First impressions: The first glimpse is over the rooftops of the dinky Cotswolds village of Upper Slaughter, and from there it’s a short crunch up the Lords of the Manor drive to the 17th-century rectory. It has been a much-loved gourmet bolthole for decades, and you still can’t beat The Cotswolds for traditional English romance.
Room for romance: The luxurious beds are made for an extended lie-in, and most of the 26 bedrooms have an uplifting view to wake up to – either facing the lawn with the river beyond on one side, or the walled garden and the village on the other. For a really grand gesture, you can book a classic E-type Jaguar convertible for the weekend, with a picnic hamper in the boot and tickets to Blenheim Palace in the glove compartment. They can also pre-arrange cocktails, wine or champagne to be waiting in your room.
Wine & dine: The food is really the centrepiece of the Lords of the Manor. Its Michelin-starred restaurant will have been a big factor in winning The Good Hotel Guide’s Best Country House Hotel of the Year Award for 2015. Forget about the wedding diet for one night – this is just the kind of place where you want to luxuriate in a long dinner of artistic canapés, rich game, delicate seafood and wonderful puddings. Local ingredients get the five-star treatment by chef Richard Picard-Evans to create impeccable, memorable food. The log fires in the bar and sitting room make a very soothing end to the evening. It’s worth noting that both the food and drink do come at high-end London prices – it’s £85 for the tasting menu and £72 for à la carte, and most cocktails cost a lordly £14. The dining room is formal so you’ll want to pack a dress.
In the morning enjoy some excellent pastries, free range eggs from nearby Great Barrington and bread baked in the next door village of Lower Snell before heading out on one of the charming leisurely walks to nearby villages. The particularly picturesque walk to Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water is a four-hour round trip, and offers plenty of places for lunch and photo opportunities.
We love: The seclusion of the hotel – Lords of the Manor is just the kind of haven that you would appreciate if you were a peace-loving celebrity couple. As it sits on its own eight acres of land, it’s extremely quiet, with only the sound of birds and church bells or the occasional tractor, breaking the silence. If you’re hoping for a weekend where you can really switch off then this is it. No children under seven are allowed into dinner, so there’s no chance of a squawking toddler to ruin the rarefied atmosphere!
We don’t love: Although it was revamped in 2008, some of the bedrooms need another lick of paint, and not all of them get wifi reception.
Go there: Rooms start at £165 per person, per night but see the website for offers and packages.
Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire GL54 2JD. For more information call, 01415 820243, email email@example.com, or visit www.lordsofthemanor.com