Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Ellenborough Park

Rates per night from$177.12

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP136.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Fifteenth-century thoroughbred

Setting

Racy Prestbury

With rooms overlooking the finishing line at Cheltenham Racecourse, the stately Ellenborough Park hotel in the Cotswolds, much like the prize thoroughbreds nearby, is a true champion. Set on 90 beautiful leafy acres of National Trust land, designed by Nina Campbell and wowing guests with a stable of luxurious extras, this fifteenth-century, sports-loving estate never fails to place.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

£30 food and drink credit

Facilities

Photos Ellenborough Park facilities

Need to know

Rooms

61, including three suites.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $177.12 (£136), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast (buffet and Full English) and use of the spa.

Also

Keep an eye out for the magnificent, hand-painted staircase in the main house – it's adorned with pictures of stags, gambolling in the Cotswolds countryside.

At the hotel

Spa with seven treatment rooms, sauna, gardens, gun room, boot room, fitness suite, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar and 100 Acre bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The Arkle suite is surprisingly light and airy, considering that it’s kitted out from top-to-toe in oak panelling. It has a lucky streak, too: named after Arkle the racehorse (who notched up 14 big wins in just two years), and is a favourite with visiting jockeys. They probably love it for its princely four-poster. Or its striking original fireplace. Or its vast bathroom with a roll-top tub and shower. The Istabraq suite, set in the eaves of the Great Hall, doesn’t skimp on drama, with its soaring dark Tudor beams and glittering split-level bathroom with under-floor heating, twin basins, roll-top bath and palatial shower. Another of our favourites is the Kauto Star suite: feminine, light and airy, it's the perfect choice for brides (or a romantic weekend).

Poolside

The outdoor pool, flanked by white-cushioned wooden sun loungers, is kept at a deliciously warm 30 degrees all year round. It's positioned near the hotel’s newest block of rooms, Woodland Court.

Spa

Hit the spa for a pampering session in one of their six treatment rooms; we’d plump for an algae wrap or Nemaste of India: body brush, scalp, hair and full-body massage. There's a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, relaxation room and juice bar, too.

Packing tips

Don’t weigh your case down with binoculars for spying on the horses/race-goers, the hotel has telescopes for this purpose, and you can keep snug and dry with their stash of Dubarry wellies and coats from the boot room. Ladies/gents yearning for a smooth mane can request hair straighteners from reception; phone chargers, dental kits and spare tights are also available. Prestbury is supposedly Britain’s most haunted village: bring your preferred method of protection against the undead – garlic, black salt or holy water, perhaps?

Pet‐friendly

Bring your dog too, for £25 a night. Canine companions are welcome in reception, the country pub, the Horse Box and the Atrium. Not all rooms are pet-friendly so get in touch with our Smith24 team to check. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.

Children

Cots are free, extra beds are £30 (this includes breakfast), and babysitting with a local, Ofsted-registered nanny can be arranged for £15 to £20 an hour. The hotel reckons that when it comes to young uns, it’s best suited to juniors and teens.

Best for

Juniors, and older children who will be confident in the pool and grounds.

Recommended rooms

The Traditional rooms are adult-only, as are most of the Classic rooms, and Tower rooms aren’t suited for children either. Opt for a Luxury room for the most space.

Activities

Outside in the grounds, there’s plenty here to keep little Smiths entertained – croquet kit, outdoor swimming pool, gorgeous grounds, links to the local polo club, and so on. 

Swimming pool

The outdoor pool has a shallow end, but it isn’t monitored, so swimmers must be accompanied by an adult guardian.

Meals

Little Smiths are welcome in the The Horse Box at any time, and can dine in the Restaurant after 7pm. Staff will make packed lunches, heat up baby milk and baby food, and provide high chairs.

Babysitting

The hotel can arrange for an Ofsted-registered local nanny to watch your children for £15 an hour on weekdays, £20 an hour on weekends and bank holidays. This service must be booked at least a week in advance.

Food and Drink

Photos Ellenborough Park food and drink

Top Table

Cold? Snuggle up by the fire. Hot? Sit outside and enjoy the breeze. Ardent sports fans should sit closest to the TV in the Horse Box bar, which screens all the big sporting events.

