Last weekend I spent a glorious 24 hours at Hatherley Manor Hotel and Spa in the Gloucestershire countryside.
My lovely mum, Deborah – who enjoys a spa break and glass of plonk almost as much as me – kindly booked the overnight break for us as a belated birthday present. Having just moved house I couldn’t think of anything better than a full body massage, delicious food, and a bit of girly time with my mum. Here’s a little roundup of our weekend overnight stay.
The hotel and room
Despite pulling up to the estate on a grey summer’s day, the 4* hotel still looked magnificent. Nestled deep in the Cotswold countryside, Hatherley Manor Hotel and Spa is an elegant 17th-century manor house with bags of charm. Combining period features with stylish and tasteful decor, the hotel boasts original features; the preserved beams are especially gorgeous. Throughout the hotel, heavy drapes and autumnal hues create a sense of warmth and intimacy that immediately makes you feel calm and relaxed. Pretty walled gardens surround the main building, and a newly opened spa sits on site to help guests relax and unwind.
Having booked the Mother and Daughter Break, we were given a classic room on the first floor of the manor house. Overlooking the sprawling surrounding countryside, the cosy room successfully combined contemporary soft furnishings with nods to the building’s history. The bathroom was a little snug but had a fabulous power shower and huge soft towels. The towel rail might burn your hand off, but I secretly like that added luxury.
Opened in May this year, the spa is the hotel’s newest addition and it’s undeniably impressive, boasting a boutique feel. The treatment suite has six therapy rooms (including a double treatment room) and a relaxation lounge. Having booked full body massages, Mum and I got to test run these rooms, enjoying the calming lighting and use of Elemis products. The massage itself was ideal, with my therapist focusing on the requested areas leaving me feeling relaxed and content.
An indoor pool has great private garden views, with a vitality pool and loungers to help you further relax. A secondary area offers various sensory rooms, including a Tepidarium, experience showers, and thermal loungers, as well as a classic sauna and steam rooms. There’s also a gym with weights and cardio equipment but we didn’t use it – cake not cardio etc. It’s a truly lovely space to spend a few hours relaxing, and the facilities are top notch. We really liked the neutral decor, with plenty of rustic wood and cool colours – it’s a way more modern concept compared to the hotel. Bonus points for the champagne bar and garden, ideal for sipping fizz whilst wrapped in the complimentary fluffy robes and slippers. The spa itself is definitely worth a revisit.
We went back after breakfast on the Sunday and enjoyed the facilities again, as well as all the tester pots of Elemis skincare. Some of this is also available in the shower rooms, although they could do with checking the changing areas more often, as we found the place basically flooded twice. The spa itself is also incredibly slippery – my mum did several excellent Jane Torville impressions during our visit.
After checking in about 1pm we headed for afternoon tea in the bar lounge; being that we hadn’t had lunch this was most welcome. A traditional selection of neat sandwiches joined homemade carrot cake, macaroons and gooey brownies, plus scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. A choice of tea or coffee kicked things off before the food arrived (after quite a delay) with the array of sweet and savoury treats served on a tall stand. It’s not going to win any marks for originality or creativity but everything was executed well, especially the warm handmade scones. I liked the cute teapots and that all the sandwiches were filled generously.
Dinner and drinks
We opted to take dinner a little later than usual in order to make the most of the spa, and the reception team were more than happy to arrange that for us. The restaurant was closed for a private party so we were seated in a private dining room with other non-party guests. It felt a bit odd and weirdly quiet despite being almost full, and the staff (whilst polite) were a little awkward and slow in parts. The menu is typical gastropub fare with many seasonal nods, and we started with mussels and clams in a spicy chorizo broth. This was really moreish and tasty, the sauce having some kick from fresh red chillies.
Mains were a bit less interesting aesthetically, both lacking anything colourful to break up the beige. Still, my mum enjoyed her pork belly and black pudding roulade (I suspect more because of the fabulous mash potatoes) and my roasted cod with lemon and dill risotto was tasty. I wasn’t sure about the cold fennel and green bean salad plonked next to it (lovely on its own; weird on risotto) but after a bottle of wine I just went with it. We skipped puds for more drinks in the bar, like all good time girls should.
After a divine night’s sleep and a much needed lie in we headed for breakfast. Served in the hotel’s actual dining room this time it was your usual help yourself affair with hot and cold options. Well, it would have been had anyone replaced any of the empty hot food trays.. or the fruit salad bowls.. or the milk.. or the plates. Truth be told, breakfast was a total shambles from start to finish. The staff didn’t communicate with each other let alone guests, the restaurant was a mess (metaphorically and physically) and after asking for coffee 4 times I just wanted to leave the room. We ended up retreating back to the sanctuary of the spa on the other side of the building to get our zen back.
A (mostly) relaxing weekend break that offers good bang for buck. The spa specifically is beautiful and the staff throughout the hotel and spa are largely attentive and helpful. The Mother and Daughter Break includes an overnight stay with afternoon tea, unlimited spa use and a 55 minutes treatment, dinner and breakfast, and is available 7 days a week. You can find out more about the various overnight spa packages via the website. Be aware that over weekend visits you may well be sharing your space with various private parties and weddings – ideal for people watching but not necessarily for a quiet break. Our room was right by the spa and away from the function rooms – I’d suggest asking for the same unless you want to hear Ed Sheeran’s greatest hits into the night.
Hatherley Manor Hotel and Spa, Down Hatherley Lane, Gloucestershire, GL2 9QA
Disclosure: we paid in full for the hotel stay, spa visit, and all food and drink. All opinions and photographs are mine. Many thanks to my mum for a most needed restful weekend in the countryside.