The Cotswolds are amongst the most photogenic areas in the United Kingdom, and the Lords of the Manor is a perfect base from which to explore them. This luxurious hotel has the only Michelin starred hotel dining room in Gloucestershire, and is set in the picture perfect village of Upper Slaughter. The building itself is a honey-coloured former rectory that dates from the 17th century. Despite the grandeur of the surroundings, it’s a remarkably relaxed place.
The hotel takes pride of place in the village and there’s a large car park at the back. Pushing open the front door, we were warmly greeted by members of staff. There is a feeling of arriving home that is hard to describe, but apparently quite a few visitors comment on it. You feel like you’re visiting friends living in the countryside. Attention to detail is impressive – when we stayed, it was just before Christmas and the hotel was festooned with decorations and Christmas trees. Named by the Good Hotel Guide as their ‘Country House Hotel of the Year 2015’ and by The Independent as one of the 10 Best Country House Hotels 2016, Lords of the Manor is still privately owned.
The traditional style bedrooms have wonderful views of either the lawns and lake, or the walled garden at the back. With all mod cons including complimentary wifi, you’ll be sure to get an excellent night’s sleep. We were staying in a spacious Rectory Room, situated in the main house.
Just look at the view from our window!
The bathroom is stocked with beautifully scented L’Occitane toiletries and there are fluffy Lords of the Manor bathrobes to relax in.
With three comfortable guest lounges, there’s plenty of space to read the newspapers or enjoy a cocktail, enjoying the crackling log fires in Wintertime. You’ll certainly feel to the manor born!
In Summertime, guests can play croquet on the back lawn and in Winter, there are wellies provided so you can have a walk down to the lake without muddying your shoes. There are 8 acres to explore in all…
They know how to do things in style here and before dinner, you’ll be invited to have a drink in the bar whilst your table is prepared. Our drinks came with a tasty selection of appetizers.
Choosing from the wine list may take some time, as there are 1000 bins! With a huge selection of European and New World wines, all budgets are catered for. The hotel holds occasional Wine Dinners with vineyard owners introducing their wines to guests. Mr Luxe opted for an elegant glass of Lagar de Cervera Albarino 2014 white wine from Galicia in Spain, whilst I sampled a ripe Tuscan Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2013.
The Head Chef at Lords of the Manor is Richard Picard-Edwards, who has worked at Mallory Court and Lucknam Park. Using classic French techniques and the freshest seasonal ingredients, he has retained the Lords of the Manor’s Michelin star which they have held for over 8 years in a row. Before our starters, we were treated to a delicate amuse-bouche of foamy mushroom mousse.
In terms of presentation, my starter was probably my favourite and it didn’t disappoint in terms of taste. A mix of white and brown Cornish crab, it was served with a savoury oyster cream and Oscietra caviar – one of the most prized caviars in the world.
Mr Luxe was delighted with his braised beef cheek with a succulent roast duck liver, celeriac and Autumn truffle – a perfect dish to eat at this time of year, hearty yet subtle thanks to the perfumed truffle.
My loin and haunch of Salisbury venison was beautifully tender and they’d managed to cook it exactly as I’d requested, not too red and not too well-done. It was accompanied with creamed celeriac, sprouts, pickled red cabbage purée, blackberries and a fruity sloe gin sauce. I even ate the Brussels sprouts which has to be a first!
Mr Luxe was not to be outdone and his braised lardo glazed fillet of halibut was equally moreish. Served with chestnuts, butternut squash, crosnes (otherwise known as Chinese artichoke), bay leaf cream and a Thai shellfish foam, it was heaven on a plate.
Before our desserts, we had another nice surprise – a light cleanse palate which also had a mousse-like consistency.
For dessert, I tried something different – an apple and vanilla cheesecake with pistachio purée, poached apples and apple sorbet. I’m not actually a fan of pistachio, though I did find that the flavours all complemented each other very nicely with the tarteness of the apple balancing the sweetness of the pistachio.
I had a soft spot for Mr Luxe’s dessert, a wonderful concoction of coffee, mascarpone mousse and parfait, with Amaretti biscuits and a coffee bean ice cream.
The portions were sensibly sized but by now we were pretty full. However Mr Luxe was keen to have a coffee – could it have been in order to sample these petits fours? I’ll leave you to be the judge…They were rather good!
After one of the best night’s sleeps that we have had in ages – no noise, no light, just peace and quiet – we tucked into a hearty breakfast. You help yourself to cereals and juice from the buffet and then order a dish from the breakfast menu. I went for healthy smoked salmon and scrambled eggs which were cooked just right. Mr Luxe loved the traditional English breakfast, as well as the fresh pastries.
The village of Upper Slaughter itself is a lovely place for a leisurely walk. The disused phone box has been turned into a defribillator – I’ve seen a few of these recently and apparently it’s an initiative between BT and the Community HeartBeat Trust to “adopt a telephone box“, turning them into mini medical centres – what a great initiative!
You can also reach the neighbouring village of Lower Slaughter in under 10 minutes on foot. Further afield, there are lots of interesting visitor attractions and attractive towns and villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water. If you like shopping, the designer outlets at Bicester Village are easily reached within an hour.
For a cosy yet luxurious gourmet stay in the heart of the Cotswolds, the Lords of the Manor takes some beating. It’s one of the most relaxing stays that we’ve had recently and I’d highly recommend it.
Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire GL54 2JD, United Kingdom
Our stay was complimentary for the purposes of this review