Dress Code

An equine equation: white shirts + cashmere + tan leather accents. Spruce up for the Restaurant; T-shirts and chinos are fine for the Horse Box.

Hotel restaurant

There are two: the Restaurant is the bigger, and more formal, with original Tudor fireplaces, stained glass Oriel windows, and fine dining to match; the Horse Box serves burgers and British classics in a cosy, sports-themed setting. Both have outdoor seating, so when the weather's fine, sit on the terrace for gorgeous views of the grounds. 

Hotel bar

Fans of whisky and cigars will love the bar area (where both are on tap), tucked away in the Horse Box. It'd be rude not to try Ellenborough Park's own gin, and the barmen mix up a mean Lady Ellenborough: cucumber, Hendrick's Gin, Chase Elderflower, lime juice, sugar syrup and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne.

Last orders

The Restaurant is open for breakfast 7–10am on weekdays and 7.30–10.30am at weekends; dinner Wednesday to Sunday from 6.30pm to 10pm; and Sunday lunch from noon to 2.30pm. The Horse Box is open daily for lunch and dinner from noon to 10.30pm.

Room service

The room service menu is thorough (soups, salads, sandwiches and mains), and available 24-hours a day.

Location

Photos Ellenborough Park location
Address
Ellenborough Park
Southam Road Southam
Cheltenham Spa
GL52 3NJ
United Kingdom

Planes

Birmingham airport is less than 60 miles away, with connections from Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Jersey. International hub Heathrow Airport (www.heathrowairport.com) is roughly a two-hour drive from the hotel.

Trains

Cheltenham Spa is just two miles away, with services connecting to London, Bristol and the South West (www.nationalrail.co.uk). A taxi should cost around £6 each way.

Automobiles

Cheltenham Spa is a 10-minute drive away. Ellenborough Park has plenty of free parking for guests.

Worth getting out of bed for

Start with what’s right in front of you: borrow a pair of Ellenborough socks and green Hunter boots (or brown Dubarry hiking boots, if they’re more your style), then set off for a foray in the countryside. Bring your own shotgun (or ask about borrowing one from the Ian Coley shooting school) for a spot of clay-pigeon shooting. If you’re keen to use the spa, book a treatment in advance – it’s small (just seven treatment rooms) and very popular. The hotel hosts wine tastings in an area behind the atrium; it also works closely with a Longdole Polo Club – request a lesson or two. There’s also a stash of balls, hoops and mallets for keen croquet players. If you’ve any time left, venture into Cheltenham for the elegant shops, bars and restaurants, lay some bets at the racecourse, or go on a drive around the Cotswolds countryside, stopping off for a hearty pub lunch or elegant cream tea. The hotel can also arrange archery, picnics, Cotswolds tours, fishing trips, golf lessons, hiking, horse racing, horse riding and helicopter tours.

Local restaurants

The elegant Lumière on Clarence Parade serves modern ‘global’ cuisine and always looks lively (+44 (0)1242 222200), but if it’s a flawless Michelin-starred French feast you’re after, book a table at the incomparable Le Champignon Sauvage on Suffolk Road (+44 (0)1242 573449). For Indian meals with a twist, Prithvi's menu of slow-cooked duck, cinnamon-spiced beef and coriander-laced naan isn't to be missed. 

Local cafés

Get your alfresco fix at the Hot Pepper Jelly café on Suffolk Road (+44 (0)1242 719999), which has a sun-dappled courtyard, or in the Imperial Square gardens, where an open-air bar dispenses liquid refreshments during summer. Gusto, a deli on Montpellier Walk (+44 (0)1242 239111), grinds the best coffee beans in town and will pop goodies from the shop into a picnic hamper for you.

Local bars

Montpellier Wine Bar in Cheltenham (+44 (0)1242 527774) has a lively atmosphere, and an al fresco dining patch that’s perfect for sunny afternoons (the kind that spill langorously into evenings).

