion that I can’t fit in dessert, but I have been defeated by rich aperitifs, starters and main. All I am fit for is my bed and I fall into a deep, happy sleep.

Fillet of Beef

Fillet of Beef

There’s something magical about waking to the sound of birds and sheep. I drift in and out of sleep for an hour before dragging myself from the bed. Opening the curtains, I’m welcomed by blue skies and the sun bounces off the lake below. I don’t want to pack and leave. I wonder if they would let me move in indefinitely.

Smiling staff are ready to take care of all your needs at breakfast. The smell of coffee perks me up as does a hot English breakfast. I thought I would never eat again, I was wrong.

I won’t pretend that such luxury comes at a low price, but Lords of the Manor is a luxurious retreat from the world. You’re made to feel special and welcome and want for nothing. If all you do is sit in your room and read, you will have had a holiday to remember. The hotel is a destination in itself, the fact that it’s located in a pretty village and is surrounded by some of England’s most beautiful countryside is just a bonus.

Note: My stay at Lords of The Manor was hosted by the hotel.

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