If it’s glorious, rolling countryside with good helping of luxury you’re craving, the sumptuous Ellenborough Park Hotel in the Cotswolds is the perfect pet-friendly escape. Travel Editor Helen Baron and her Miniature Schnauzer Django review this dog-friendly gem for StyleTails.
Dry stone walls, hedgerows, rabbits fleeing through empty meadows. Ellenborough Park is like stepping into an Edward Thomas poem. An ancient manor house on the original Cheltenham racecourse estate, faithfully restored so as to reflect its long history which dates back to the 16th century. Formerly a school for girls, in 2008 it was turned into a hotel and it sits imperiously atop the highest point in the Cotswolds hill range – making it an ideal spot for dog walks or hikes. Beyond the hotel’s greenery lies rolling Gloucestershire countryside, and to the northeast you can see the summit, views and wildflowers of Cleeve Hill.
There are 60 bedrooms in total, including ‘traditional’, ‘classic’, ‘luxury’ and ‘tower’ varieties, plus four suites. The dog-friendly rooms are available in the modern outbuildings, which look out onto a green courtyard and come with a roomy cage and bedding. Other features of the room included a sprawling view, flat-screen television and gloriously open, spacious, marble-bedecked bathroom with double sink and double shower and Penhaligon smellies. You can look out at the horses grazing from your patio.
Ellenborough Park is a spa hotel, so there is of course a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna alongside an impressive roll-call of treatments (the hotel is a popular wedding venue). Another major selling point is the hotel’s outdoor pool, heated to a cosy 31 degrees all year round.
Enjoy cocktails amid the hanging tapestries and antique chandeliers of the hotel’s lounge bar, before dining in the wood-panelled Beaufort room – an exemplary gourmet restaurant with food of an experimental bent. The waiters clink silver platters and wheel around trolleys laden with interesting cheese. A hushed and low-lit affair, a cooked and continental breakfast is also served here, while you can head to the more casual brasserie for something less formal with doggy in tow.
Guests arriving on Christmas Eve can enjoy afternoon tea in the Great Hall, a champagne and canapé reception accompanied by a professional harpist, a four course dinner in the Beaufort Dining Room plus mulled wine and mince pies afterwards. Christmas Day sees a special Christmas breakfast served, then champagne followed by a traditional Christmas lunch and a buffet in the evening. Which leaves just a leisurely breakfast on Boxing Day before departing – a snip at £1,250 for a traditional room (based on two adults sharing).
Ellenborough Park Hotel, Southam Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 3NJ, ellenboroughpark.com
Helen Baron is the editor of travel blog letsgetlostblog.tumblr.com, follow her on Twitter @absolutelyedhel
Make sure your pooch looks the part for their getaway with designer travel beds, bowls and carriers in the StyleTails Store www.store.styletails.com