Reviews

Photos Ellenborough Park reviews
Juliet Kinsman

Anonymous review

By Juliet Kinsman, On-the-go editor

Oh to have met Lady Jane Digby, the most notorious Lady Ellenborough. What a colourful Mrs Smith she would have made. Briefly the lady of this Cotswold house, one wonders what she would make of her grand once-marital home now hosting loved-up weekend awayers? I am confident the 1807-born aristocrat – who in her time eloped with an Austrian prince, married a Bedoin sheikh and a German baron, and had affairs with an Albanian brigand general and the King of Bavaria – would thoroughly approve...

A distinguished vignette greets us at the Cotswold-stone hotel for our arrival: cornflower-blue sky and a Kermit-green lawn that stretches to wild fields that roll down to the edge of Cheltenham’s groomed racetrack. Sunshine alchemised the crenallated towers and centuries-old stonework to pure gold. We couldn’t help but be curious about this property’s heritage. (Especially when Mr Smith scrutinised the bricks and pointed out sections clearly added in different eras.) But what should prove a most memorable part of our recent stay at the new luxury Cheltenham hotel? When someone recommended a copy of Lady Jane’s biography by Mary S Lovell. (A gentle enquiry into the history of the house from a sweet member of staff had her disappearing off, and moments later, cheerily popping a copy of this very paperback into my paws.)

Architecture buffs will recognise the property as an anomaly. Thomas Goodman's construction of Southam House, as it was known until the Seventies, first began in 1500; eventually the estate passed to Richard de la Bere who was the first person to come over all Grand Designs on it – in a 17th-century kind of way. By 1833 it was the first Earl of Ellenborough's; then in the 20th century it hosted a private girls school and a hotel. But nothing in the league of its latest incarnation. 2007 marked the dawn of a new era when asset managers got their mitts on the property; after four years of extravagant remodelling a very new beast emerged.

And so, to these two Smith turning up at this TripAdvisor high-ranker – a day early. After a few blank looks from the friendly receptionists and a little gentle head-shaking, we unnervingly discover there is no record of our booking. Oh no. Turns out we’ve committed the ultimate hotel-reviewing faux pas: I got our dates jumbled. Smiling throughout, the receptionist graciously finds us a room quick-smart (despite Ellenborough Park being almost fully booked), and we're invited to take tea in the Great Hall while they get our suite readied. It is betwixt the centuries-old carved stone fireplace, and delicate stained-glass windows, under huge Tudor portraits, that we learn about the scandalising Lady Ellenbrough.

Just-baked scones, Earl Grey and tales of yore devoured, and we’re steered to our luxury double bedroom in the new wing. With our hotel-critic heads on we weigh up this newly created hotel decked out in Nina Campbell interior design; hmm, not a big fan of brass name badges, but since the staff are so friendly, it is nice to know their names. Electronic photo frames with a loop of brochure-type shots? Slightly dubious. But such corporate details are soon forgotten when our chaperone steers us into a boot room and invites us to borrow wellies. Fun.

Being in the purpose-built Woodland Court rather than the hotel’s more historic main house sees our door opening to a super high-quality, stylish modern-classic bedroom. It could be a Four Seasons showroom: huge, inviting bed clearly clad in top-notch freshly starched linens, resplendent marble ensuite bathroom, big desk with information folders, and a whopping widescreen with a hotel video of guests having a whale of a time in a hot tub. No, no – it’s not a steamy adult channel, but a corporate film of Ellenborough Park’s marvelous facilities in full glory.

And boy, are there facilities. Fans of shooting, polo and golf will like it here, but we’ve booked in for my personal pastime favourite: the spa. Steered into the juice bar (although, disappointingly as it’s a Sunday no one offers to rustle us up anything freshly squeezed), we wait for our therapists. Spa snobs, take note, the Discovery Prescription Facial is a winner. As I lie there taking in the classical music in my candlelit cubby, soaking up the Babor oils, it’s impossible to conceive that there is in fact a wedding going on right below in De la Bere Court.

From pampering to pigging out – via an elegant aperitif. It’s a Lady Ellenborough cocktail for me (Hendrick's gin, champagne and elderflower cordial) and a classic martini for Mr Smith, in the minstrel’s gallery overlooking that harp-boasting history-steeped hall. There is a more traditional hotel watering hole which doubles as a brasserie, the Brasserie bar – but tonight it is commandeered by the wedding party. No worry, we prefer this spot anyway to the more conventional bar that is a tad masculine for my taste. (Racing enthusiasts will find the whisky-toting, cigar-selling Brasserie bar a must-visit though when it comes to eavesdropping for tip-offs from visiting jockeys and horse trainers.)

