24-Hour Room Service: Lower Slaughter Manor, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

There's no getting past the name. And there's a faint disappointment that Slaughter is not a reference to a bloodied battlefield or even an abattoir; it is actually a confused local stab at speaking French. William the Conqueror gave this corner of the Cotswolds to the Norman knight Philip de Sloitre and his reward was to have his name massacred.

It is also about the only disappointment available in Lower Slaughter, an almost eerily picturesque hamlet of stone houses surrounding the imposing 17th-century manor. Built by a scion of Sir Christopher Wren's favourite family of stonemasons, the wonderfully named Valentine Strong, and set in five acres of chestnut trees and striped lawns, it offers a fantasy version of the English countryside luxuriously updated to the exacting standards of the Von Essen hotel group.

Crunching into the driveway at night to see the manor house lit by the soft yellow light of storm candles is an arrival into the most cosseted country living imaginable. His and hers Wellington boots and neat stacks of logs make you look around for a labrador to walk. Ranks of armchairs, sofas and fireplaces demand to be sat upon and tartan blankets have been thoughtfully left for knees that need a little extra love. It's not a setting that encourages spartan eating and the menu on offer is heavy on indulgence. In fact, it is heavy altogether.

The dining room is dressed with chocolate silk walls and modern designer chandeliers. Lords and ladies of the manor can expand into deep, soft banquet seats. And while the award-winning Welsh chef, David Kelman, boasts of local produce, it is the French classics that feel appropriate. Unsurprisingly the atmosphere is subdued – it's a place for murmuring not shouting. There can, by law, be no cigars in the drawing room but a deep list of digestifs bolstered by some distinguished armagnacs cushions that particular blow.

Mornings here were made for sunshine and weddings, of which there are both. Ice buckets full of champagne, a harp on the lawn and a canary yellow Lamborghini serve as reminders that this is a place of wish fulfilment.

The village beyond colludes in the fantasy. Sleepy stone houses line up peacefully on either side of the impossibly gentle River Eye. Two foot bridges offer you safe passage over this unthreatening stream, taunting you to a game of poohsticks among the reeds and ducks.

A stroll away, Lower Slaughter's Old Mill knows its business is nostalgia and offers premium fayre. Ice cream with an emphasis on cream can fortify you for the mile trek to Upper Slaughter. As a woman with more than a passing resemblance to a Second World War wren cycles past with loaves of bread in her wicker basket, it starts to feel overdone. I can't escape the feeling that the ducks are groomed before they're allowed to paddle idly by.



LOCATION

Lower Slaughter Manor, Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire, GL54 2HP (01451 820456; lowerslaughter.co.uk ). The hotel is in the heart of the Cotswolds, around five minutes' drive from Stow-on-the-Wold and 20 minutes from Cheltenham.

Time from nearest mainline station: Moreton-in-Marsh – on the First Great Western line between London Paddington, Oxford and Worcester – is about 15 minutes away. A taxi is about £25; it is advisable to book in advance via the manor.



COMFORTABLE?

We were in the converted coach house. Deep carpets and low beamed ceilings make the otherwise vast rooms cosy. There's a truce between the old and new world with a large plasma screen offering an alternative to the stone windowsill. Robes and slippers hang in the walk-in wardrobe. The bathroom attempts to think of everything from a delightful dressing table to a waterproof television mounted in the tiling above the bath. Each of the 19 rooms at the Manor is decorated differently, with checks, floral, masculine and country-house styling.

Freebies: Molton Brown toiletries in the bathroom; a decanter of rather sickly fruit brandy.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Double rooms start at £250, including full English breakfast. Two-night Winter Warmer weekend breaks in a deluxe room with three-course dinner and breakfast costs £430 per room per night, or £350 during the week.

I'm not paying that:

Then you're unlikely to stay in Lower Slaughter. Nearby Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter offers doubles from £195 including breakfast (01451 820 243; lordsofthemanor.com ), while Yew Tree Cottage in Turkdean is a cosy B&B where doubles start at £80 (01451 860222; bestcotswold.com ).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Day In a Page

    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell