Honey-Hued Cotswold Retreat: Calcot & Spa, Tetbury – Hotel Review
Rosalyn Wikeley checks in to this family-friendly haven
This honey-hued Cotswold retreat has all the familiar trappings of a polished country house, just without any of the stuffiness and ‘children should be seen and not heard’ attitude. Rosalyn Wikeley checks into Tetbury’s Calcot & Spa.
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Hotel Review: Calcot & Spa, Tetbury
Just outside antiques-centred Tetbury, surrounded by acres of rolling pastures and woodland carved out with converse-friendly ‘Tim Trail’ walking routes, Calcot & Spa – a manor house hotel and spa – is the spruce country retreat every city rat longs for.
A winter refuge of crackling fires and a steaming spa, then gardens and lavender-lined terraces doused in golden light come summer, this Gloucester escape has year-round appeal. A wisteria-smothered former farm house is joined by a cluster of tastefully converted barns and cottages. Many flaunt roll top baths, some enjoy rental-style privacy and space, just with slick hotel service and facilities, and all don impossibly comfortable beds dressed in those meringue-crispy sheets. The look is fresh, with layered creams, classic country house sitting rooms for backgammon, and cosy nooks to curl up in with a book. While the various buildings cleverly nod to their rural roots, not one inch of Calcot feels crusty or overly formal.
A recent refurbishment brings the room count to 35, all of which range from cosy doubles to family suites resembling a private cottage. Some bathrooms are show-stoppers, with double tubs, built-in televisions and gnarled beams; all are stocked with Aromatherapy Associates and thick fluffy towels worth hauling yourself out of a steamy, oily stupor for. It’s worth noting that the rooms in the main house can’t be booked by those staying with children – one of many smart moves by Calcot to ensure this family-friendly stay keeps things peaceful for those without sprogs in tow.
Calcot & Spa’s new Brasserie restaurant shows off the Cotswolds’ bounty with clipped-but casual lunches, and suppers of lamb rump with artichokes or lobster Thermidor with truffle fries.
The Hive is an all-day grazing spot whose wonky character endures, and whose bistro-pub-fare hybrid pairs beautifully with craft beers and cocktails.
The conservatory space comes into its own for breakfast, with unfiltered sunlight illuminating tables of blueberry and Chantilly-lathered pancakes, eggs Benedict and bowls of yoghurt and fruit drizzled in honey.
Relaxed afternoon teas round off games of croquet on the lawn or long bike rides – a feast of sandwiches, cakes and pastries with Champagne or tea, and those velvety hot chocolates that embody wholesome country living.
Besides the legendary Playbarn (nirvana for tots and for parents with just-us plans), Calcot’s main draw is its spa. In place of the sterile, white-on-white spaces hotels often carve out for spas, Calcot’s space feels softer and more elemental (note the timber beams and jacuzzi-centred courtyards).
Following a spicy refurbishment, facilities are now top-drawer, with a techno gym, vast outdoor and indoor pool, a sauna, and a courtyard whirlpool tub where guests can recline on loungers by the outdoor fireplace. A menu of classes such as pilates and yoga twists this spa into swanky health club territory, as does the smoothie bar and light-lunch cafe, where white-towelled guests convene after Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates massages and facials.
Bikes can be easily taken for a spin around Calcot’s 220 acres, a boules or croquet game is typically in full spin on the lawn, and indulgent breakfasts are easily worked off on either of the two tennis courts (best to book these in advance through the spa).
With a truly superb Ofsted-approved crèche and Playbarn (with 90 complimentary minutes of childcare with each booking), and with its cosy, unpretentious spaces – and, just generally, space – Calcot hits that sweet spot of a child-friendly hotel that hasn’t lowered its service and interior spec to bear such a title. The pirate ship and outdoor play area are magnets for younger children, while more grown-up kids can head to the tennis courts, the pool or the Mez (a kids’ club for the older lot with an impressive roster of outdoor and crafty activities and workshops).
Double rooms from £259 per night, or the new Cosy Family Room starts from £664 per night with breakfast, based on a family of four sharing. calcot.co
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