For us, it is the Beaufort Dining Room where Ellenborough truly wows. The Italian maitre d’ Sandro is the first agent in transporting us from country-house-hotel to sophisticated gastronome’s paradise, eased along with excellent advice from sommelier Tobias Brauweiler. It’s an exciting Modern British menu laced with every epicurean indulgence (foie gras, lobster – you name it.) A few bites of the quality ingredients and you are likely to consider the £60 price tag for four courses perfectly reasonable.

A bracing* dip in the slate-lined outdoor pool the next morning washes away any traces of Tobias’ expert wine-matching. (*It is heated, but this is England after all.) We then make the most of our near-town location with a wander into Cheltenham itself. (If I’m to be brutal dear reader, we miss out on a true bank holiday lie-in due to our previous guests setting the alarm in our room for 5.55am. Thankfully the pastry-, fruit- and charcuterie-laden breakfast table is a magnificent incentive to get us out of that fine-linened cloud of a bed.)

After a day of poking our noses into cute delis, galleries and boutiques in the Montpellier district, we’re happy to be relaxing in the Great Hall again with another afternoon tea. Peering over that chic specially commissioned bone china, we observe two couples canoodling in different cosy corners of the reception room. My, my, what would Lady Ellenborough make of it all? I have no doubt: she would be very, very proud.

 


 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Ellenborough Park’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Location was stunning and rooms very well presented (upgraded to Luxury room). Very comfortable and spacious, with a Nespresso coffee machine in the room – a nice touch but only two capsules was a bit mean. The restaurant was very pleasant and the food delicious. Cheltenham is lovely, lots of great walks very close to hotel and further afield.

Don’t expect

The spa is tiny and was fully booked for the two nights we stayed. Would expect more luxuriou  spacious spa for a venue that promotes itself as 5-star spa hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Apr 2018

We loved

We Loved the feel of the hotel – ambience and staff were excellent, facilities and location very good. We stayed as a small family group for part of a birthday and can highly recommend the hotel and restaurant.

Don’t expect

Wasn't aware that the outdoor pool was heated, so that was a bonus!

Rating

Stayed on 9 Mar 2018

We loved

The fantastic breakfast in bed and the country walks on your doorstep. We went to the Plough pub in Prestbury which was lovely and very popular for Sunday lunch.

Don’t expect

A lot of privacy or lots of places to lounge: it's quite a small place and we felt a little on top of other guests. We stayed in a Luxury Room in the main house and we werent bowled over by it.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Jan 2018

We loved

The friendly and helpful staff. Everyone we met seemed pleased to see us, interested in us and eager to make our stay in this lovely hotel pleasurable. They all seemed happy to be working there and proud of their hotel. The hotel itself, whilst quite sizeable, feels intimate, cosy and never crowded. The grounds and the views are amazing. The porters were extremely helpful in guiding us to walks in the surrounding countryside. Don't miss the spectacular walk on Cleeve Hill and Common – we did it in the snow and ice which was interesting but still amazing. We loved our dog-friendly room with the door to the green area outside so our dog could do his morning business without us needing to get dressed.

Don’t expect

Our only slight disappointment on this visit was that the restaurant menus had been "downgraded". The food was still extremely good but less varied and interesting than our last visit (with the exception of our dessert in the main restaurant which was quite extraordinarily original and tasty).

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2017

We loved

The luxurious surroundings, from the well stocked horsebox bar to the wonderful heated outdoor pool and everything in between. We very much enjoyed our complimentary fizz on arrival – it set the tone for the rest of the break! This was a little break without our baby and we fully enjoyed long lazy lie-ins and baths à deux in a huge bath in our room! Throughout the hotel the staff were smiley and attentive – happy to help with anything. We enjoyed a dinner at Le Champignon Sauvage, which was recommended to us. It certainly deserved its 2 Michelin stars – the food was wonderful, very reasonably priced and only a short taxi ride away from the hotel.

