It's been part of the Cotswolds' landscape for over 300 years but Cowley Manor has been given a new lease of life, thanks to a full-scale renovation by its new owners, Experimental Group, which has transformed every inch of the long-standing hotel, restaurant and spa.
SoGlos shares nine highlights to discover at the new Cowley Manor, featuring bedrooms reimagined by a Parisian designer; an upscale dining room that champions the best local produce; and the classiest bar menu in Gloucestershire — think masterfully mixed cocktails with Porthilly oysters and caviar on the side...
31 stylish bedrooms
Totally reimagined by Parisian designer, Dorothée Meilichzon, Cowley Manor's bedrooms have a bold new look that blends contemporary style with classic inspiration, representing key moments from Cowley's history. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will be delighted by the checkerboard touches — with the building said to have inspired Lewis Caroll's famous tale.
From romantic getaways for two, to three-level suites suitable for families, the hotel even offers some dog-friendly options for four-legged guests. For unrivalled luxury, the signature Cowley suite is one of the largest suites in all of the Cotswolds, with panoramic views across the hotel's grounds and lake.
A restaurant that celebrates local produce
Headed up by acclaimed British chef, Jackson Boxer, Cowley Manor's restaurant champions seasonal produce sourced from the Cotswolds — with many ingredients coming from the hotel's own kitchen garden — and weaves subtle French influences into its menu, as a nod to Experimental Group's Parisian roots.
Stand-out summer dishes include Bibury trout, served with horseradish and watercress; a giant côte de boeuf with smoked bone marrow and baby onions; and the Cowley honey cake, made from the honey produced by the hotel's own bees and served with yoghurt sorbet, strawberries and pistachio.
The Cotswolds' very own cocktail club
A cocktail bar is at the heart of every Experimental Group hotel and Cowley Manor is now home to the Experimental Cocktail Club Cotswolds, serving masterfully mixed drinks and what's got to be the classiest bar menu in Gloucestershire.
Upscale dishes like caviar, tarte flambée and Porthilly oysters with Champagne mignonette complement classic and creative cocktails, while the bar itself has a laid-back vibe with low-lighting and comfy chairs. It's open from 12pm to 12am, seeing guests through from lunch time tipples to late night drinks.
An impressive drinks list
Whether you're hitting the bar or dining in the restaurant, Cowley Manor offers an extensive drinks menu — spanning a bespoke cocktail list, with seasonal drinks specially created by its team of expert mixologists, to English wine and the best local pale ales and craft beers from the likes of DEYA and Battledown Brewery.
Must-order cocktails include the Horlicks Milk Punch — a clarified concoction of Cotswolds Distillery's Single Malt Whisky, lemon and spiced Horlicks, which pays homage to Sir James Baron who actually wrote the recipe for Horlicks at Cowley Manor; while the long and varied wine list features a unique unfiltered white from Wiltshire.
Tranquil spa experiences
Cowley Manor's award-winning C-Side spa not only has a fresh new look, but a whole new menu of holistic treatments too. Choose from collagen facials, full body wraps or a heavenly massage, with pre-natal options for mums-to-be.
No spa day is complete without a dip in the pool or a session in the sauna — and C-Side's indoor and outdoor swimming pools are open every day, all year round. Its steam room, sauna and relaxation area maximise chill-out time and there's even a beauty parlour, where guests can enjoy nail, tinting and waxing treatments.
Afternoon tea experiences
The Cowley Manor restaurant serves afternoon tea from 2.30pm to 4pm daily, giving diners the choice of a quintessentially English cream tea; its full afternoon tea, with added sweets and fancies, savoury bites and sandwiches, served with tea or coffee; or the Champagne afternoon tea, upgraded with a glass of fizz.
Those who prefer salty flavours to sweet treats can even opt for a savoury afternoon tea, which substitutes the desserts for a selection of local charcuterie and cheeses.
Private dining for groups and parties
Perfect for an extra special occasion, Cowley Manor provides a group dining service that's ideal for parties of eight people or more, with two rooms inside the main house operating as private spaces for meetings and events.
Promising an unforgettable dining experience, catering options include an elevated three-course menu or a feast for the table, which serves up a selection of snacks and starters to share accompanied by a main course for all the guests — with options like lamb shoulder and cocoa bean ragout, or roast chicken with grilled corn and grey oyster mushrooms.
Stunning communal spaces
Explore Cowley's nooks and crannies on the ground floor where each room, connected by design choices like a classic colour palette, graphic fabrics and retro-inspired furniture, flows into an inviting communal space.
As well as enjoying the bar, restaurant and outside terrace space, guests can unwind with a drink in the lounge, which adjoins the Experimental Cocktail Club Cotswolds; sit at the chess tables in the games room — another subtle Alice in Wonderland-inspired detail — or kick back and relax in the library.
55 acres of gorgeous grounds
Surrounded by rolling Cotswold countryside, the Italianate gardens at Cowley Manor are Grade II listed. Full of stunning features to explore, guests will come across natural springs, a water-staircase and follies tucked away in secret corners, just waiting to be discovered.
Sit on the terrace to soak up the morning birdsong, take a sunny stroll to spot llamas grazing on the pastures or while away the afternoon on a deck chair outside one of the pinstriped picnic tents.