24-Hour Room Service: The Lygon Arms, Worcestershire

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Indy Lifestyle Online
PAST BROADWAY'S pretty Cotswold houses and melt-in-the-mouth display of tea shops, you sweep over a short but satisfyingly crunchy gravel drive and under a solidly old-fashioned arch and there you are in The Lygon Arms, the quintessential English country inn (and one favoured, apparently, by such true British types as Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley). Inside the village's architectural supermodel, you find a happy maze of wood-panelled walkways, variously shaped and sized rooms with log fires for cosy rendezvous and, in the middle of it all, the lofty dining room, the Great Hall, with its 17th century minstrel's gallery, gleaming armour and yummy food.

Maybe it's down to the sense of humour of the staff, maybe it's the attention to detail (from crisp white sheets snugly tucked around the beds to the glass of sherry brought to your room before dinner) or maybe it's just because of the hotel's history (look out for the secret passageway that runs down to what was once the kitchen from the room where Charles I slept) but, somehow in the midst of one of England's twee-est villages, this prestigious old place has managed to retain its charm. Heck, even the bar nibbles manage to be tasteful (smoked almonds, fat black olives and neat miniature canapes).

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

The Lygon Arms, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7DU (01386 852255/ fax 01386 858611/ email: info@the-lygon-arms.co.uk)

This is the sort of hotel for one of two occasions: a romantic escapade to make the most of those log fires and crisp white sheets (ask for details); or ask the boss to let you loose in the modern facilities (the swimming pool and steam room and the space-age conference facilities).

Transport: Broadway is right on the A44, so it takes around 45 minutes to drive by car from Oxford and two hours from London. If you're coming by train, get off at Moreton-in Marsh, 9 miles away and get a bus or taxi from there. If that is all just too mundane, use the helicopter pad.

Time to international airport: an almost equidistant two hours by car to either London Heathrow or Birmingham International.

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

Each of the 65 rooms is different, decorated in country style (some with antiques) and en-suite.

Freebies: Gilchrist & Soame toiletries, cherries and chocolates on arrival, use of the Lygon Arms Country Club (including the heated indoor swimming pool and spa bath), plus special goody packs for dogs and kids.

What to book: the King Charles I Suite (he stayed in it before the Battle of Worcester) because of the antique four-poster bed, oak-panelled sitting room and open fireplace.

Keeping in touch: All rooms have phones, TVs, radio and CD players, Internet access, personal voicemail facilities and fax and modem points.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Single rooms cost from pounds 118.40 per night, double rooms from pounds 206 and suites from pounds 323. A family suite is also available for pounds 347 and the price includes continental breakfast (either in The Great Hall or delivered to your room) and a free copy of a slightly lower quality daily newspaper than this one.

What about those special breaks? Packages (the current favourite is a tennis weekend) include "Midweek in the Cotswolds" (two nights' accommodation for two people plus English breakfasts, table d'hote dinners and use of the health facilities) from pounds 550 and "Champagne Inn Style" (same as the above, any night of the week with a bottle of champers thrown in), from pounds 610.

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