Don’t expect

The breakfast was very good but a little slow...but we were in no rush so not a problem.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Oct 2017

We loved

The grounds, view, main historic building and the staff were all lovely. Beautiful bathrooms in the deluxe rooms with roll top baths. Surprisingly lovely pool area! Lumiere restaurant in Cheltenham is superb. Highly, highly recommend. Only 10 minutes by taxi which the hotel will organise and the restaurant called one for our return journey. It is a small place though so book ahead and expect to have some truly special food.

Don’t expect

Lively nightlife or a super gourmet restaurant experience. Or an ultra-modern interior – it is all in keeping with the setting.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Sep 2017

We loved

The building itself and the setting were wonderful. We very much enjoyed the grounds. Our room, 16, was very special. It's always nice to stay somewhere a bit different.

Don’t expect

Unfortunately the service wasn't great. Some staff went above and beyond and all were lovely, but we did feel a little forgotten about at points. Service in the Brasserie was extremely slow, to the point that it became a bit of a joke. We also had to ask where things were a number of times. Signposting isn't great and orientation could have been clearer.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Aug 2017

We loved

The staff, food, service, beds and the hammock! 5 North Street restaurant.

Don’t expect

A cheap date.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Aug 2017

We loved

The views are stunning, the staff are professional and friendly, and the grounds are immaculate. Cheltenham has a wide range of shopping options, from national high street stores to some delightful boutiques.

Don’t expect

Spa treatments unless you book well in advance.

Rating

Stayed on 20 Aug 2017

We loved

The views; the comfortable, quiet room; the lovely hotel buildings and the easily accessible walks in surrounding countryside. We especially loved the friendly and knowledgeable staff who added a personal touch whenever possible and were particularly welcoming to our dog. And our dinner was delicious; the cheese trolley was amazing and accompanied by a very tasty port. We didn't have time to use the spa but we will on our next visit... The bed was comfortable, and although it is a big hotel it never felt crowded, so it had the feel of a smaller boutique hotel. Walk up Cleeve Hill at the back of the hotel. A steep climb but worth the effort for the view.

Don’t expect

A fully stocked minibar in your room.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Jun 2017

We loved

The location. The decor. The service was great – friendly, helpful staff. A great place to unwind.

Don’t expect

We were lucky enough to use the outside pool on our first day but don't expect to use it often in the U.K.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Jun 2017

We loved

The food, staff, location, room – everything. The Royal Oak, just down the road in Prestbury, is brilliant for food and a drink. Plus the village is worth a look by itself!

Rating

Stayed on 3 Mar 2017

We loved

Room 40; the breakfast.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Feb 2017

We loved

Swimming before breakfast on Xmas day in the bath-temperature outside pool. The classic yet modern rooms, with large bathrooms, great toiletries and underfloor heating. The Boot Room which has designer boots, wellies and jackets to fit all. The stunning exterior. Above and beyond service from many of the staff. You're very near lots of gorgeous Cotswold towns like Winchcombe and Broadway. The Cotswold Way passes nearby and there are stunning views from it at Cleeve Hill, just a couple of miles away.

Don’t expect

The service in the Brasserie to be quite as slick and attentive as in the rest of the hotel. People to shower before using the Spa. The Bill to be accurate - check it thoroughly. We nearly paid 100 extra. To avoid dogs. Many guests bring theirs, and you can sometimes hear them barking from your bedroom.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Dec 2016

We loved

Everything

Rating

Stayed on 3 Dec 2016

We loved

The location was perfect and the setting simply beautiful, room was fantastic as was the four poster bed! The staff were so helpful. Go to Wild Rabbit and Daylesford Farm for food, Bourton-on-the-water to visit and walk up Cleave Hill from the hotel.

Don’t expect

The best food - better to eat out although breakfast was lovely.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Nov 2016

We loved

The actual hotel was beautiful and the main dining room for dinner was lovely (although a bit pricey). If you don't mind travelling a bit then go to Croombe which is a National Trust property - it's wonderful. The grounds are extensive, the house a bit battered but lovely and the RAF museum really interesting.

Don’t expect

...At the moment they are having some teething troubles with the brasserie staff so don't expect a smiling waiter! I personally would change the menu and go for less "fancy" options.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Oct 2016