Set in an Italianate building dating from the 1860s, Cowley Manor is an immensely pleasing blend of funky art hotel, country house retreat and family-friendly haven. The effect of cowhide window seats, comical papier-mâché ‘hunting trophies’, Scandi-chic sofas in electric blue and red, a huge reception area with a lime green ceiling, and games room panelled in leather certainly is a depart from the traditional country house hotel.
There are 15 rooms in the main house and 16 in a converted stable block. All have bright, funky furnishings and are very generously sized. The split-level ones 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), enormous bath and four-poster bed.
Inside a grand, oak-panelled restaurant, bar and billiard rooms awaits. Outside, the dreamy 55 acres of parkland feature a glorious lake, cascades and sculptures. Icing on the cake is the chic, organic C-Side spa with heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, exclusive treatments, a gym, and a sauna.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 31 rooms (28-75m2) (301-807 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2002 • architecture & interior design: de matos ryan (London) • bathroom amenities: Green & Spring ✅ free on-site parking • Cheltenham: 15-minute drive • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk