The best place to stay in the Cotswolds for a romantic break? The Slaughters Manor House [REVIEW]

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The sheer pace of keeping up with modern life, with all of its busy busy work schedules, endless social gatherings and persistent guilt that you should be seeing someone, (if only you could remember who)… can take its toll; whether you are lucky enough to have children, or not, just yet.

For us city dwellers, the importance of remembering to take time for yourselves, even just for a night, is never really fully appreciated until you are on the M25 getting out of London for the night and you find yourself with a sudden, strange amount of breathing space. A country house hotel in the Cotswolds could be just the ticket to finding a bit of headspace, again. We found our haven in the village of Lower Slaughter, staying at the newly renovated, and seriously cool, Slaughters Manor House.


FACT PACK:

Hotel: The Slaughters Manor House, part of Andrew Brownsword Hotels
Location: Lower Slaughter, Costwolds
Address: Copsehill Rd, Lower Slaughter, Cheltenham GL54 2HP
Phone: 01451 820456
Nearest airport: London Heathrow or Gatwick. There is also a helicopter landing pad, should you want to bring the chopper…
Nearest station: There is a direct service from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh, from where you can catch a taxi to the hotel
Cost: From £195 per room, based on two sharing on a b&b basis
Packages: Visit the hotel’s website for the latest deals on food and accommodation
Pool? No, nor spa. But you can organise for spa services to come to your room to provide a selection of treatments
Wi-Fi? Yes, throughout the hotel. Bit patchy in places.
Perfect for: A peaceful country break. Also, ideal for weddings, celebrations and afternoon tea. There is accommodation in a converted coach house alongside the hotel which is ideal for families wanting to stay here.
FashCatherine credentials: The beautiful grounds, the snack menu, the Sipsmith gin bar and the billiards room – all equally brilliant.


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The grand entrance to the hotel

The drive from London to Lower Slaughter is very picturesque; all, endless fields, limestone houses and cosy-looking pubs. Just make sure to pack those hayfever tablets. The Slaughters Manor House is a 17th-century manor house, which has been completely renovated and reopened in March 2016. With a church right next door and lots of entertainment spaces inside, it would now be an ideal wedding and reception venue, as well as romantic weekend bolthole.

It is light and airy, and grand without being stuffy. If my mum paid a visit, she might describe it as ‘trendy’. She would also love the idea, as we did, of having the afternoon tea served in the library room, which is filled with high backed pink armchairs. A perfect blend of the traditional blended with the new.

Modern art fills the walls of many of the hotel rooms downstairs – pieces which have been hand selected by owners Christina and Andrew Brownsword; who must be big Sex Pistols fans judging by the amount of cool prints hanging on the walls – Keep scrolling down to see photos of the art in the billiards room

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Us in the pretty ‘back garden’ at the hotel

THE BEDROOMS

There are only 19 rooms in the hotel, so despite the grandeur it still feels ‘quaint’. Each is individually decorated and named after a flower, tree or girls’ name. We stayed in Antoinette, one of the two suites in the hotel, which has views over the front croquet lawn, and a huge four-poster bed – complete with a set of steps, (yes, steps!) to climb into it… This is the stuff of dreams.

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Out of habit, when I arrive at a hotel room, I always have a quick look at the bathroom first…

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As you can seen, our bathroom, here, was sublime, consisting of a roll-top bath, with side table (a perfect place for the book/drink), and a giant glass door cubicle power shower.

All bedrooms have WiFi access, an iPod dock, a TV and a DVD player, as well as fresh fruit and bottled water on your arrival. There is a Coach House alongside the hotel (pictured below), which offers a range of rooms. But, surely the one to go for here, when thinking ‘romance’, would have to be the ‘Valentine’ suite, which has a private hot tub AND two side-by-side roll-top baths.

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Lower Slaughter is more of a hamlet than a village. Across the road from the hotel, there is a sister property to the manor: The Slaughters Country Inn, which does a tasty range of doorstep sandwiches. A river winds through Lower Slaughter, along the road, and if you follow it, you’ll find a mill (below) with a shop and a pretty tea house. Which I would recommend, but we arrived just as they stopped serving food – but we did hear only good things about the food served here. It’s an idyllic location, with or without food.

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Lower Slaughter

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THE HOTEL – WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?

Contrary to what it suggests, Lower Slaughter itself doesn’t have a gory or sinister past. It apparently means ‘muddy water’. And, although you won’t find anything grubby in the manor house, the hotel does loan wellington boots for you to borrow, should you decide to take a wander through the surrounding rolling countryside; which you definitely should if you can tear yourself away from that roll-top bath and ‘Princess and the Pea’ style bed…

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The welcoming porch – wouldn’t this be a brilliant place to take wedding pictures?

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The lounge – complete with library books and board games, including the poshest Scrabble set ever

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The ‘Pink Room’ – a perfect place to take the afternoon tea

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The sun streams through the landing windows

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The Sipsmith gin bar – serving a full menu of all of the London-based Sipsmith distillery’s gins

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Above and below – The plush billiards room, where you can while away hours playing snooker and ordering gin cocktails

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FOOD – WHAT IS THERE TO EAT?

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The ground floor restaurant at the hotel – where dinner and breakfast is served

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First things first, breakfast – you can choose from the buffet, and a full English breakfast, or from an a la carte menu, from which I chose the porridge oats with chargrilled banana (above)… and a half a crispy bacon sandwich.

Post-refurb, Nik Chappell, the executive chef, has launched his latest menus at the The Slaughters Manor House restaurant, which is one of the most acclaimed in the Cotswolds, holding three AA rosettes. We enjoyed his seven-course taster menu, which was filled with local produce and zingy flavours, including his specialty, a mango and coconut egg. Highlights, below…

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Lobster and heritage tomato

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Cod loin and asparagus

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A scallop starter with champagne crisp

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Rabbit loin with celeriac and elderflower jus

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Tender lamb fillet with red pepper dressing

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Our selection of canapes and fresh bread

OUT AND ABOUT IN LOWER SLAUGHTER

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WHAT TO DO NEARBY

  • The hotel recommends Batsford Arboretum as well as these nearby villages, for a visit during your stay: Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, Stanway, Stanton, Snowshill, Broadway, Burford and Bibury. Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Cheltenham and the elegant city of Bath are all nearby. You are spoiled for choice in the Cotswolds.
  • The concierge at the reception desk are happy to help recommend local walks, book restaurants and theatre tickets for you – and they know where to go for the best ice creams.
  • Daylesford Organic farm shop, a couple of miles outside Stow-on-the-Wold, is well worth a visit.
  • If you are going out for the day, the chefs at the hotel can provide a hamper for you. Click here to see the choice of hampers available.

If, like we were, you are short on time, the renowned town of Bourton-on-the-Water is just a 25 minute/1.6 mile country walk away.

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Making friends in the countryside

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The Slaughters Manor House has all the trappings of a slick London boutique hotel, with all of its statement decor and cool gin connections, but with the added bonus of being in the most beautiful location. Coming here for a long weekend is a real treat and provides the backdrop for the romantic weekend you’ve been after.

Overnight stays at The Slaughters Manor House start from £195 per room, based on two sharing on a b&b basis. Dinner menus start at £65 for three courses or a seven course tasting menu is £85. Afternoon tea is served from 12.30– 5pm daily, including  Cream Teas, Afternoon Teas and a new Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, with prices from £12.

Read more travel articles on FashCatherine:

Travelling Europe?

Fancy a UK break, with a difference?…

Thailand articles and reviews on FashCatherine…

The stay reviewed in this article, in June 2016, was supported by The Slaughters Manor House.

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