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“Chill in the country”
Review of Cowley Manor

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Cowley Manor
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cowley
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Chill in the country”
Reviewed 6 November 2008

Very chilled out. Nice rooms and a Great pool. A bit pricey now, but still worth it for a romantic weekend escape.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank BristolianCV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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830 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (180)
Date | Rating
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English first
Surrey
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2008

We booked this hotel as we were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary with friends. We were leaving our little girl with grandparents. We were attracted by the location, the spa and the overall facilities. I don't know what happened to negative reviewers but our experience couldn't have been better.

Having spoken in advance to the Deputy General Manager, Laurent, he reassured us that the food and service were of the highest order and he was right. He offered to meet us at check in and he did and his staff were superb all weekend. The atmosphere is very casual with staff very keen to ensure that you have a good time. The attention to detail is good and they are clearly happy and proud to be part of a small distinctive group.

The Accomodation was exceptional. Very modern, very trendy. We were in room 15 in the stable block which we preferred to the manor house itself. Huge bath, very powerful shower and lovely toiletries.

The outdoor pool was very welcome on the rare sunny day of the summer. The spa treatments were as good as we have had anywhere in the world.

We ate in on both evenings. The food was very fresh with locally sourced produce. Unusually, the wine list had good reasonable wines at sensible prices. A pre-dinner drink on the south-facing terrace was a great way to start the evening and cocktails playing pool or lounging in the bar a good way to round things off. It was a shame the pool room closed at 11.30 given there are bedrooms above, but hey ho.

We probably wouldn't opt to come here with our 3 year old as there is no longer a creche although the staff reassured us that children are welcome and they were in evidence over the weekend. I might be doing the hotel a disservice here as children are welcome.

I would highly recommend this hotel for romantic breaks, a weekend to unwind and relax in beautiful countryside. There is also a very good pub 20 minutes a way serving good pub grub and good local ale. If you are a traditionalist you may not like what they have done with the interiors here but I would suggest that this is a much more sensible alternatibe to the vastly over priced Babington House.

  • Liked — Huge bed, luxurious linen. Bathrooms very impressive
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Frequenttravellers2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2008

I have been visiting Cowley since it first opened and wrote one of the first reviews on this site. I recently came back from one of my reasonably regular trips to the hotel & having done so, was pretty amazed by reading the negative comments here.

I stay a lot of traditional & boutique hotels around the world & consider myself to be pretty picky and critical... Cowley is the one place I always find difficult to fault. ok, so there's the odd thing sometimes but there can always be a blip/occurence that is nobody's fault really but i find it's always handled in a pretty professional manner.

I think sometimes people go looking for faults or problems. i've seen it happen, not just at cowley but other places & its usually because they want some recompense.

Stayed June 2008
Helpful?
Thank craigwilliamsLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2008

My husband and I were at Cowley as guests at a wedding, and we simply couldn't fault it. It's one of the best places we have ever stayed, and the wedding itself was faultless, and memorable in every way.

If you are thinking of getting married here, don't think twice. The weddings take place in a wonderful little chapel right next to the manor. It only seats about 60, and the seating is not very comfortable, but the service itself was wonderful, although the list of rules was a shame - no photos, no confetti, etc etc.

Whilst the photos were taken, guests were treated to champagne, Pimms and canapes on the huge terrace overlooking the amazing grounds. Simply beautiful. The weather was kind ... I guess if it had been raining it may not have been so fab!

The wedding breakfast was superb, the food was amazing, the setting fantastic and the service faultless. I guess a case of you really do get what you pay for!

We stayed in a mid-range room (no 24) (£330 per night including breakfast, although this was subsidised by the bride and groom). Absolutely amazing. Huge room, equally huge bathroom (lovely little toiletries in abundance). Towels were large and fluffy. Plasma TV (a little low - watching in bed was difficult). Mini bar (expensive - £3.50 for a large packet of crisps - yes, really!). No tea & coffee making facilities - disappointing. The bed was the most comfortable I have slept in, the request for no feathers was no hassle (I rang in advance and it was confirmed on arrival), the linen was second to none. The view over the grounds was fab.

Every member of staff I came across was second to none. Couldn't do enough for you (but not in an overbearing, uncomfortable way).

The breakfast was fit for a king, fresh orange juice, fresh ingredients, service immaculate. The coffee was disappointing. It always arrived in a glass cafetiere, already plunged. I definitely wish I had taken a travel kettle and some good old Nescafe.

The spa area is OK. The pools looked lovely - one indoor, one out - but we didn't try them. I booked a "karma" treatment which was basically a one-hour massage. It was amazing, and highly recommended. I was slightly surprised that there was no real relaxation area in the spa - there are the treatment rooms, and then the 'wet area' - but nowhere to sit and relax.

The grounds really are breathtaking. Take a walk round. Numerous lakes, ponds, fountains, woods, open areas. Lovely lovely lovely.

So, I didn't see any of the negative things which other reviewers have picked out. Maybe they pull out the stops if it's a wedding? The only real negative for me was the amount of children there were. On the morning we left, numerous children were arriving, all running seemingly unsupervised around the place, and the pool was full of them. I am not a child hater, I have one of my own, but if I am to pay upwards of £300 a night for a hotel, I prefer not to have mine with me, but equally I expect not to have such a wonderful retreat spoiled by noisy babies and toddlers whilst their parents relax, oblivious. This really is not a place for children, there are no facilities for them.

