Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, a beautiful and sprawling hotel set in the heart of the Cotswolds is the perfect grown-up getaway that makes you feel right at home. As soon as #TeamCoco arrived, everything was taken care of. We toured the beautiful, fountain-filled gardens with views of the surrounding area and felt instantly relaxed. Everything from the manicured gardens to the warm blankets hanging up and wellies waiting for us were cosy, welcoming and quintessentially British.

We then moseyed to the Aquarias Spa and spent our morning relaxing in the hydrotherapy pool, jumping in and out to the Thermal Cabins and Salt Scrub Showers. I indulged in a Oxygen+ Facial and then reclined on one of the Heated Stone Recliners, a must do on a day visit to the spa.

Pre-dinner drinks

Our gastronomic experience began in the wood panelled bar at the heart of Whatley Manor. We were greeted by the manager of the hotel who couldn’t have been more warm, animated and truly passionate about the hotel and the plans for the future. The sun was streaming in through the windows and the plants and flowers outside were making silhouettes on the table as we waited for our botanical gin and tonics. The drinks arrived and the evening began.

The Green Room

The social style of the Green Room is the perfect way to while away a summer’s evening or in the autumn as the nights draw in and ochre hues scorch the wide windows looking into the chefs at work. The space is open from 6pm – 10:30pm each evening and is the perfect prelude to an evening meal in Grey’s Brasserie or The Dining Room. The Green Room can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone dining experience, after all, it truly is exceptional. We were seated on leather stools around the gastronomy bar, ready and raring for the gastronomy “theatre” to begin. The world-class chefs prepared mouth-watering dishes from around the globe right in front of our eyes. Chopping and expertly skewering, cooking, bright flames and grilling were all taking place but the chefs were able to answer every one of our questions while preparing one of the best meals we had ever tasted.

The Senior Chef de Partie, Julian Elkjaer oversees Whatley Manor’s Green Room and recommended wine pairings for the beautifully crafted tapas style small plates he made for us. He has created a menu of dishes such as beetroot, candied walnuts and dates; poached cuttlefish, enoki mushrooms, sauce nage and lardo; and hibiscus on brioche toast. One of our favourites was the Cinco Jotas Iberico ham that was cut off the bone in front of us – we were practically drooling.

Julian worked with the Executive Chef at Whatley Manor, Niall Keating, at the Michelinstarred Kong Hans Kælder in Denmark. Niall joined Whatley Manor in 2017, having previously worked around the world at some of the finest Michelin starred restaurants – Benu, Sat Bains, Kong Hans Kaelder. In October 2017 Niall was awarded a coveted Michelin star in less than a year of him joining Whatley Manor. This award is truly testament to the exquisite dining experiences at Whatley Manor.

Grey’s Brasserie

Having finished what were really our starters in the Green Room, we then walked over to Grey’s Brasserie to continue our meal. Grey’s Brasserie has a warm and buzzy atmosphere, which compliments new menus that include sharing boards and grazing dishes and a full a la carte menu that is adapted to reflect seasonality. We tucked into the chateaubriand of ruby red beef and a selection of seasonal vegetables with wine to match. The restaurant was the perfect place to catch up with loved ones, sample the fresh produce and chow down on some delicious deserts. A great spot for cocktails, dinner and, of course, a Sunday Roast.

Full and very satisfied, we strolled to the exquisite Tudor lounge area of the hotel and enjoyed chocolates and teas by a roaring log fire. This wasn’t just a meal; this was an experience that was truly second to none. As we waved goodbye to the gracious and welcoming staff and ventured out into the starry and peaceful night we wished we were staying in one of the 23 rooms, so the magic didn’t have to stop.

For more information visit: www.whatleymanor.com.

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