First look: the refurbished Cowley Manor

Expect retro chic interiors, upscale casual dining and brand-new spa treatments when iconic Cotswold hotel, Cowley Manor, reopens in July 2023, following an extensive refurbishment by new owners, Experimental Group.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Every inch of Cowley Manor has been refurbished by new owners, Experimental Group, as the Cotswold hotel gets ready to welcome guests back.

After a massive refurbishment project which has touched every inch of the hotel, Cowley Manor is set to open under its new owners, Experimental Group, on Tuesday 4 July 2023.

SoGlos visited the legendary Cotswold hotel as the finishing touches were being made, for a taste of what guests, diners and spa-goers can expect when it welcomes visitors back.

From the inviting reception space, to the library and lounge areas, the hotel has been given a brand-new look, thanks to Parisian interior designer, Dorothée Meilichzon, who has worked on Experimental Group properties across Europe.

Downstairs, each room has a distinct identity, tied together by a classic colour palette, graphic-patterned fabrics and low, curved furniture that screams 70s chic.

There are plenty of nods to the building's history, too: checkerboard rugs and murals represent Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland, which Cowley Manor's grounds are said to have inspired; while the original desk where malted milk baron, Sir James Horlick, wrote the recipe for Horlicks still stands in the private dining room. 

Loyal guests and visitors to Cowley Manor will also recognise the artwork hanging in the lounge, which has been repurposed from the old hotel.

There's a new focus on the hotel's food and beverage offering, too, with the addition of the Experimental Cocktail Club.

A cocktail bar is at the heart of every Experimental Group hotel — and here, the bar is a stunning centrepiece, manned by master mixologists with a flair for creative cocktails, with low-lighting and comfy chairs creating a chilled ambiance. 

The main restaurant has been sympathetically refurbished, making a feature of the building's original panelling — beautifully restored, after previously being white-washed — and offers relaxed dining with an elevated menu and impressive wine list.

Cowley Manor is also bringing back its continental, buffet-style breakfast for guests, presented in a light and airy space on a striking marble table.

SoGlos sampled a few dishes from the menu, curated by chef consultant Jackson Boxer, including a summery pea and bean salad, served with creamy mozzarella and mint; a succulent Caesar salad; and meaty croquettes stuffed with Old Spot pork.

The dishes are created with locally-sourced produce, as well as ingredients from Cowley Manor's own kitchen garden and grounds — with the honey from its new bees being used in its super-sweet yet delightfully light honey cake.

We also tried the creamy lemon posset with pepper foam and chocolate mouse, topped with unique caramelised white chocolate that was gorgeously crisp and salty.

It's the start of a new chapter for Cowley Manor's much-loved C-Side spa, too — with not only a brand-new look, but a whole new treatment menu and luxe range of products.

New additions include a shop in the spa reception selling products and more, as well as a pool bar.

The spa itself is the biggest in Experimental Group's international collection of hotels, with a 250-strong list of members all ready to get back in and enjoy some rest and relaxation.

And of course, Cowley Manor's beautiful grounds are still a stand-out feature!

Guests are welcome to sip coffee on its pristine terrace overlooking the Italianate gardens, or explore its wilder spaces, discovering quirky features in this 'veritable playground for nature lovers'.

Cowley Manor officially reopens under Experimental Group on Tuesday 4 July 2023, when the rooms in the main house will be open for bookings and visitors can experience the restaurant, cocktail club and refurbished C-Side spa for themselves.

For more information and to book, visit

More on Cowley Manor

More from Visit