Where to stay: De Vere Tortworth Court, Cotswolds
Slinking up the driveway to De Vere Tortworth Court, situated a mere 20 minutes from Bristol, the swooping, fairy-tale turrets and duck-egg blue piping racing down this stylish, Grade-II listed Victorian mansion hint at what lies within: impressive grandeur underpinned by thoughtful, homely touches. Expect a red-carpet welcome into the lobby, where you are greeted by a helpful stash of Hunter wellies and sturdy umbrellas, allowing you to roam the 30 acres of surrounding parkland as well as the arboretum, teeming with 300 different plant and tree species.
Originally designed by the Gothic Revival architect Samuel Sanders, Tortworth Court has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, seamlessly integrating the latest modern conveniences into this history-steeped property, which has served as the Earl of Ducie’s family seat since 1631. The rooms and suites, 11 of which were created during the renovation, perfectly marry the old and the new; the rustic charm of rotary phones, tartan throw pillows and wicker baskets stacked with firewood is offset by the contemporary comforts of responsive Wi-Fi, digital televisions and Clarins toiletries. The attentive staff are on hand to cater to your every whim. Upon my request, they provided me with extra bubble bath, facilitating my luxuriating soak in the free-standing tub, which, to my delight, was easily big enough to accommodate my 5’11” frame (and even comes with its very own rubber frog for little ones). This attention to detail is a common theme at Tortworth, where everything – down to the tissues carefully folded into roses – is presented with a flourish.
After rambling amid the enveloping calm of the Cotswolds countryside, tend to aching muscles at the fully equipped Peel Spa, whose signature package (including an Exotic Orange Blossom Ritual and decadent Chocolate Delight body polish) was designed in collaboration with the Parisian beauty brand Décleor, and is expertly delivered by Tortworth’s therapists in the six new treatment-rooms. Having reached a state of blissful relaxation, dine at one of the hotel’s four restaurants, which all serve locally sourced British fare. The Atrium Bistro Bar is particularly impressive at night, since its 60-foot-high glass roof gazes out onto the star-spangled sky above.
Offering a much-needed deceleration of pace from the thrumming haste of city life, Tortworth Court is a rural sanctuary where comfort and elegance reign.
De Vere Tortworth Court (01454 263000; www.devere.com), from £149 a room a night; £249 for a suite, based on two people sharing.
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