From the outside, it’s a stunning Italianate manor house in classical lake and cascade-filled grounds; inside, a flawlessly hip hotel, with 21st-century good looks. And although the style is cool, the welcome is warm from the ever-helpful staff. After checking into your state-of-the-art room – in six categories with plenty for families – you can while away time playing pool in the padded leather Billiards Room, drinking in the funky bar or relaxing on the elegant stone terrace, a suntrap with fabulous views. If you’re inclined to go walking, there are wellies by the front door, or bicycles for those who want to feel the wind in their hair. Although the restaurant, Malt, is a magnificent panelled room, the atmosphere is relaxed and the menus (including for children) concentrate on honest, seasonal British food. Star of the show, however, is the modernist spa, C-Side, and its two pools. Contemporary bliss-out and stone grandeur, seamlessly blended. Cowley Manor has never looked or felt better. Doubles from £195.
Name to Know: Chef James Graham, who always forages around the grounds. Ask him what to look for while out walking.
See: The lower lakes. Drop down past the Victorian cascades and walk the full length of the grounds. The lower lakes are a particularly special, secluded spot.
Eat: At the restaurant, Malt, which is inviting and characterful, and offers ingredient driven dishes with a focus on sustainability and innovation. Afternoon tea is particularly special, expect playful and surprising seasonal twists, with the ever-changing selection of cakes, fancies and finger sandwiches.
Buy: Green & Spring products from C-Side Spa. Relaxing, indulging or revitalising, the three principle ranges have a natural bath and body product to suit your mood.
Want to find out more? Visit the hotel's website.
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