Family Hotel

Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Cowley Manor

Rates from (ex tax)$206.69

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP195.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Funked-up stately home

Setting

Acres of spectacular Cotswolds

A grand old Italianate stone estate situated on 55 meticulously manicured acres near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds, Cowley Manor hotel sets itself way apart from the typical country-house stay. While stately and stone-faced outside, it’s all funky and flamboyant inside, with bright colours and mod furniture. Quirky design features include cowhide window seats and funny paper-mâché ‘hunting trophies’. It also features a stylish outdoor pool with a bar and a slate-lined indoor pool.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Free cooked breakfast daily for each guest

Facilities

Photos Cowley Manor facilities

Need to know

Rooms

30.

Check–Out

Midday. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $206.69 (£163), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP195.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a Continental breakfast (a full English for Smiths).

Also

On sunny, English afternoons, keep the waddling ducks company and have tea on the terrace overlooking the lake. If even this sounds like too much effort for a lazy holiday, seek out one of the hammocks in the grounds for a spot of well-deserved shut-eye.

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; these are especially handy if you have children, and need a bit more space. If you're travelling à deux, try to book the Best room (actual name) – it has a private terrace (with lake views, 'natch), enormous bath and four-poster bed.

Poolside

There are 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.

Spa

The gorgeous C-Side spa uses all natural, organic products – even the water is from a nearby Cowley spring. All the treatments are designed by award-winning therapist Michelle Roques-O'Neil, and are exclusive to Cowley – so you won't find their facials or massages anywhere else. We're particularly partial to a 'Cloud 9' massage, which combines aromatherapy and reflexology in a heavenly, 90-minute treatment. If you're feeling spritely, try one of the fitness classes: there's 'rebel yoga' (much more fun than the usual, hushed version), 'bootcamp' sessions and aqua aerobics.

Packing tips

Bring your running kit, if you fancy scenic cross-country jogs. In June and July, a Panama hat and a few linen shirts wouldn't go amiss; year round, pack your waterproofs: the English weather is notoriously unpredictable.

Also

CD and DVD library. Wellington boots are provided. Two-night minimum stay at weekends. Some rooms are suitable for guests with mobility issues; please ask the Smith24 Team when booking.

Pet‐friendly

The hotel is very accommodating of furry Smiths: you and your pooch can stay in one of the two pet-friendly rooms for an extra £25 a night, and man's best friend will even get dog treats, a bowl and a bed free of charge. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.

Children

Smiths of all ages are welcome at Cowley. They're also very accommodating of mums-to-be, and will give you a special pregnancy pillow and a little gift on arrival.

Overview

Cowley is the perfect spot for little Smiths: there's plenty for them to do here, and the staff are extra-welcoming of young ones.

Best for

Babies, tots and teens.

Recommended rooms

Cots can be added to rooms free; there's a £40 supplement for a rollaway bed (per child, per night, including breakfast and a two-course dinner from the children's menu each night). We particularly love the split level rooms with bunk beds.

Activities

There are 55 acres of grounds to explore. In July, Cheltenham’s Music and Fringe Festival features music concerts, street entertainment, comedy and fireworks; and there's the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford (01285 713300; www.airtattoo.com).

Swimming pool

There are indoor and outdoor pools, and children's swimming times keep all the guests happy. Kids are welcome for splash-abouts at both pools from 8am–11am and 3.30pm–5pm.

Meals

Kids can dine any time in the bar, lounge or restaurant, and there's a special menu to cater to younger tastes (from £7.50).

Babysitting

Babysitting is available by arrangement; the hotel can recommend some contacts.

Also

There's a DVD library to choose films from. Ask for hot-water bottles to warm beds with.

Food and Drink

Photos Cowley Manor food and drink

Top Table

By the window, especially in summer.

Dress Code

More uptown than dressed down: think smart jeans, heels and tailored shirts.

Hotel restaurant

The grand, oak-panelled dining room is formal but candlelit and welcoming. The chef, James Graham, whips up punchy, flavoursome food that focuses on the very best of seasonal, local ingredients. We're fond of the breakfast, particularly the huevos rancheros: as good as any you'd find in Mexico. 

Last orders

Food: 9.30pm at weekends and 9pm during the week. Breakfast is available from 7.30am until 10.30am; 11am at weekends. Afternoon tea is served Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm–4.30pm.

Room service

Soups, salads and sandwiches are available 24 hours.

Location

Photos Cowley Manor location
Address
Cowley Manor
Cowley, near Cheltenham,
Cotswolds
GL53 9NL
Cotswolds
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.

Worth getting out of bed for

Book a spot of hot-air ballooning – you can even hover over Cowley's grounds, if you're so inclined. Those itching to test out their credit limit should hit the boutique shops in Cheltenham’s Montpellier, while those after a flutter should know that Cheltenham races are a 40-minute drive away. Sportif Smiths might want to try clay-pigeon shooting at Ian Coley Shooting School, or horse riding at Ullenwood Stables. Of course, in the Cotswolds, there's nothing to match wandering o'er hill and dale, so pull your wellies on and strike out across the fields. 

Local restaurants

We're big fans of Le Champignon Sauvage on Suffolk Road in Cheltenham, which has fully earned its two Michelin stars with a menu of world-class English and French cuisine. For something more relaxed, The Daffodil on Suffolk Parade serves modern, Mediterranean-esque dishes in Art Deco-inspired surroundings. 

