The Greenway Hotel & Spa refurbishment is set to be a runaway success!
Whether you are looking to spend a few days at the races, touring the beautiful Cotswolds or looking to enjoy a luxury spa break, The Greenway Hotel & Spa is the place to stay. Located on the outskirts of the Regency town of Cheltenham, this twenty-one-bedroom Hotel is a former 16th century Elizabethan manor house. With its warm Cotswold stone exterior, the Hotel looks in every way, the picture of quintessential English country house.
Situated in eight acres of impressive, landscaped grounds & gardens with picturesque views over the rolling Cotswold & the nearby Malvern Hills, the hotel offers luxury bedrooms, a 3 AA Rosette Garden Room Restaurant, a fantastic Elan Spa with hydrotherapy pool, thermal suites, outdoor hot tub, Champagne nail bar & treatments. The Hotel has several delightful spaces to relax after a long day, including a classic lounge and bar with delightful open stone fireplaces, perfect for relaxing with a quite pint, cocktail, cream, or afternoon tea. The Hotel is also the proud owner of 4 AA Red Stars for its service and hospitality.
The Hotel is conveniently located, just three miles from the once fashionable health resort of Cheltenham with its rich history, exclusive retail stores and coffee shops and is only six miles from the County town of Gloucester, making The Greenway Hotel & Spa such a convenient and exceptional place to stay.
On my approach to the Hotel, I passed the entrance Lodge and drove down the old carriage driveway to the imposing façade of the house. Built around 1584 the west front has short wings either side of a gabled centrepiece and small tower like projections with smaller gables between them. Although on a much smaller scale, this is reminiscent of similar features to be found on large Jacobean country houses, reflecting their grandeur, splendour, and importance.
Some alterations and extensions took place between 1835-1865 including the door cases in the old library, which is now the drawing room and there is a fine example of an early Victorian carved wooden fireplace and wall panelling in what was once the dining room, now the panel room. The ornate wooden staircase and chimney piece in the entrance hall would also have been added sometime in the 18th century, when the former Little Shurdington Estate changed its name to, `The Greenway`. The House is named after a pre-Roman pathway which leads up into the hills to Long Barrow, an early burial mound site. Greenway means Grove or Sheep Road, through which farmers would drive their sheep to market, rather than use the wet marshlands and forest tracks of the lowlands.
Since the house was converted into a fine country house hotel around 1946 there had been very few alterations, except for the conservatory `Garden` restaurant until the recent extensive £1.2 million refurbishments to the Hotel bedrooms & spa to help develop & improve their customer experience. All twenty-one of its bedrooms have been revitalised and given its own distinctive colour palette, quality, and character. The layout of each room has also been changed to help create much larger living spaces and more stylish bathrooms. Some of the contemporary design schemes have seen the introduction of marble bathrooms with fashionable features such as roll-top baths & chic brassware; whilst some have drawn on their existing features to build a scheme unique to each room.
A great deal of the inspiration for these changes has come from the hotel itself & its location, the beautiful gardens, and the stunning Cotswolds on its doorstep. Each room is different with intricate details & subtle touches which helps make each individual room stand out.
Local suppliers have created bespoke joinery pieces of furniture such as bedside tables, desks and wardrobes & specialist carpets made from wool. Local furniture & soft furnishing manufacturers were also recruited to re-upholster & re-use some of the existing furniture including period sofas & wardrobes to support the hotels ecological & environmental aims. Many of the rooms have retained their classic style & important historical references, but each has been given a contemporary & modern twist which new & returning guests are sure to appreciate, I certainly did!
When I passed through the classic stone archways into the beautiful entrance hall with its polished wooden floors and patterned carpets, I felt as though I was entering a fine country house, rather than a hotel. I was welcomed with a smile by the reception staff and the checking in was quick and efficient. I was taken up to my room and my luggage followed soon after!
I stayed in a feature room named Willow. It contained a luxurious King double bed backed by a large, framed headboard and a comfortable blue sofa at its front with an assortment of four cushions. There were wooden bed side tables with a smart standard lamp on each side of the bed and a single small spot light for private reading. The bed had four large fluffy pillows, fine cotton sheets & three cushions. On one side of the bed was a recessed wall display and a number of decorative objects such as fine bone China vases and small metal sculptures.
The room was very large with ceiling to floor curtains & deep ceiling pelmets framing classic leaded windows which provided splendid views over the gardens & Cotswold hills on two sides of the room. The large window overlooking the entrance to the hotel also had two comfortable armchairs & decorative glass topped round table & plant. On one side of the room was a small writing/dressing desk, lamp, mirror & chair. There was also a small subtle television in the corner of the room, which I thought was good to see.
The television is not considered to be an important design feature in the room. The decoration of the room was very light & clean, there was very little clutter and just one print of a beach scene on the walls. The décor was minimalist with the focus being drawn to the light colour hues of the walls & ceiling which contrast warmly with the subtle green, cream & yellow, or blue tones of the curtains, pelmets, cushions & furniture. It was a very relaxing space in which to spend some time.
The crème coloured wardrobe in the corner of the room contained not only plenty of hanging space for our clothes but also the omnipresent & much appreciated tea/coffee/hot chocolate facilities including a small packet of cookies! There was also a small fridge with milk & water bottles, coffee machine, kettle, cups, saucers & some glasses.
Entry to the Ensuite bathroom & toilet was through an attractive open archway which leads to a large white roll-top bath with stylish brassware fittings & door which leads guests to the toilet, washbasin & separate shower. There was a good range of excellent quality `Templespa` toiletries. The room was spotless indicating that the housekeeping standards at the Hotel are obviously very high.
