Spa, gym, tennis courts, two lounges, DVD/CD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Hypnos beds with Frette linen, flatscreen TV, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.
The 10 rooms in the converted old barn have been specially designed for families, so if you’re after a more romantic rendezvous, book one of the rooms in the main house. Large Standard and Deluxe Rooms have king-size beds and Deluxes also have walk-in showers in their ensuites. Of the family suites, Woodchester is our favourite, with its little private garden and double-bathed first floor bathroom, but we also like the cottage, Malmesbury, which has a lovely bathroom with nautical-style teak flooring.
The hotel has both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as an outdoor hot tub that just begs for champagne-supping soaks under the stars.
Bring the kids: Calcot Manor’s children’s facilities truly are a cut above, and staff have been trained to cater to youngsters of all ages.
Weekends require a minimum stay of two nights. Dogs are welcome by prior arrangement (so the hotel can arrange one of its rooms that opens onto the outside). Please note that Standard, Large Standard and Deluxe rooms do not have space for kids.
Calcot’s a strong contender to be the most child-friendly hotel in the UK: family-designed bedrooms, a crèche (up to four hours at a time), an over-eights' entertainment area, a kids’ tea every day and a special swimming pool for little ones.
Tots, toddlers, tykes and teenagers
13 spacious rooms and suites have been specially kitted out for families. The Large and Deluxe Family Suites are sit on two floors, and have separate kids’ bedrooms, dotted with teddies and toys.
The Playzone is a fully staffed, Ofsted-accredited day nursery where you can leave little ones unattended for a couple of hours at a time (9am–12.30pm and 1.30–5.30pm, seven days a week). There’s a wealth of fun and creative activities available, including art, games and dressing-up, as well as a good selection toys. Booking recommended.
The Mez children’s area for over-eights is stuffed to the rafters with games, including table football, Wii, Xbox, PlayStation and a home cinema. For more outdoorsy diversions, there’s 220 acres of grounds featuring cycling trails (bikes with child seats are available free), walking paths, tennis courts and during the summer months, a maize maze.
Older children will love the in- and outdoor pools and the outdoor hot tub; younger swimmers have a dedicated pool beside the main one. Children may use the spa pool between 3.45pm and 5.15pm during the week and 8.45am and 10.15am at weekends.
There’s an excellent children’s tea served in the Gumstool every day at 5.30pm. Under-eights are discouraged from the main Conservatory restaurant but the Gumstool children’s menu is one of the best we’ve seen – entirely home-made and organic. For the miniest of Smiths, organic baby purées are also available. High chairs are available, baby food or milk can be heated at any time, and staff will readily prepare a packed lunch.
Either crèche staff or members of the hotel’s known nanny network can be booked for babysitting, for £8.50 an hour (paid directly to the sitter).
No need to pack
Even if you forget everything but the children, the hotel will either provide or obtain all the essentials. Family rooms come with special baby boxes containing bottle warmers, sterilisers, changing mats, nappy bags and bottle brushes.
Rooms have fridges, and travel cots can be booked in advance. Children staying in parents' rooms are charged at £40 a night, including breakfast, high tea and unrestricted use of the Playzone facilities.