Cotswolds hotel review: Inside The Slaughters Manor House

Forget foreign sun, sea and sand… Discovering the staycation of dreams at a former 17th-century Cotswolds stately home that’s now an impeccable hotel with Instagrammable interiors

  • Fiona Hardcastle checked into one of the hotel’s inter-connecting junior suites with her family of three 
  • She says that the hotel was at 98 per cent occupancy during her stay – and could see why it is so popular
  • The hotel has ‘beautifully manicured grounds, finely furnished rooms and the friendliest of service’  

‘Look! It’s the BBC breakfast man who went on Strictly!’ cried my daughter Evie, as we were shown to our seats in the formal dining room.

‘No, darling,’ I whispered. ‘It’s JFK.’

Fancy hotel trips with the children in tow usually require some form of discreet distraction at the dinner table.

Fiona checked into The Slaughters Manor House with her three children and husband

The Slaughters Manor House is a former 17th-century stately home in the heart of the Cotswolds

‘Who needs foreign sun, sea and sand when you can sip sloe gin – the complimentary flasks in the bedrooms are a welcome touch – in a free-standing bath?’ asks Fiona

Depending on the volume of fellow guests, a hushed game of Dobble usually does the trick.

But there’s no need for props at The Slaughters Manor House, a former 17th-century stately home in the heart of the Cotswolds, where the centrepiece of the restaurant – an arresting black-and-white photographic mural of cultural and political icons gathered as if for a party – instantly caught their attention.

And my curiosity. Would our three children – Rose, 14, Evie, 12 and Felix, eight – know who any of them were?

The Queen – accessorised in a way Angela Kelly would never countenance – was still instantly recognisable despite the DJ headphones wrapped around her neck. As thankfully, in our increasingly lapsed Catholic household – mea culpa – was the Pope.

Others were less obvious. Andy Warhol, Gandhi, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe all drew quizzical blanks.

While the guessing game was not without its low points – it took some convincing for the children to realise that the figure they took for Will Smith was actually Martin Luther King – the hilarity was priceless.

‘That’s the guy from Lazy Town!,’ exclaimed Felix, pointing towards a dark, flamboyant figure not entirely dissimilar to the eerie lead character from a long-gone CBeebies show.

Close. Freddie Mercury.

The week Fiona stayed, the hotel’s occupancy was at an impressive 98 per cent. She says that with its classic limestone facade, five acres of beautifully manicured grounds, finely furnished guest rooms and the friendliest of service, it’s easy to see why

Fiona stayed in the Coach House in an inter-connecting junior suite ‘that was more than generous enough to accommodate the disparate needs of a family of five’. Pictured is the hotel’s library room

For my husband and I, relieved to be spending our first night away from the taunting tins of Farrow and Ball paint lined up in the hallway since the second week of lockdown, the elegant interiors of The Slaughters Manor House had already triggered a more domestically charged guessing game.

‘Definitely Middleton Pink,’ I muttered, glancing enviously around the walls of the snazzy drawing room, desperately trying not to spoil the mood by asking yet again when our younger daughter’s bedroom – due to be decorated in the same colour – would ever be finished.

‘Ooh, Brinjal,’ exclaimed my husband cheerily, as we descended the aubergine painted stairwell to dinner. A five-litre pot, destined for our downstairs loo, had yet to be opened. ‘It does come up nicely.’

Fiona writes: ‘Even our daughters were moved to update their social media accounts, inspired by the hotel’s highly Instagrammable interiors. Pop art on a wood-panelled wall. A row of delectable baby pink velvet chairs encircling a brass topped bar. What finer backdrop does a teen need?’

Game on: The hotel boasts a beautiful bespoke billiards table set amid fine furnishings

The question was, would we ever find out?

Time to stop agonising over how little we’d achieved in lockdown – and be grateful that this impeccably stylish Cotswolds haven is once again open for business.

The week we stayed, occupancy was at an impressive 98 per cent. With its classic limestone facade, five acres of beautifully manicured grounds, finely furnished guest rooms and the friendliest of service, it’s easy to see why.

We stayed in the Coach House in an inter-connecting junior suite that was more than generous enough to accommodate the disparate needs of a family of five.

The hotel’s lounge is an eye-catching mixture of bright colours, classic paintings and plush cushioning

Fiona describes the three-course dinner she had as ‘exquisitely presented’. Above is one of the hotel’s lobster dishes

Within minutes, my daughters had transformed their substantial den into a dressing room while my son – always looking for a new nest – took up camp on the chaise longue with his game console. All my husband needed was an inviting window seat, plus portable radio, to catch up with the cricket.

Ever appreciative of hotel bathrooms – talk of modernising our own is now in its 12th year – I headed to the ensuite. Who needs foreign sun, sea and sand when you can sip sloe gin – the complimentary flasks in the bedrooms are a welcome touch – in a free-standing bath while gazing out on the rolling hills that have moved our greatest scribes?

Even our daughters were moved to update their social media accounts, inspired by the hotel’s highly Instagrammable interiors. Pop art on a wood-panelled wall. A row of delectable baby pink velvet chairs encircling a brass topped bar. What finer backdrop does a teen need?

Had I been 20 years younger, I might have joined them. Certainly, the three-course dinner – exquisitely presented Cornish crab, followed by tender Herdwick lamb and a mouth-watering meringue finale of cherry vacherin – had me close to scrabbling for my phone.

Overnight stays at The Slaughters Manor House start from £195 per room, with two sharing on a B&B basis

The hotel is impeccably turned out from top to bottom. Even the connecting passageways are Cotswold chic

The snug is one of several spots in the hotel that’s ideal for a cup of coffee or a cocktail

Breakfast was an equal delight. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs may be a hotel mainstay, but I’ve seldom had it so good.

One last gaze into the mural of the great and the good before we checked out and headed home.

Felix sighed. ‘I wish Paddington was in it.’

I’m sure Paddington does, too.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Overnight stays at The Slaughters Manor House start from £195 per room, two sharing on a B&B basis, with a range of rooms able to accommodate families, with options on offer including interconnecting spaces, twin beds and living rooms with sofa beds. 

Visit www.slaughtersmanor.co.uk or call 01451 820456 for more information.

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