Words by Irene Caswell
Do you remember the nursery rhyme that begins ‘Dr Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain…’? Well, it poured with rain and gusted with heavy winds on a recent visit to Tewkesbury. It didn’t bother me one jot though as I stayed at the four-star Tewkesbury Park which has undergone a £10 million major works programme over four years.
The renovation scheme included the addition of nine luxury historic suites, two new spa rooms, two meeting rooms, an Orangery, a Cocktail Lounge and the Cotswolds Suite, an events suite complete with a wood-fired pizza oven and terrace.
The park is mentioned in history books as early as the 14th century. Built in around 1870 the original manor is set within 167 acres and is now home to the independent, family owned Tewkesbury Park Hotel and Golf Club. The hotel is beautifully decorated in luxurious country-house style and offers a warm welcome.
As part of the refurbishment interior designer, ADS-Design, have drawn on the local heritage. This is War of the Roses country and the hotel’s suites are named for key players who fought in the famous Battle of Tewkesbury when Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians in 1471 at the ‘Bloody Meadow’ close by.
Country House Style
Fabrics and soft furnishings are of a high quality, including rich-weave fabrics by Zoffany and Osbourne & Little, to create a sumptuous interior. Colours throughout reflect the countryside surroundings with warm tones of blues and teals. Contemporary fittings and furniture blend with more traditional touches, such as sparkling chandeliers and a sweeping staircase, to produce an elegant country home ambience.
There were plenty of relaxing seating areas furnished with plump sofas festooned with cushions. Stacks of interesting books invitingly decorate surfaces in the bar and lounge. The attention to detail throughout is remarkable and it felt as though nothing is too much trouble to ensure guests feel at home. Staff were professional, and yet genuinely friendly, something often lacking even in a five-star hotel.
The first redevelopment phase involved refurbishment of the existing 85 guest rooms – some interconnecting for groups of family or friends – and included new Hypnos beds and 40- inch Smart TVs.
I stayed in the Margaret de Anjou historic suite where the country house style continues with attractive ceramic bedside lamps, crafted woollen cushions and a throw, and a pretty hot water bottle. The King Size bed was extremely comfortable and dressed with beautiful linens to guarantee a relaxing night’s rest.
The spacious suite also comprised a dressing table, a cabinet, two attractively upholstered club chairs and a coffee table. The multiple windows provided stunning views of the landscape. The main feature of the suite was undoubtedly the magnificent copper and ceramic lined slipper bath.
Complimentary guest supplies included coffee pods for the Espresso maker and Clipper organic tea bags. A welcome gift of fresh fruits was attractively displayed. The complimentary Wi-Fi was good, the Smart TV offered a comprehensive programme and a quality bedside radio provided late-night listening to Radio Four.
The bathroom was super modern with a walk-in Grohe rain shower. The guest towels, robes and slippers were complimented with toiletries by regional producer Bramley using 100% natural botanicals. The decoration in the bathroom continued the hotel’s attractive interior design with a charming grey and white patterned tiling.
Mint, Tewkesbury Park’s destination restaurant opened last November. Design is by local interior company, ADS Design who has created a fresh and bright ambience on different levels.
Undertones of limes, peppermints and brilliant greens reflect the simple name of the restaurant and combine to make a stylish interior. Focus lighting on feature walls highlight the displays of fresh potted herbs, ferns and brightly coloured bottles of liqueurs.
The menu at Mint is directed by head chef Anuj Thakur and takes advantage of local ingredients. Lighter cuisine is balanced with more classic dishes – think braised shin of Herefordshire beef with crispy potatoes, salsify, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts and a beef jus. Changing eight times a year, the menu incorporates each season’s herbs from “Winter Mint” featuring mint and sage, to “Early Summer Mint” with mint and lavender.
At dinner I chose an appetising autumnal dish of Beetroot, red onion and mint bhajis. Rich in flavours they were perfectly crunchy on the outside with a deliciously chewy centre, and served with a caramelised fig chutney and pomegranate.
I particularly enjoy fish curries and the Malabari sea bass fish curry with a turmeric coconut sauce was utterly divine, creamy and more-ish with smooth spicy flavours. Layers of sweet pickled onion added a surprising element, a combination of sweet and sharp tastes, to the dish. A house Portuguese Artolas vinho tinto held its own beautifully with the intense curry flavours.
The Cocktail Bar & Lounge makes for a chic setting for pre-dinner drinks or a night cap. A Lounge menu is available throughout the day and in the evening, including afternoon tea.
At your leisure
The Health Club is situated next door to the hotel and the installation of a new wooden-barrel style sauna has added a slightly Nordic atmosphere. The self-contained cabin provides a traditional dry sauna, as well as a warm-up and cool-down area.
The steam room and good sized indoor swimming pool were refurbished last year. The gym equipment, spin bikes, free weights and life fitness equipment supplied by Matrix, have been upgraded this summer.
The area for relaxing around the pool is relatively small but in summer there is also the outdoor terrace featuring a hot tub, luxury handmade Alexander Rose furniture, and stunning views of Tewkesbury and the distant Malvern Hills.
There are two spa treatment rooms located within the hotel. I enjoyed an incredibly relaxing candle massage, one of the best massages I have enjoyed in a while. Products are by the Natural Spa Factory of Bath. Booking in advance is recommended to secure your preferred time and treatment.
Tewkesbury Park is set in 163 acres of undulating parkland. The Golf Club was designed by famous golfer Frank Pennink and opened in 1976. It offers an 18-hole par 72 parkland golf course, academy course, practice range, putting green, pro shop and squash and tennis courts.
The Health Club’s No. 19 café has a pleasantly lively atmosphere for refreshments after a swim, a workout or a round of golf. There is also a small retail area with a modest selection of items.
The hotel admits it has a ‘way to go’ on sustainability, however initiatives include increased insulation, energy efficient windows and doors and low-energy lighting, with motion activated lighting in the hallways. I also liked the fact that they genuinely use local suppliers, from produce for the kitchen to a local designer during refurbishment.
Address: Lincoln Green Ln, Tewkesbury GL20 7DN
Phone: 01684 272300
Tewkesbury Park Hotel & Country Golf Club features 93 rooms and suites in the main hotel and accommodation wing. Prices from £127 (advance bookings).
Tewkesbury Park is five minutes from M5 junction nine and within easy reach of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Worcester. London is just two-hours. The hotel is dog friendly. Tewksbury Park is a Condé Nast Johanssen Award Winner 2019.