Local bars

Head to Montpellier Wine Bar at Bayshill Lodge in regency Cheltenham for a lively atmosphere and great cocktails, or The Hare and Hounds in Fosse Cross for delicious, gastropub food. The Fossebridge Inn near Northleach is ideal for Sunday lunch, but make sure you book ahead, as it's nearly always packed. The Bell at Sapperton near Cirencester is good for lunch and has a great variety of ales. The Green Dragon in Cowley has a classic country pub vibe, with crackling fires, low-slung beams and flagstone floors.

Reviews

Photos Cowley Manor reviews

Anonymous review

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.

We loved

The hammocks and the breakfast view!!! :) The hotel was wonderful, Sarah at the front reception was very helpful and lovely :)

Rating

Stayed on 6 May 2017

We loved

The fact that we were looked after from the moment we checked in. Ben, on reception, went the extra mile and really made us feel welcome. He even upgraded our room because there was a very minor issue with our original room. The Spa was also FANTASTIC! We were swimming outside at 8pm in a perfect temperature pool with the birds singing and the stars above us......WOW! Our room had a fantastic view over the lake and the bed was soooooooo comfortable. Country walks around the hotel were lovely and picturesque. The Green Dragon Inn local pub looked good although we didn't actually eat there....next time! We will definitely be returning again in the future!

Don’t expect

To be disappointed!

Rating

Stayed on 27 Mar 2017

We loved

The warm swimming pools in Winter, indoors and out. The excellent standard of service. The relaxed vibe of the hotel. We loved the Green Dragon Inn and Indian restaurant Koloshi which were more peaceful places to dine than in the hotel.

Don’t expect

A child-free environment, because there are lots of families with small children.

Rating

Stayed on 31 Dec 2016

We loved

The room. The food. The service.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Nov 2016

We loved

Pool and spa, the ambience, the location. Visit the Green Dragon pub nearby. Our teenage children loved it.

Don’t expect

...Not to see kids.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Oct 2016

We loved

The space and facilities were superb. Plenty to do, but relaxing if that's what you want. And the staff were very friendly and made us feel so welcome. There are lots of nice gastropubs within 30-45 mins, including The Lion at Winchcombe. Bourton-on-the-Water is also a classic Cotswolds village to visit.

Don’t expect

...a city vibe...it's quiet country retreat.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Oct 2016

We loved

The gorgeous grounds, really excellent food and sumptuous bathroom.

Don’t expect

Stuffiness... The staff were friendly and the atmosphere relaxed.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Oct 2016

We loved

The spa and two magnificent pools! The food also was amazing. Burford was an amazing town, less busy than Stow-on-the-Wold

Don’t expect

Kid free, as there were several families there

Rating

Stayed on 5 Aug 2016

We loved

Spa, decor, grounds, dinner

Don’t expect

Nightclubs!

Rating

Stayed on 21 Apr 2016

We loved

The hotel, staff, pool, food, drinks grounds - EVERYTHING, we love this hotel! 10/10

Don’t expect

Not to love it here!

Rating

Stayed on 20 Mar 2016

We loved

The main areas at Cowley Manor are pleasant! Great friendly atmosphere towards kids, surroundings are stunning, and C Spa is very nice!

Don’t expect

Very fancy rooms.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Jan 2016

We loved

The attention to detail for Christmas guests was exceptional! I am a gluten free girl and my Christmas stocking had a gluten free cookbook in it, plus gluten free chocolates and biscuits so I did not feel left out. Even our dog got a stocking. 10/10

Don’t expect

Sometimes communication between the spa and the hotel itself is not perfect so always good to check your appointments etc and not to presume anything.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Dec 2015

We loved

Absolutely everything - the decor, the service, the staff, the atmosphere, the food, the spa.

Don’t expect

Urban excitement on the doorstep.

Rating

Stayed on 6 Nov 2015

We loved

The spa and indoor pool, the grounds and large living areas. Attentive service. Food very nice - lovely breakfast. Dinner quite expensive. Choose rooms on one floor or maybe two. Visit montpelier area of Cheltenham: great cycle rides around the area.

Don’t expect

Personally, I wisappointed with the 3 storey townhouse in the stable block. Felt odd to me and I thought the living area was pokey. 

Rating

Stayed on 23 Oct 2015

We loved

Beautiful grounds, a fantastic spa, we had a very nice room (better room) in stable block. Very peaceful and relaxing with great contemporary interiors.

Don’t expect

Traditional country manor.

Rating

Stayed on 19 Oct 2015

We loved

The grounds, the friendly staff, the location, the quality of the room accommodation. Overall a pleasant stay with very good cuisine - apart from the 3 balls of ice cream in a bowl with half a strawberry - very bizarre when compared with everything else!!

Don’t expect

Comfortable lounging in the hotel. The ultra modern styling inside the hotel and the insistent music in the bar makes a quiet rest difficult

Rating

Stayed on 16 Oct 2015

We loved

The Spa indoor pool (outdoor one was closed on our visit). Nearby, check out the cocktail bar in Cheltenham Spa.

Don’t expect

Open fires in the stunning fireplaces. I didn't find the service in the restaurant good, and the reception staff didn't semm very informed.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Oct 2015

We loved

The Spa, the extensive grounds, the food and spacious bedrooms.

Don’t expect

Disappointed they didn't light real fires in the hallway and bar area, this would totally transform these areas. Bringing warmth, that gorgeous smell and character to the rooms.

Rating

Stayed on 25 Sep 2015

We loved

Everything!

Rating

Stayed on 13 Sep 2015

We loved

The Spa, walking in the park, the views. Cowley Manor is a good retreat if you want to catch your breath for a couple of days without frills.

Don’t expect

Top notch quality. To me the place feels to be stuck in the Lounge era of 15 years ago. 

Rating

Stayed on 17 Jul 2015

You’ll also find Cowley Manor in: