Lower Slaughter Manor is one of the finest 17th century country houses in the south of England, offering 19 rooms each boasting an individually crafted identity.
There are plenty of hotels in the Cotswolds all promising visitors a luxurious taste of Gloucestershire’s most beautiful area, but as SoGlos.com soon discovered, there is only one Lower Slaughter Manor.
Parking our conspicuously average hatchback alongside the Bentley, top of the range Mercedes and trio of sleek black Land Rovers standing proudly on the gravel driveway, Lower Slaughter Manor’s car park managed to cast an immediate impression of sophisticated luxury – before we had even set foot in the hotel.
But soon enough the twinge of embarrassment that our mode of transport had brought was transformed into an evil smile, as a whirr of helicopter rotor blades overshadowed all the swish cars put together and announced the arrival of some even more flashy guests – before we made our way past the immaculate striped lawns and into the impressive honey-coloured Cotswold mansion.
Despite being steeped in nearly 1,000 years of history, Lower Slaughter Manor has recently undergone a tasteful makeover that Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen would be proud of and offers a selection of 19 luxurious rooms (which the porter usefully informed us is because the exclusive hotel’s emphasis is ‘on quality, not quantity’) all of which are individually decorated to an interior designer’s scrupulous standards.
Situated on the ground floor of an adjacent coach house our stay was in the Valentine Suite – which, although named after a renowned stonemason rather than the romantic feast day, is a decadent choice for newlyweds and flush couples alike. The spacious suite’s centre-piece was an impossibly tall four-poster bed, scattered with what seemed like hundreds of green and orange cushions, which added a dash of colour to the white wooden panels surrounding the room.
The adjoining bathroom was a treat in itself with a huge walk in shower and not one, but two baths enabling couples to take a romantic dip side-by-side. While a pair of French doors also led onto a private garden for more watery indulgence – this time in the form of a Canadian hot tub bubbling at 35 degrees, which provided the perfect opportunity to sip flutes of bubbles – of the chilled French variety, naturally.
As well as a plasma screen television hung above the fire place for in-room entertainment, art and design books were piled-up in plentiful supply – perfect if you manage to find a spare moment to flick through the tomes, in between the games of tennis on the hotel’s court, rounds of croquet on the lawn and rambles around the picturesque village of Lower Slaughter and along the River Eye, for the actively inclined.
Although it was a struggle, we managed to tear ourselves away from our luxurious suite for an exploration of the main manor house, where we found a classic, peaceful lounge and the splendid Slaughter Restaurant on the lower ground floor – which promised an evening meal created with flair by an award-winning chef, as well as breakfast using locally-produced ingredients, for those who can drag themselves out of the four poster in the morning.
Whether you drive a run-of-the-mill hatchback or arrive by helicopter, the Lower Slaughter Manor provides a taste of the highlife and an escape from the daily routines without leaving the Gloucestershire borders. Whether you’re a county resident or planning a visit, this is one Cotswolds retreat which comes with a highly recommended stamp of approval.
A one-night stay for two people at Lower Slaughter Manor costs between £230 and £525, including breakfast.
By Michelle Fyrne
Saturday 15 September 2007
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