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 ).

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum