Rural, picturesque and steeped in history, the Cotswolds is one of the most popular destinations in the UK and for good reason. It spans both Gloucester and Oxfordshire – as well as parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire – and can be easily identified by the cappuccino-coloured limestone that pervades throughout the towns and villages. With more beautiful hotels and top-notch restaurants than you can possibly fit into one trip, it’s the picture-perfect location that’ll stay in your head and heart forever. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels in the Cotswolds.
An old stone cottage covered in creeping ivy, it’s one of the best boutique hotels for miles around and provides the perfect luxury country getaway. There are 18 individually designed bedrooms in the main house, each decked out in plush antique furniture, and in the courtyard you’ll find four garden cottage suites for larger parties. Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee from your in-suite Nespresso machine before filling your roll-top bath with Molton Brown bubbles or heading out to the garden to make the most of the hot tub. The bar, with its cosy open fire and squashy armchairs, is just the place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or two. With a great atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s one of the hottest spots in the Cotswolds.
No 131 is simply one of the most beautiful hotels in Cheltenham. Sitting on the edge of town, this stunning Georgian pile is decorated with envious elegance and style. In the rooms you’ll find rustic repurposed lamps, piles of feather pillows and subway-tiled Victorian-style bathrooms. Carefully selected art books are stacked on the in-room coffee tables and the downstairs dining room, while the bar gets the balance right between easygoing and achingly cool. If you’re into partying, book in for a Saturday night to enjoy the resident DJs and temporary transformation of the drawing room into a dance floor.
With 18 luxury bedrooms, a spa and private cinema, Barnsely House ticks all the boxes for a romantic, relaxing break away. Just a short drive from Bibury, it’s well placed for exploring the Cotswolds on foot or by car, though leaving behind the outdoor hydrotherapy pool and spa is highly unlikely. Everything about this place is serene – from the atmosphere to the decor, which tastefully mixes modern decorative touches with the Grade II-listed manor’s original features. Romantic breakers will love the Deluxe Garden rooms, which come with two bathtubs and glorious views of the manicured gardens. The in-house restaurant, The Potager, serves up simple and rustic dishes in keeping with the hotel’s ethos and much of the produce comes straight from the allotment, so is beautifully tasty and fresh.
Set within eight glorious acres of manicured lawns, Lords of the Manor Hotel is easily one of the finest places to stay in the Cotswolds. Nothing short of cavernous, the bedrooms are big enough for you and your pooch (it’s a dog-friendly hotel) and are light and lavishly decorated with bathrooms that feature bathtubs big enough to swim in. The afternoon tea has won rave reviews, thanks to the Michelin-starred chef at the helm, so make sure to book yourself in. Take a stroll around the grounds in the summer, or hunker down in the lounge next to the fire in the colder months.
Surrounded by the 400-acre Farncombe Estate, this 17th-century luxury farmhouse is a dreamy home-away-from-home. From the cosy living room with log fires to the sumptuous bedrooms, everything about Dormy House is lavish and luxurious. The decor beautifully reflects the heritage of its French designers, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, so you’ll find plenty of reclaimed French furniture, light blues and whites as well as more modern touches such as classing patterns and fabrics. If you’re heading on a day out, order one of the hotel’s luxury lunch hampers to go, which comes complete with a ploughman’s lunch, fresh strawberries and a freshly baked cake.
The Lygon Arms in Broadway has an impressive roster of former guests, with everyone from Charles I to Prince Philip having graced its halls in the last 600 years. The hotel has retained many of the original features from the flagtsone entrance and kitchen, now check-in, and the wood panelled lounge, which is deliciously cosy. The cosiness continues upstairs, where you’ll find tartan beds, lounge chairs and the hotel’s historic paraphernalia littering the walls. It’s not all olde worlde, though – Nespresso machines and power showers feature throughout and there’s an extensive spa in the newer part of the hotel.
The best way to describe the decor at this country house hotel is stately and flamboyant – you’re just as likely to see a hot pink Art Deco chair as you are a gilt-framed oil painting. The bedrooms retain some of this flair, though with slightly more muted tones and fabrics. Elegantly upholstered beds and chairs sit beside French-style writing desks and the bathrooms are a thoroughly modern affair. A stay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the bar, which features a delightfully trendy mixture of brass and millennial pink and a killer martini menu.
A mile and a half out of Broadway, this boutique offering has all the charm of an English country house but with the sleek finish of a modern luxury hotel. Each of the rooms mixes old with new – think window seats, original fireplaces and wooden beams married with designer lamps and oversized armchairs. When the weather’s fine, step outside for a stroll around the expansive garden with Oscar, the resident dog, who’s available for walks at the drop of a biscuit. There’s also a tennis court and croquet lawn for active types, as well as a seasonal menu from Will Guthrie back at the manor.
Another country bolthole sitting on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel has won rave reviews for its elegance, style and uniqueness. The hotel offers Segway tours and the option to stay in one of three tree houses with outdoor bathtubs and private rope bridge access. You’ll find regal armchairs draped in sheepskin throws, reclaimed wood writing tables and Victorian-style bathrooms. Huddle around the indoor fire pit with a drink in the winter and book a spot at the in-house cinema for a relaxed evening. With an abundance of activities to get stuck into, The Fish Hotel has a distinctly youthful feel, making it a great escape for both families and groups of friends.