Nestled away in the Cotswolds countryside, a mere 5 minutes from the M5 sits the majestic Stonehouse Court Hotel. A 17th Century Manor house steeped in history at every turn and overlooking the Stroud Valley this is one of those hotels that hits the mark in such a way, you don’t want to leave and I’m not just staying that. We planned our trip around visiting friends in nearby Stroud. We had an itinerary of drinks, dinner and a walk around the grounds at Stonehouse and then on to meet them. However, when it came time to leave both my partner and I pouted at the thought of being expelled into the real world. I didn’t care that I hadn’t seen said friends in a year - I wanted to drink red wine in the paneled bar before languishing in the in room roll top bath and then falling into a deep slumber in the biggest bed you ever did see. Alas, apparently it is rude to bail on your friends that have been looking forward to seeing you for a month and so, the boyf and I agreed on a time where we had stayed just long enough to be deemed appropriate so we could get back to base and make the most of that tub!
Within the hotel are 36 bedrooms, nine of which sit in the original manor house - these are the suckers you want for the full Lord and Lady of the Manor experience. The additional rooms are housed in more modern extensions. We stayed in the Master Suite complete with a super king size bed, roll top bath, walk in shower with views over the valley and all the players you like to see - fluffy robes, coffee machine, mini bar etc. Allegedly Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the very room - hey, if it’s good enough for Liz, it’s good enough for me. The views from this room were quite simply breathtaking, original windows sunken into the stone opening out to offer a vista of rolling hills, lush green fields and huge skies - I honestly just wanted to sip my champagne and gaze at what could be a Bob Ross painting until the sun went down but our in room checks wait for no one.
Once checked in, bed jumped on, sheet thread count checked and mince around the room in a robe complete we decided we should make the most of the last few hours of summer sun and take an amble through the gardens. As we bimbled down the gravel path, through the red brick walls, under the bowing trees we found ourselves on the Stroudwater Navigation canal complete with everything you would hope to see on a balmy summer night in the Cotswolds - weeping willow, a family of swans - goslings all flapping legs and fluffy feathers, someone off in the distance shouting at their Labrador to heel. It was idyllic, the perfect place to walk or sit and watch the world go by.
Returning to the grounds through the very Secret Garden-esque arched pathway, we made our way to the restaurant. Full disclosure, the dining room, in my opinion, does not stand up to the quality of the rooms - think table runners, striped carpets and glassware that could bounce. However, I do accept that I have exceptionally high standards when it comes to all things tableware and restaurant interiors. Our meal was good. We opted for twice baked parmesan and truffle souffle and a scotch egg to start and sirloin steak and lamb breast dish for mains. The souffle alluded that it may have seen a dash of truffle oil during some part of its birth but alas, it was missing the shavings of fresh truffle I was hoping for. The scotch egg hit the spot as any scotch egg should, jammy yolk, crispy breadcrumbs etc. My steak was cooked to perfection and served with proper chips and a vat of thick, rich Bernaise. The FOH team are fantastic - friendly without being overbearing, knowledgeable about both the menu and wine list and happy to help in any way possible. They deserve a special shout out.
After dinner we headed out to meet our friends. Nearby Stroud is only a ten minute drive and is a bustling town full of artists and creatives. If you are staying at Stonehouse Court and want to explore a little more than the hotel grounds, I would highly recommend a day or night bumbling around. With its vast array of cafes, pubs and independent shops there is something to do at any time of the day and its music scene is fantastic so be sure to check out what is on when you are in town.
Sated on red wine, red meat and good conversation we headed back to our base, picking up another bottle of red from the bar on the way, this is what I had been waiting for. The bath to end all baths - deep enough to lose yourself in, full of bubbles, glass of red in hand and log burner burning (yes I know it was a balmy summer night but I wanted the full experience). I can never quite place my finger on what makes a tub in a bedroom such a decadent experience compared to a tub in a bathroom, maybe the absence of the toilet and the promise of what is to come and with that a jolly good sleep et al was had.
Our stay was completed by a full English being delivered to our door to help with any hangovers that may or may not have made themselves known. If a bath at the end of the bed doesn’t scream “I’m a princess and I love it” then chowing down on crispy bacon, fresh orange juice and strong coffee is crisp white sheets most definitely does.
Stonehouse Court offers decadence and convenience for those looking to explore the Cotswolds or break up a grey M5 journey with a spot of luxury. The room prices certainly dictate the level of frill you get and whilst the food offering isn’t exceptional it is very acceptable. The traditional manor house, sitting within the rolling hills is quintessentially British and certainly ticks the boxes of those looking for the Jilly Cooper country escape and because of that, it’s a yes from me.
Find out more about Stonehouse Court here.