Lucknam Park is a heavenly retreat for exploring the Cotswolds
The Cotswold’s is a beautiful destination no matter the time you visit. As I head to Lucknam Park, a luxury country hotel in the Cotswolds near Bath, I am overcome with the Autumnal beauty that surrounds. Freckled sunshine drapes on bright auburn leaves both filling the trees and carpeting the floor and cobbled streets play host to country pubs with hearty local grub and flickering fires. The Cotswolds is a place for any traveller, beckoning the city-weary for weekend retreats whilst also retaining its homey charm for local residents. It’s quiet, it’s calm and it’s beautiful – and Lucknam Park Hotel is no exception.
We drove round to the front of the Hotel (as it was beginning to drizzle) where our car was valet parked round the corner and our luggage brought in by a friendly porter. We were checked in smoothly and efficiently and because our room was not yet ready (we managed to avoid any traffic heading up from Brighton so arrived around 12 midday) we were led to a cosy lounge for a drink while we waited. And this is how at lunchtime midweek I found myself sinking into a sumptuously soft sofa in a room filled with charming homey elements – elegant armchairs and picture on the walls, with a swish carpet under foot – a freshly brewed tea pot in hand and a competitive game of draughts on the table. For that is what country escapes are about – forgetting the drag and draw of city life and falling into something much more simple and less technologically focused. It’s a real treat to leave behind emails and Facebook messages, Instagram posts and Tweets and to just be. Time feels slower here, but more valuable. You don’t need to know the time and that is one of the treasures.
At around 1pm we are told our room is ready, so head away from the puffing fire, down a few corridors, up some stairs and to our room. There are 42 rooms at Lucknam Park Hotel, with six different types of room – from classic (but still luxurious) to the Grand Master Suite. We stayed in one of the Grand Suites – the middle of the suite category. It was set out beautifully, with a separate lounge area hosting a sofa, table and a TV perfect for snuggling up with a movie after dinner. The bedroom was dominated by an utterly beautiful four poster bed facing a window with enviable views that flooded the room with light. The room continued the theme of quintessential elegance, combining practicality (there’s a host of storage space and room to walk around) with refined antique furniture and beautifully unique features. The bathroom was more modern with a beautiful marble interior and enviably large bath-tub and ESPA toiletries.
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Dining at Lucknam Park
Dining options at the Hotel include a fine dining destination Hywel Jones – with an impeccable menu served against a backdrop of crème walls with elegant curtains and portraits to the walls, or the more relaxed Brasserie. Stylish and contemporary the brasserie is the perfect location to chill; with a selection of delicious menus and a wine list to match. The menu is vast and varied with a plethora of dishes to satisfy the fussiest of palette. Pizzas drizzled with chili oil and melted mozzarella sit alongside chunky steaks and chicken dishes – each paired with an enviable selection of wines. Churros for dessert are an instant winner. The Brasserie is all you want for a dining option in the Cotswolds, it’s comfortable yet luxuriously so, with food that is worth coming out for, yet makes you feel right at home. The atmosphere is friendly, soothing and captivating and as we sit and sip a glass of cabernet under the faze of the stars from the large glass windows it makes it easy to relax.
The spa at Lucknam Park is like leaving behind everyday life and entering a haven of utter bliss. The halls smell of toasty-hot towels and essentials oils, the air is filled with soothing sounds and you instantly feel yourself relaxing. Set within the estate’s 500 acres of unspoilt parkland it is at one with its surroundings, incorporating wood, marble and glass to match the warm season hues beyond the windows. There are eight-state of the art therapy rooms, five thermal cabins, experiences showers and a relaxation room, however the real highlight is the main pool. Set against a cool stone backdrop with moody lighting, a fireplace stretches across the wall, sending warm, flickering hues to skim the water. It’s not only mesmerising to look at but fills the room with a comforting glow ideal for both when you are swimming and when you are reclining on one of the heated beds with a magazine and a glass of fruit-infused water. Another real highlight is an outdoor therapy pool which you get to by swimming through from an indoor hydrotherapy pool. As the sun goes down it’s the perfect place to lay under the bubbling water and watch the sky, with lights coming on as it turns to dark, encasing you in a bubble of escapism.
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There is a social lounge for a placed to relax before your treatment as well as a new mixology bar for your skincare needs. ESPA products are on sale in the lounge for you to purchase and continue to reap the spa benefits long after you get home.
When the weather is nice be sure to take advantage of the sweeping grounds with a number of beautiful gardens to explore. From a Walled Garden (the oldest dating back to the 1830s) to a Rose Garden and to the deliciously fragrant herb garden and Arboretum which covers 1.5 acres of parkland. Explore the plants and flowers when the sun shines, or if you head later on in the year, simply don your wellies and go for a crunchy walk through the leaves.
Be sure to indulge in breakfast when dining at Lucknam Park – you’re guaranteed to be won over. There are a host of delicious morning treats such as porridge or eggs and a continental buffet, but it would be a regrettable offence to not try the full English. Let’s just say it sets the bar high for all future breakfasts!
Lucknam Park is a Hotel that combines all you could want in a restorative break away. It is beautiful and classy yet it is not pretentious. The staff are attentive without being overbearing and it is in a location which offers real tranquility. No matter how stressed, overwhelmed or tired you feel when you arrive, you will leave feeling restored, relaxed and happy. And if that’s not the main aim of a hotel stay, then we don’t know what is.
Lucknam Park Hotel
Seen in the City was hosted by Lucknam Park, a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels collection (never more than 50 hotels, to guarantee quality and exclusivity). The beautiful Palladian mansion was built in 1720 and is just six miles from Bath. Its wonderful facilities include a Cookery School, an Equestrian Centre, a Spa and Well-Being House, The Brasserie, and the Michelin-starred ‘Restaurant Hywel Jones’. The range of treatments in the spa includes the 60-minute ESPA Inner Calm Massage (£102). A one-night stay in a classic room costs from £305 per night (two sharing) including use of the spa. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929, www.prideofbritainhotels.com).