I do think this place is on the expensive side, but I would definitely go again for a special treat.

  • Liked — Superb attention to detail
  • Disliked — Weak coffee & noisy children
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank juliaplynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London (but am from Melbourne, Australia)
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2008

This property is one of the prettiest settings of its type - unfortunately that's about where it ends!

As described by some of the other reviews Cowley Manor is a BIG disappointment. A number of examples of why this is so include:
- We arrived hoping to book in for a treatment at the acclaimed spa only to be told quite rudely by the staff at the spa that there was not a single appointment available during the 3 days we were staying - there was no promting on booking to make an appointment which is an easy fix to prevent this. There was no apology for this either
- The staff were inexperienced and semmed disinterested in the people staying in the hotel
- The food in the restaurant was certainly not of the standard you would expect of a hotel of this price bracket and during dinner I had a champagne ice bucket dropped on the back of my chair twice
- The bathroom products were not replaced despite being empty following the first night of our stay

This hotel has very limited facilities compared to other similar hotels such as Babington House. If you are looking to spend this type of money I would suggest you go to Babington House which is leaps and bounds ahead of Cowley Manor both in terms of facilities, service, food, rooms.

This hotel seems to have no regard for the enjoyment of its guests and I will not be going back! I recommend you save your money and go elsewhere.

  • Liked — Setting
  • Disliked — Everything Else
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank AusinLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2008

OK, so the first time I reviewed this place was back in 2004, and I was a bit gushy, but it was the best hotel experience of my life at that point. It's still very very good, but our recent visit found that the standards have dropped.
Service: We had to ask repeatedly for food and drink. Staff seemed to be missing. Sundays might be quieter, but I'm not getting a discount now am I? They've also started employing European migrant workers, like everywhere else, and thats fine, but it helps if they can understand what your saying, otherwise i dont see how you can stick them in customer facing roles. I dont mind having to explain what I want in plain english a few times to someone who is clearly eager to please (if unable to understand how), but its a little frustrating when your paying top dollar for this confused service. Just a thought.
Decor: Nothing has been replace in 4 years. It doesnt look like they've even had a lick of paint anywhere. The hall carpets are starting to look dirty and worn.
Food: Not as good as it was.

Sort it out Cowley - you have a gem of a hotel, but you're letting it slip.

  • Liked — it's pure decadence
  • Disliked — they are losing the edge
  • Stayed September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank spawnee-tim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
51 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 207 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2008

This was our second visit to Cowley only this time we were with our 16 month old daughter. We were worried given some of the reviews on this site but location was convenient for a family party and it is quite child friendly. We booked the 'Best' room.
Good points:
- the room was lovely - contemporary and spacious with a huge private terrace
- bathroom was marvellous - spacious and very modern with a bath big enough for all three of us!
- the grounds are very impressive - very large and beautifully maintained. Loads of space for little people to play and run around and for adults to enjoy picturesque views
- the swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) are lovely and very large
- the communal spaces are large and comfortable. Although contemporary they are not unwelcoming. We did not feel that theses spaces look worn as some people have mentioned - and believe me I scrutinised the sofas for staining and marks!
- staff were very tolerant of little people and we felt comfortable with our daughter there. They provide high chairs and a complimentary childrens tea at 5pm which was a nice touch
- we very much appreciated the complimentary bottle of champagne in our room

Not so good points:
- the spa treatments we had we did not feel were up to scratch with very young and seemingly inexperienced therapists
- the changing rooms in the spa are looking like they could do with a re-fit and are very small and cramped
- we were disappointed that the creche had closed as they do not make this clear on their website
- the meals were very hit and miss - mostly miss. I had one of the worst evening meals ever after ordering a halibut fillet that was so full of bones that I could not eat it. Sticky toffee pudding was dry sponge with a sauce. Breakfast saw a version of eggs benedict with hollandaise substituted for mature cheddar melted. Really ghastly! Lunchtime sandwiches were very basic and expensive.
- my daughters fruit plate included blueberries that were mouldy
- the hotel is horribly understaffed and some of the staff are very young, very inexperienced and inefficient. For example, we ordered a pot of tea in our room which turned up with no milk, sugar, or spoons. The young waiter apologised and returned after a while with milk and sugar but still no spoons! The spa was terribly understaffed with one young guy trying to hold it all together while training a young lady who could not understand or speak much English.
- some of the reception staff could not understand or speak English well enough to be helpful with queries (we gave up in the end)
- we got the impression of very low morale amongst staff
- we experienced the manager of the hotel being extraordinarily rude and aggressive with his staff in front of guests which left us with a very bad taste in our mouths.

Summary - the hotel is not terrible but there are lots of issues that you would not expect given the price you pay. We did not feel it was value for money. It feels especially cheap to have so few trained experienced staff in such an expensive hotel - it makes a huge difference to the guest experience. We felt that we were rather being taken for a ride and someone was having a huge laugh at our expense. We have paid less and had a much more positive experience at Babington House. On the basis of our experience we won't be returning to Cowley Manor.

  • Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Noo36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cowley Manor

Property: Cowley Manor
Address: Near Cheltenham, Cowley GL53 9NL, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cotswolds > Cowley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cowley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Cowley Manor 4*
Number of rooms: 30
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Also Known As:
Cowley Manor Hotel Cowley
Manor Hotel Cowley
Cowley Manor Cotswolds

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