Don a fascinator and get ready for a day at the races. Cheltenham Racecourse abuts the Cotswolds countryside and bubbles with life during the Cheltenham Festival, when folk put on their finery to watch jockeys vie for the Gold Cup. If you’re heading to the track for race day, here are the best hotels nearby, all bookable on Culture Trip.
Set in a stunning white Regency villa, Malmaison Cheltenham is in the heart of the town. Inside, stylish rooms are decked with Victoriana feature walls and pops of neon-bright colour against a black-and-white palette. Sunday lunch is a lavish affair in the Chez Mal Brasserie, and the signature cocktails are best enjoyed on the terrace or in the conservatory garden room. It’s 2mi (3km) to Cheltenham Racecourse.
The magnificent estate of Ellenborough Park dates back to the 15th century and lies just outside Cheltenham, on the edge of the Cotswolds. Rooms are decadent affairs with heated marble-floored bathrooms and four-poster beds. Start your day by padding down to the pool in the courtyard for a wake-up swim. Perhaps indulge in an Indian-style treatment in the spa, or enjoy a glass of bubbly on the Taittinger Terrace. A unique dining experience awaits on the South Lawn, where you can book a self-contained carriage to dine in, with fresh, seasonal cuisine provided by the hotel’s Horsebox restaurant.
A 10-minute taxi ride from Cheltenham Racecourse, No. 38 the Park is a pretty Georgian townhouse in leafy Pittville. Sprawling king-size beds sit under corniced ceilings, and the walls are adorned with original artworks. Each room is dog-friendly, so your furry friend can accompany you.
Offering both hotel-style rooms and self-catering studios, the Cheltenham Townhouse offers a little independence. It’s just a few minutes’ walk to the town centre, yet the location, on a quiet, leafy street, is perfect for a good night’s sleep in those sumptuous beds. Enjoy a G and T on the sunny terrace, or curl up with a book from the library next to the fire in the lounge. Cheltenham Racecourse is a five-minute drive away, and there’s on-site parking, or you can make use of complimentary bike rental to get around.
There’s no missing the striking facade of this boutique hotel, a huge Regency building with arched windows and white columns. Dating back to 1838, the Queens Hotel was one of the first purpose-built hotels in Britain, and the original features have been preserved amid a luxurious makeover. Hand-painted wallpaper designed in 1838 still adorns the atrium, and Queens gin cocktails are still shaken up behind the wooden bar brought back from India in the 1850s. The afternoon tea served in the sitting room or on the sunny garden terrace attracts locals for a visit, even if they’re not staying in one of the sumptuous rooms.
The complimentary bottle of prosecco waiting for you on arrival at the George Hotel sets the luxurious tone. Boutique bedrooms are romantic boltholes with midnight-blue wood panelling and particularly stylish bathrooms. If you’re looking for somewhere pet-friendly, there are a handful of rooms that allow both dogs and cats. Breakfast is served in the Diner, where you can choose from a continental buffet or have a full English cooked to order. It’s on the edge of the Montpellier district, packed with restaurants and shops, and it’s a six-minute drive to the racecourse.
A five-minute walk from the shops and restaurants at the heart of Cheltenham, Clarence Court Hotel is set on a quiet, leafy square. Rooms for all kinds of traveller range from singles for solos with beautiful sleigh beds to sprawling king-size executive rooms with their own seating area. A continental or cooked breakfast is included, served in the Clarence Restaurant (where you can indulge in a 28-day-aged locally sourced steak in the evening). Between days at the races and dining out in town, you can take advantage of the complimentary access to a local gym during your stay.
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