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Hotel Highlights

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

Overview

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

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

A complimentary spa product

Latest deals

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Cowley Manor

Spa and dining package

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 $237.61 (£163), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full English breakfast.

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.

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.

Children

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

Read more

Food and 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

View Gallery
Cowley Manor hotel - Gloucestershire - United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Hot-air ballooning at Balloon Flights, Cheltenham (+44 (0)1242 675003; www.hot-air-ballooning.ltd.uk). Boutique shopping in Cheltenham’s Montpellier. Cheltenham races, 40 minutes away (+44 (0)1242 537642; www.cheltenham.co.uk). Antiques fair at the racecourse, last Sunday of every month. Clay-pigeon shooting at Chatcombe Estate Shooting School (+44 (0)1242 870391). Horse riding can be arranged at Ullenwood Stables (+44 (0)1242 575 020), and helicopter tours of the Cotswolds with Rise (+44 (0)1452 857083).

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

Anonymous review

by , Meandering Magazine Maven at Hearst

Rating: 10/10 stars
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…
Read more

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 have to say about Cowley Manor in the Guestbook below…

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Spa, decor, grounds, dinner

Don’t expect

Nightclubs!

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on travelled with three kids

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: 8/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

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: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 3/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

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: 5/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

the vibe! We felt instantly relaxed as soon as we arrived and the staff couldn't be more helpful (there were a couple of hiccups whilst we were there, but all were sorted and we left feeling very looked after). There was also the perfect balance between relaxing and partying (should you wish to do both). The outdoor pool was great - even nice to swim in whilst it was raining!

Don’t expect

to be bored as there's plenty to do here - eating, walking, playing games, relaxing...

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The grounds are amazing, the Spa is fantastic, the Cocktails are excellent, BREAKFAST!!!

Don’t expect

Exciting food, menu variations, nightlife, value for money in my opinion

Rating: 7/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything about it! The service was amazing and the food and the wine and the spa - would highly recommend it and will be returning in the future!

Don’t expect

Outdoor heated swimming pool and 24 degree heat in May :)

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The spa is outstanding and treatments lovely very efficiently run by Gilly - an oasis of calm.

Don’t expect

Reception is not always manned and I found I sometimes had to wait before someone came along to help. Seemed short of staff to me and those who were there are overloaded.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Laid back luxury, not pretentious, lovely food and fabulous heated pool.

Don’t expect

Provide hot chocolate in the rooms please along with the tea and coffee.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Unexpected room upgrade, great spa and morning room, late service for breakfast, relaxed atmosphere.

Don’t expect

Speed of service occasionally borderline.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Attentive staff but not overly intrusive. Large bed in airy room, very comfortable mattress. Good quality food, lovely dining room. Grounds excellent for exploring or relaxing in.

Don’t expect

Clearer instructions on how to use in room facilities eg: coffee machine, lights and cd dvd players.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything! Service with a smile, swimming outside with steam rising from the warm water, great food, stunning grounds, the beautiful manor house, exceptional accommodation and contemporary decor.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our room was amazing - a great space with lovely furnishings, plus nespresso machine, iPod dock, lots of beautiful Green Spring products to use (thank you Mr and Mrs Smith for the complimentary product!). The grounds were great for a stomp, and the indoor and outdoor pools were very good (the outdoor pool was lovely even in November!). My husband had a very good mini back neck and shoulder massage in C-side and came out feeling fantastic! The reception team were most welcoming and attentive and the Maitre d' was exceptional - personable and knowledgeable and made us feel very looked after for our 10th Anniversary break. The food was very nice in the restaurant and the staff were aware of my gluten free status (thank you again Mr and Mrs Smith). We were also ecstatic to get the first ever upgrade we have ever had, and we really, really appreciated it!

Don’t expect

Waited a while for our main course on Saturday night and again for breakfast on Sunday morning, but the service was very good and we weren't in a rush so not too bad.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the relaxed atmosphere, lovely room and fab food. The pool is lovely. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

My wife's massage was average.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved everything! The house was fabulous, the service was sharp and attentive whilst being relaxed, the spa was wonderful, spacious and welcoming.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Firstly I need to say for the last 18 years I have worked as a flight attendant - I have stayed in 1000s of different hotels and this is by far the best. We spent months looking for somewhere special for a special birthday. On arrival a lovely open fire awaited us, very polite reception staff that showed us around the hotel and to our room. The bar and restaurant areas have a lovely laid back feel where you would feel comfortable as a family with children or a couple enjoying a romantic get away. the food is out of this world, waiting staff so professional. Rooms incredible, spacious (we had the standard good room which was divine) lovely big bath tub with amazing Green and Spring large sized products. (most incredible scent)The spa was something else, lovely indoor and outdoor heated pool, warm even in October. The treatments were wonderful, mini facial and mini relaxation, so much included in 30 minutes! The grounds are breath taking, a lovely touch was the large rack of Hunter wellingtons outside to use, even a couple of bikes! There is a gorgeous church almost attached to the hotel, so pretty. The interior touches are simple but modern and very cool. Howeverwhatever this hotel does they have got it spot on, we couldn't fault it in any way and can't wait to go again.

Don’t expect

it was free to go

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Restaurant was superb, gardens amazing the main house text book Cotswold charm. Spa was wonderful with warm outdoor plunge pool. There is even a private cinema as well!

Don’t expect

The TV at the end of our bed was a little out of place but I'm nit picking.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Rooms, service, food, gardens, pool and tranquility.

Don’t expect

WiFi could've been better (it's terrible).

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Staff; service; food; the room; the spa and being upgraded.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The very personal and attentive service. The secluded environment.

Don’t expect

Lack of air conditioning control in the room (main building).

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Stunning grounds and views, massive bathroom, the spa.

Don’t expect

Fairly limited vegetarian choices.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Cowley Manor is just an amazing place. We stayed for our 10th wedding anniversary and it couldn't have been a better choice. The stunning room had a huge bathroom with lots of lovely touches. Sue greeted us on arrival and was just fantastic - she made us feel very special. We loved the grounds and the food was gorgeous. I can honestly say that the Mojitos I had at the bar were the best I have tasted.

Don’t expect

The C-Side spa pools were great but could do with being slightly warmer and I don't understand why they don't have a Jacuzzi.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the relaxed feeling at the hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

In short, I loved everything. It's far and away the best hotel I've ever stayed in, with so many thoughtful details, helpful staff and the most amazing room. The food was delicious and we spent the day sunbathing by the pool, drinking fizz. We're already planning our next trip!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff are super friendly and accommodate our every needs. The food in the restaurant is very good and not expensive, the breakfast totally gives me a great start for the day. It's a great place for family holidays.

Don’t expect

There are no windows in the Exceptional Room, so ventilation is weak. They suggested that we could open the door at the back which link to a shared courtyard, yet we are quite concerned with the security. They brought us an extra fan which solved the problem.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Sue and her team at Cowley were just absolutely amazing, and so were the rooms and facilities!

Don’t expect

The roads leading to the hotel were a bit tricky.

Rating: 10/10 stars