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  The Lords of The Manor Hotel, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire
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Lords of the Manor – Luxury Cotswold Hotel for Flashpacker Foodies

Autumn; season of mists and wellie weather. We city folk seeking country pleasures arrive at Upper Slaughter’s Lords of the Manor hotel, originally a 17th Century former Rectory owned by Henry VIII. Today, it’s renowned as one of the finest hotels in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds with 26 luxurious bedrooms, eight acres of rolling parkland and a superb Michelin-starred restaurant. This enchanting country retreat is a member of the esteemed Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

In 1808 the manor passed to the Reverend Francis Edward Witts. The Witts family were the first Rectors and subsequently the Lords of Upper Slaughter. The peaceful bucolic majesty of this country manor house is indeed a welcome after the frenetic bustle of the metropolis.

Lords of the Manor grounds

Lords of the Manor Witts Bedroom

Right: The hotel grounds

Left: The Witts Bedroom

Our spacious bedroom; eponymously named the Witts, is graced with a large picture window that frames the vivid landscape in the fading light of approaching dusk. It’s a unique room, sensual and beautifully appointed with elegant antiques, fine original paintings from the owners’ collection, an exquisite embroidered silk coverlet on the bed.

Teatime Treats

In the comfortable sitting room my husband, Philip is happy and so am I. What a swell party this is. Before us a heavenly cream tea, which starts sotto voce with feathery finger sandwiches, egg, cheese and cucumber and rises to a crescendo with crispy light home made scones, double clotted cream, fruity, fragrant preserves, washed down with Darjeeling 2009 loose leaf tea, first flush. No ubiquitous spa, gym or pool here to remind us of our avoirdupois.

An afternoon siesta follows, English country style. A bath with fragrant freebies – L’Occitaine and dressing casual chic; no tie, we are ready for the cocktail hour.

The Lords of the Manor Hotel / The Feathers Photo Gallery

No back-lit bottles flash neon American style bar here, but a quiet display of the finest tipples set in the luxurious sitting room with high-backed comfortable chairs and muted lighting; perfect for a quiet chat by the glowing open fire. The music of silence and gentle conversation discussing the rise and fall of stocks and shares, giving credence to our credo – a lot of style, a little flash.

Fine Dining at the Lords of the Manor Michelin-starred Restaurant

Entering the dining room the mood changes. The restaurant is refreshingly light; no cloak of darkness for clandestine canoodling, making it difficult to read the menu.

Head Chef Mathew Weedon, takes us on a memorable journey meandering through his culinary creations using indigenous produce reared and cultivated in the Cotswold hills.

To start: a particularly fine Mosaic of Local Estate Pheasant, interlaced with juicy little bites of Smoked Ham Hock, Great Farm Chicken, Morteau Sausage and Foie Gras, Smoked Sweetcorn, Tarragon, Shallot Rings. Other wonderful first course inventions prevail. Why not Cornish Crab, Pink Grapefruit, Mango, Crab Bavarois, Crab Biscuit for those seafaring guests.

Segueing into the mains: for me another local hero. The palette tickling Roasted Breast and Estate Partridge, Celeriac, Pan Fried Foie Gras, Pancetta, Poached Grapes, Pink Grapefruit and Sauternes Jus. My teeny quibble. Had I the courage, like Oliver Twist I would have held out my plate and asked for more vegetables.

For Philip, Steamed Fillet of Halibut, on a bed of Braised Oxtail, Cep, Shallot Confit, Oxtail Sauce. Intrigued by the unusual mix he forks his way through scale and tail and declares it a winner.

Punctuated by a cheeky little amuse-bouche (chef’s surprise); an amazing combination of Elderberry Mousse with Vanilla Crème Fraiche and Cassis Sorbet & Chocolate served in a petite flute, we are sublimely hedonistically replete but still manage a few slivers of local cheese, coffee and petit fours.

Vintage and Value Wines at Lords of the Manor

To accompany this rare dining experience; a superb but pricey Premier Cru, Pinot Noir, Volnay Roche de Bellene, the ultimate Flashpacker’s medal of satisfaction for those whose wallet can stand the heat. However, there is a splendid range of value wines including a local Sevyal Blanc, Müller Thurgau and Reinchensteiner, from the Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire for £20 per bottle.

The full menu without wine £65, tremendous value for such a gourmet experience.

Country Pleasures – a Cotswold Walk

Next morning after breakfast we are ready for a long picturesque walk. The deciduous trees have shed their golden leaves, spreading a blanket of Autumnal lustre around us. Treading through fields, climbing turnstiles, trailing a river, eventually approaching a gate with a discreet inscription that we are following in the footsteps of Prince Charles and Lady Diana; a poignant reminder of their courtship.

A visit to the Mill House en route, a lovely little riverside teashop with a cornucopia of country clothes and retro-bilia at bargain prices.

Sadly, it’s time to leave this gorgeous, sumptuously comfortable and relaxing country hotel.

Lunchtime at the Feathers

On the way back to London we drop in for lunch at Lords of the Manor’s frisky little sister, The Feathers hotel in Woodstock – a 40 minute drive. It’s edgy, sexy and intimate – perfect for a weekend à deux.

We wish we had more time to spend the night in one of the 16 colourful Left Bank, boutique style bedrooms and dine in the formal restaurant. But we are happy to settle for a very pleasant lunch in the casual Courtyard Bar. A Rare Roast Tuna Nicoise Salad and Baked Crottin Goat’s Cheese, Pickled Walnut, Brioche sets us up nicely for the journey home.

The Feathers Hotel

How much weight did I gain after this deluxe gourmet weekend? Not a pound – but then again I didn't eat between meals – and that probably really helped!

Both hotels offer excellent seasonal packages and corporate room rates.

The Lords of the Manor:
Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire GL54 2JD Telephone: 01451 820 243

The Feathers:
Market Street, Woodstock Oxfordshire OX20 1SX Telephone: 01993 812 291


© Philip and Nina Saville, The 2012-15