Hotel Review: Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire
A country retreat in a grand manor house, Ellenborough Park is a beautiful place in which to step back in time and unwind in Cheltenham.
The hotel has a traditional, classic and refined feel to it with part of the building dating back to 1485 when it was built with Cotswold stone. With a heritage like that I wouldn’t expect sleek and shiny décor and that is not what you get; Ellenborough Park retains an understated elegance beneath its grandeur and holds classic features such as wood panelled walls in the dining room and lounge.
Outside the manor consists of a beautiful stone building with a sweeping drive around the grounds allowing you to take in its beauty. You won’t fail to notice Cheltenham race course and grandstand on your way through as the hotel sits in the course grounds and is a short walk away. Ellenborough Park pays homage to this with images of horses, jockeys and races featuring heavily in the bar and brassiere as well as the three luxurious suites being named after famous race horses.
My guest, Nick, and I stayed in Kato Star, which emanated luxury, class and elegance. The large lounge and bedroom area had triple aspect views with the glorious bathroom completing the full 360 degrees set. Gazing outside I could see the Cotswolds, a steam train in the distance and, closer to home, the beautiful grounds with children swinging from a rope swing on a tall tree – it was like something out of a book! Inside the sumptuous suite, designed by Nina Campbell to reflect the finest traditional country house style, I felt like lady of the manor. Situated in the main house, the spacious room held a large and comfortable Hypnos bed, rich dark wood furniture and a luxurious bathroom. Thick striped wallpaper in two shades of subtle blue/green covered the room, while cream floral blinds and curtains surrounded the many windows. A soft beige sofa, two dark blue and cream armchairs and a long window seat offered a comfy place to sit upon the patterned pale brown and beige carpet. A dark wood headboard matched the rest of the furniture (wardrobe – quite high to reach the rail though! – chest of drawers, writing desk and lamp tables) while gold and brown frames held various images and pretty blue and white urns were dotted about the place.
The bathroom was less classically decorated than the main room; it was light and large and held all the luxuries you could wish for. A double walk in shower, double sink (I love a double sink!) heated floor and a roll top bath with plenty of Noble & Isle toiletries were at my disposal. A separate loo off the main suite offered a second toilet and a dressing table and mirror was sectioned off next to the bathroom to create a vanity area. It was all pure decadence and we thoroughly enjoyed staying in this suite.
Executive head chef David Kelman holds numerous awards including 3 AA rosettes as well as appearing on The Great British Menu 2015, winning the Welsh heat. He runs the resident restaurant The Beaufort Dining Room at Ellenborough Park, where you can enjoy British cuisine presented artfully and full of flavour. Nick and I enjoyed a three course dinner here during our stay – read my full review here.
Food is also served in the brasserie if you’re looking for a more casual approach to dining. A mix of bare stone and olive green painted walls, beams and dark wood tables greet you and a wood burner warms the cockles. There’s a set lunch menu (2 courses for £19 or 3 for £23) including items such as soup of the day, minute steak and a chocolate brownie with ice cream. We enjoyed some sandwiches, which were full to the brim with our chosen fillings.
Breakfast is served in The Beaufort Dining Room and offers quite a spread. Hot items included a soft poached egg with smoked salmon or haddock, eggs Royale, Benedict or Florentine, boiled eggs and soldiers, Cotswold full English or porridge with honey, maple syrup, sugar or whiskey cream. I opted for the eggs Florentine, which had one muffin, one egg and plenty of spinach, while Nick had a portion of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. There was a good selection of teas and the cold buffet had plenty of Danish pastries to choose from as well as cheeses, breads and juices.
There are 5 private dining rooms to choose from if you fancy throwing a do, all with allocated waiting staff. Afternoon tea in the lounge also seemed popular during our visit (we were saving ourselves for dinner but it looked tasty). We felt very comfortable in the public rooms, enjoying a game of scrabble in one of the reception rooms (I won) during the day as well as a pre dinner drink in the lounge. The décor was cosy with tall windows, decorative ceiling panels and low comfortable armchairs on which to relax.
Although I ran out of time to visit it, there is a spa offering up a Jacuzzi, pool, sauna, steam room, sensation showers, an outdoor heated pool and a poolside bar. There’s a relaxation room where you can rest after a spa treatment, which include massages, facials and full body scrubs combining Eastern and Western techniques. And if you’re feeling like you require a work out on your travels, there is a fitness suite too.
Situated on the outskirts of Cheltenham Spa, Ellenborough Park is truly a retreat where you can relax, eat, take in a long walk with your dog or enjoy many an activity with your family. It is welcoming, comfortable and luxurious with stunning views – you couldn’t ask for much more!
CrossCountry trains offered me a swift service and a comfortable ride. I was travelling on a weekday in first class, which meant I was truly spoiled with very regular offers of hot drinks, snacks and small meals with the option to buy other items if I wished.
Address: Cheltenham Rd, Southam, Cheltenham GL52 3NJ / 01242 545454