Hotel of the Week: The Lygon Arms

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The Independent Travel

Where is it?: On the high street of the olde-worlde Cotswold village of Broadway, 15 miles from Cheltenham. If you plan to arrive in style, use the helicopter pad. Address: Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DU (tel: 01386 852255; fax: 01386 858611).

Where is it?: On the high street of the olde-worlde Cotswold village of Broadway, 15 miles from Cheltenham. If you plan to arrive in style, use the helicopter pad. Address: Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DU (tel: 01386 852255; fax: 01386 858611).

What's it like?Feels as though you are stepping into a vast, yet cosy, barn, full of timbers, latticed glass windows and intriguing flights of stairs that lead you to a number of snug rooms and bars on the ground and first floors, all complemented by antique furniture. Henry VIII wouldn't look out of place here. Part of the Savoy Group.

Ambience?The inn dates back to 1532, though one stone fireplace is thought to have been built in the 14th century. Draws heavily on its historical involvement in the Civil War, in which it served both sides. Oliver Cromwell stayed here before the decisive battle of Worcester in 1651. Its name comes from General William Lygon, who served under Wellington at Waterloo. Perfect for a winter break, when the log fires come into their own.

Service? Staff appear well trained to anticipate the approach expected by different guests. Refreshingly informal for this visitor, although can be stiff and standing to attention, as required by more ostentatious guests.

Rooms?Each room has own character - many with fine antiques. The oldest include the panelled King Charles I Suite, which boasts its own secret passage. Fresh lilies, chocolates and a bowl of fruit await you on arrival.Nights start at £150 for a double.

Food and drink?Formal dress required in the astonishing Great Hall restaurant, where dishes include house specialities such as savoury Lygon sausage with creamed leeks, and more exotic treats such as crab ravioli with Vermouth and sorrel. If you're on a slightly smaller budget, head for the adjacent Oliver's, where £27 a head will fetch three courses including Thai fish cakes, salmon and risotto, pistachio parfait and a bottle of wine.

Things to do?Pop across the courtyard to the Country Club with its swimming pool steam room, sauna, massage room and beauty therapist. Wander around Broadway, full of thatched cottages, cosy tea-shops and olde-worlde charm. Delve into the surrounding Cotswold Hills. Stratford-upon-Avon is just 20 miles away.

Clientele?Rich Americans, Japanese visitors doing the Shakespeare tour of central England, captains of industry and stressed-out business executives.

Awards?Hotel of the Year award from the Heart of England Tourist Board in 1999; Silver Award for Tourism, 1999; RAC Blue Ribbon Award, 1997.

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