Hotel Highlights

  • Spectacular Cotswolds setting
  • Award-winning contemporary design
  • Fabulous spa and indoor/outdoor pool

Overview

Once you have taken in the astonishing grandeur of this Italianate stone house near Cheltenham, you may think yourself convinced that whatever is within cannot match it. To call the look 'designer' doesn’t do justice to Cowley Manor’s funky, flamboyant aesthetic; the effect of cowhide window seats and comical papier-mâché ‘hunting trophies’ is certainly a world away from the usual country-house hotels.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Cowley Manor with us:

A complimentary spa product

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Cowley Manor

Advance purchase: bed and breakfast 'Stay and Spa' 'Weekend spa and stay'

Facilities

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Cowley Manor hotel - Gloucestershire - United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

30.

Check–out

Midday. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $273.12 (£163), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full English breakfast.

At the hotel

55 acres of land, billiards room, spa (the C-Side) with four treatment rooms, gym, sauna.

Our favourite rooms

The stable-block rooms, especially the split-level ones. Half of the Exceptional rooms have own balcony, and the Best room (actual name) has a private terrace, double bath and four-poster bed.

Poolside

C-Side spa has two pools: a 17m, slate-lined indoor pool and an elegant outdoor pool with a bar, waiter service and rows of sleek sun loungers. Both are heated year round.

Packing tips

Running kit, if you fancy scenic cross-country.

Also

CD and DVD library. Wellington boots are provided. Pets welcome in one of the two dog-friendly rooms; £25 charge per pet, a night. Two-night minimum stay at weekends.

Children

Babysitting is available by arrangement. A children’s supper is served between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

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Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Cowley Manor hotel - Gloucestershire - United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The grand, oak-panelled dining room is formal but candlelit and welcoming. The hotel has a new chef, Matthew Cuthbert, fresh from perfecting his art alongside the likes of Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal. Expect punchy, flavoursome food that focuses on the very best of seasonal, local ingredients.

Last orders

Food: 11pm at weekends and 10pm during the week. Breakfast is available from 7.30am until 11am.

Room service

24 hours.

Smith Insider

Dress code

More uptown than dressed down.

Top table

By the window, especially in summer.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Cheltenham: Le Champignon Sauvage on Suffolk Road in Cheltenham (+44 (0)1242 573449) serves excellent English and French cuisine; the Daffodil on Suffolk Parade (+44 (0)1242 700055) serves Mod Med in art deco surrounds. 

Local bars

Montpellier Wine Bar at Bayshill Lodge in regency Cheltenham has a lively atmosphere. The Hare and Hounds in Fosse Cross (+44 (0)1285 720288) for delicious gastro food. The Fossebridge Inn near Northleach (+44 (0)1285 720721) is ideal for Sunday lunch: book ahead. The 17th-century Lamb Inn at Great Rissington (+44 (0)1451 820388) has a great garden. The Bell at Sapperton near Cirencester (+44 (0)1285 760298) is good for lunch and has a great variety of ales. The Green Dragon  (+44 (0)1242 870 271) in Cowley has a classic country pub vibe, with crackling fires, low-slung beams and flagstone floors.

+ Enlarge
Acres of spectacular Cotswolds

Cowley Manor

Cowley, near Cheltenham, Cotswolds, GL53 9NL, United Kingdom

Planes

London Heathrow is the closest major airport – it's around an hour and 40 minutes from the hotel, following the M4 west to Swindon, Cirencester and eventually Cheltenham.

Trains

The nearest train station is in Kemble, around 25 minutes from the hotel. Direct trains go from here to London Paddington in an hour and 20 minutes.

Automobiles

The nearest big town is Cheltenham – the drive from here should take around 10 minutes, following the A40 towards Oxford before turning right onto the A435 to Cirencester. Driving time from Oxford is just under an hour, using the A436 towards Gloucester before picking up the A435 to Cirencester.

Reviews

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Cowley Manor hotel - Gloucestershire - United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Anna Jones , Meandering Magazine Maven at Hearst

As Smith Junior and babysitter disappear from view in the rear-view mirror, this Mrs Smith surreptitiously wipes away a tear and asserts that Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds is ‘going to have to be very special indeed’ to make up for being separated from the little darling for 48 hours. This is the last chance to get away before Smi...

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Cowley Manor

Anonymous review by Anna Jones, Meandering Magazine Maven

As Smith Junior and babysitter disappear from view in the rear-view mirror, this Mrs Smith surreptitiously wipes away a tear and asserts that Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds is ‘going to have to be very special indeed’ to make up for being separated from the little darling for 48 hours. This is the last chance to get away before Smith Junior Number 2 arrives, and the first break from the rat race for what feels like an eternity.

We’re definitely in need of some ‘Cowley magic’. The subtle, minimalist signage that indicates your arrival at Cowley gives no real hint of what awaits. Then a rolling lawn… a towering stand of oaks… a glimpse of lake. And a picture begins to emerge of the pleasures to come. There’s a palpable sense of jangled City nerves starting to melt away. This is reinforced by a genuinely friendly welcome at reception that, combined with the contemporary furniture and background music, make it feel like you’ve arrived at a country house owned by the coolest people you know.

Things are starting to look good. Then Cowley ups the ante and we go from merely ‘good’ to ‘exceptional’. To explain: the hotel’s bedroom categories are referred to as ‘Good’, ‘Better’, ‘Great’ or ‘Exceptional’ – and we’re exceptionally happy to find that we’ve been handed the keys to the latter.

Floor-to-ceiling windows give views out over the sun terrace, yet another lake and glorious grounds beyond. A modern four-poster bed the size of the Smith family lounge, a private balcony large enough for a game of five-a-side football and a bathroom bigger and better-equipped than many a grand spa.

It’s when we clap eyes on the hotel’s C-Side Spa that things really start to look up. Despite the nautical-but-nice pun in its name, it’s all clean lines, slate-tiled pools and soothing treatment rooms. Not a kiss-me-quick sign in sight. (Though when I discover that specialist pregnancy massages are one of the treatments on offer, this Mrs Smith almost plants a smacker on her masseuse.)

Green & Spring is the hotel’s own brand of products (available also from the onsite Village Shop as well as other, less villagey boutiques, like Selfridges), the cares of modern life are rubbed, soothed and kneaded away over the course of a restful and rejuvenating hour, soundtracked by a playlist of your choice; Phillip Glass was perhaps, in hindsight, a little too angular a choice for what was otherwise such a deeply smooth experience.

Smoothness of another kind was provided in freshly squeezed fruit juice, and, taken in conjunction with a rare opportunity to catch up on all of the papers, made for a state of utter relaxation. You know you’ve hit the relaxation reset button when the major decisions of the day became choices between indoor or outdoor pool; room service or restaurant. A happy dilemma.

After a punishing schedule of massages and the giddy excitement of not having to look after Mini Smith for a day, room service it was. According to a quick straw poll among friends who know about these things, the – totally unscientific – litmus test of any hotel room service is based on the relationship between two vital factors: that is, the quality of the House Club Sandwich multiplied by the ice-creaminess of the vanilla milkshake. And the results showed Cowley Manor excelling on both scores.

Waking the next morning to bright, autumnal sunshine, we were fortified by the extensive breakfast on offer in the very impressive, but relaxed, dining room, and ready to face the delightful challenge of exploring the hotel grounds.

Surprisingly extensive, they gardens and woodland stretches to nearly 60 acres and include lakes, swans, hidden walkways with amusing signage (‘A path of exceptional virtue’), and any number of quiet resting places with benches or loungers to take in the views. Added to this, scattered about, are a number of pieces of modern art – not so many that they overwhelm, but enough to keep reminding you that, just as you think you’ve got a handle on Cowley, it’ll surprise you with a nice little twist on what a modern, country-house hotel should be.

After this, a game of pool on the unusual blue-baized table, followed by drinks in the buzzing bar (clearly popular with locals looking to take advantage of a great wine list and knowledgeable mixologists) was the perfect warm-up for dinner.

Served in the wood-pannelled surrounds of the dining room, the ambiance was a little more grown-up than at breakfast, but still warm and welcoming. The food was a comforting blend of staple classics and slightly more unusual options, and all of it was delivered and discussed with the unfailing courtesy we encountered from every member of staff during our stay.

As we settled down for a last night on the extraordinarily comfortable bed, we wondered when we could next come back, and if we could wangle another night away from Smith Jr.

Cowley Manor had clearly worked its magic.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Cowley Manor's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on 6 Apr 2014

We loved

The staff was so helpful. We were welcomed in the car park with an umbrella as reception had noticed us arrive in the rain. Our room was ungraded for my birthday which was such a treat, and the showers are to die for. The spa is great with an outdoor pool that only my husband was brave enough to try – I stayed very much in the indoor pool! Dinner in the restaurant was divine and the service very attentive but friendly. I can't wait to stay again. The only thing that could've been better was the Cotswolds weather!

 

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 27 Mar 2014

We loved

I loved the secluded location and excellent service. Staff were very friendly and polite. The food was good, too. My facial was excellent.

Don’t expect

I found my room to be a bit tired and some of the furniture a bit worn around the edges. The upstairs toilet was tiny – it's lucky I'm slim! I also like to have a bar of soap in the bathroom rather than liquid handwash. Overall, it's still a lovely hotel though once you look past these niggles.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 26 Mar 2014

We loved

I liked the attention to detail and the champagne in the room for birthday treat.

Don’t expect

The heating was a little high.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 15 Mar 2014

We loved

I loved the interiors, the stunning house and grounds, the swimming pool and the laid-back vibe.

Don’t expect

The lighting in the rooms could be better: I couldn't see a thing to put my make up on (no laughing matter!)

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 22 Nov 2013

We loved

I took my wife and three-month-old daughter to Cowley Manor for a long weekend for my wife's 30th birthday in November. We had a wonderful weekend and having stayed at a number of Mr & Mrs Smith hotels we were thoroughly impressed with the hotel and its service. The C-Side spa is a feature of the hotel and being able to swim outside at night under the stars in November in a heated pool was a treat. We booked a Great Room and happily for us received an upgrade to an Exceptional Room – it was something special with a mezzadnine bathroom and a separate lounge area overlooking a courtyard. Given the small size of the hotel, the service was excellent throughout. It was also surprisingly child friendly. We decided to enjoy the formal dinner both nights and booked a local babysitter recommended by the hotel (Rosemary). The babysitter was very professional and put my wife at ease leaving our daughter for the first time. The food is excellent, as you would expect. All in all, a great indulgent weekend away.

Don’t expect

WiFi is quite patchy.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 10 Nov 2013

We loved

The staff were very attentive and were happy to be of service – it was the perfect stay for my wife's birthday.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 8 Nov 2013

We loved

This was a very chilled out hotel. The staff was friendly. I enjoyed champagne in the spa!

Don’t expect

We had gone to escape our kids but there were lots of kids there!

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 28 Oct 2013

We loved

The staff was wonderful; really friendly and attentive. The countryside is also really special, although honestly, it was tough to leave the room with that bathroom…

Don’t expect

More seating for afternoon tea would be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 14 Sep 2012

We loved

Environment, service, pool and spa area.

Don’t expect

It was a bit dead later on as the bar didn't stay open late.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 5 Sep 2012

We loved

Cowley Manor is a cool, country hotel, definitely kitted out to appeal to the new generation of boutique hotel lovers. Has quirky decor and a funky young vibe whilst remaining peaceful and calm simultaneously. The C-Side Spa is gorgeously designed and the outdoor and indoor pools are fabulous whatever the weather. The therapist was excellent; very friendly and professional and the green and spring products are gorgeous and smell divine. Our one night stay was excellent value for money as it included breakfast for two and a three-course dinner for two. The tempura scallops and duck breast with chive mash was delicious. Cowley Manor is thoroughly fabulous.

Don’t expect

My only criticism was the lunch time service was extremely slow. Our room, which was a good room, looked a little tired around the edges but this would not prevent me from staying again in the very near future.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 28 Aug 2012

We loved

The relaxed atmosphere makes a very smart hotel warm and welcoming. The size and standard of the rooms is excellent, especially the bathrooms, and there are lots of lovely extra touches such as the gorgeous Green and Spring products in the bathroom and the cup of lollipops. Special mention goes to the heated outdoor swimming pool – usable even in the rain, and the wonderful Green and Spring spa treatments. We come back to this hotel again and again because it's so consistently good, and we leave with a real sense of well-being.

Don’t expect

There were a lot of children there this time, which can be annoying when they are all over the lounge and bar. I wonder whether there could be children-free spaces of no children – in the bar – after a certain time. Even a nice family room for them all to play in.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 19 Aug 2012 Two children: three and a half years old and 18 months.

We loved

What a great hotel for families. We could use the indoor and outdoor pool nearly all day every day. Our children loved the outdoor pool and we didn't feel like we had to be very quiet with them – I mean obviously keep them under control as there are adults sunbathing round the pool and just relaxing – but you didn't feel awkward with them. It was great laying out the back in the sunshine and we all ate dinner together at 5.30pm – even that was fun, and you didn't really mind how much mess the children made as we were sat outside.

Don’t expect

Cocktails were rather weak: we had a Hazelnut Alexander which seemed to be missing the lusciousness of a normal Alexander, but in fact should have been better. This is the third time we have stayed here and the third time a member of staff has just walked into our room without knocking; this time the staff member was trying to give our room to another guest. We had only been checked in about an hour so understand perhaps the system not updated or such like, but would have expected an apology. Saying all that, though looking to stay here for Christmas.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 21 Jul 2012


Once you arrive there is absolutely no need to leave Cowley's grounds. The Green Spring Facial, fishfinger sandwich and the after dinner Cowley Shake cocktail are particular highlights, not to be taken all together!

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 15 Jun 2012


Exceptional stay. Scrumptious spa and attentive staff. Really couldn't have asked for more.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 24 May 2012


This place is a dreamy, chill-out paradise that really comes into its own on hot summer days. Book a massage with Saba in the spa, under whose healing hands all your tensions and stresses will just melt away. I recommend choosing chamomile and lavender from the complimentary, post-treatment herbal tea menu. You can also buy this divine infusion to take home from the Village Shop, but beware – the shop keeps strange and brief hours, and I have yet failed to catch it open – I've been left to swoon over the very covetable goodies from the window. For dinner, make sure you get a table on the terrace to make the most of the stunning grounds and lake; the dining room is a bit dark inside, and uninspiring by comparison. Likewise, when you book your room, do specify that you want a room facing the lake; because the ones at the back sadly overlook the car park and are somewhat plagued with noise.

Rating: 8/10 stars