After checking out my room I decided to visit the facilities at the Elan Spa. The Spa is an oasis of tranquillity and relaxation. The decoration of the Spa is inspired by the Greenways location in the Cotswolds, a combination of Gloucestershire exposed brickwork, old beams and stimulating vibrant colours. There was a bathrobe and slippers in my bedroom so that I could walk down to the pool and treatments directly.
The Elan Spa offers an oasis of tranquillity and relaxation with a wide variety of luxury treatments in comfortable surroundings. Other facilities include treatment rooms, fitness suite, studio for classes, sauna, steam room & sanarium, experience showers, a Champagne Nail Bar & retail area. It was a wonderful experience to sit in the new hot-tub during the cold month of April. The comfortably warm hydrotherapy pool with power jets and jacuzzi loungers was very relaxing with plenty of comfortable seating around the pool.
I opted for the Back, Face, and Scalp treatment. It included a back exfoliation and massage along with a personalised facial & scalp massage. The treatment lasted almost 40 minutes. The back massage was firm, just as I like it and the masseuse did an outstanding job. The facial was particularly energising, and I always enjoy a scalp massage, so I felt wonderful by the time I walked out of the treatment room. My wife had a Body Wrap – Detoxifying Algae Wrap which was a luxurious wrap which included lymphatic skin brushing, a smoothing full body exfoliation and a deeply relaxing and nourishing scalp massage. She told me it was simply stunning! Thank you, Jane.
In the evening, my wife and I enjoyed a superb meal in the impressive oak panelled Garden Restaurant, with its grand stone feature fireplace, elegant decor and beautiful views over the sunken garden and ornate lily pond. It is the perfect place to enjoy healthy food, agreeable company, and superb wines. It was clearly added as a brick-built conservatory as there was a solid wooden outside door on the inside wall of the restaurant. I was visiting in April but in the summer months the glass doors open out onto the terrace. When the weather is good, guests can also enjoy a game of croquet or take an after dinner or pre-dinner stroll around eight acres of well-tended gardens. A new addition since I last visited is, ‘The Hide`, a covered outside space in the garden which can be used for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, christenings, and weddings. It looked like the ideal place in which to celebrate some of those special, private moments within the sheltered gardens of the hotel.
The food was excellent, and the waiting staff were all very friendly and professional in their service, attentive but without being intrusive. The meal was of a very high standard, beautifully cooked and the presentation was what I would expect at such a prestigious award-winning restaurant. Local suppliers are used, whenever possible, to ensure that only the freshest, tastiest ingredients are used with many of the herbs coming from a small herb garden at the back of the hotel. The restaurant had a convivial atmosphere, and it was good to note only the finest quality white linen and Robert Welch cutlery were set on the table.
The menus change seasonally, Head chef Abhijit Dasalkar and his team working with nature to create flavoursome dishes reflecting a high degree of imagination and innovation, throughout the year.
Amuse Bouche of the Day:
Homemade Sour dough with yeast & marmite & Beetroot Meringue with Cream Cheese
Both dishes were a delightful precursor to the main event!
Smoked Duck & Rhubarb – Smoked Duck breast, duck liver parfait, textures of rhubarb & granola.
A long sliver of duck which was beautifully pink, soft & delicious
Rassam & Prawn – Grilled Tiger prawn, curry emulsion, coconut chutney, southern – Indian style spiced tomato broth
A small glass teapot carrying the hot broth was a charming & practical touch to the dish.
The Main Event:
Ox Cheek – Beer braised ox cheek, baby carrot, baby corn, sweet potato mash & braising liquor
The ox cheek is braised in Guinness & Coke for 24 hours to create a sweet & tender dish – a real triumph! The mash contained the perfect level of garlic & spinach to accompany the dish.
Pork Vindaloo – Vindaloo spiced pork belly, vindaloo sauce, crackling, coconut rice, tomato chutney & crispy kale.
The vindaloo was first class. A very tasty warming dish with a subtle flavouring of the pork so as not to lose the taste of the other components. Included some very fine crackling!
The Final Curtain: Dessert:
Applause all round for two stunning desserts. Both full of flavours & sweetness.
Date & Fig Pudding – Date & Fig pudding, toffee sauce, Tonka bean ice – cream, fig gel & honeycomb
The honeycomb bought back childhood memories of a crunchie bar with the honeycomb sticking to my teeth. The thick toffee sauce was a real delight!
Chocolate & Passionfruit – Milk chocolate crémeux, textures of passionfruit & white chocolate aero.
The passion fruit was very flavoursome & strong! A perfect accompaniment for the milk & white chocolate flavours.
Wine: Uco Valley Mendoza, Malbec, Argentina
The Malbec was a ripe, succulent wine offering aromas of violets, spice, and tobacco, leading to a round, mouth filling palate with flavours of berry fruit and a persistent finish. It was the perfect wine for our two main meals.
Breakfast was terrific and there was so much to choose from; poached eggs on toast, kippers, cereals, salmon, a selection of fruits, yogurts, French pastries, and a cooked selection from the kitchen which including our choice, the full English, surprisingly without baked beans! It was well worth getting up for!
I was spoilt for choice and the tea, coffee and toast just kept coming, when requested! The hot breakfast was cooked-to-order, as well as the help yourself buffet, so all of the food was freshly prepared, tasty, and plentiful!
The breakfast waiting staff were warm and friendly. The food at both dinner and breakfast over the two days was excellent. Care had obviously been taken to source only the best ingredients. The food was well cooked and served by knowledgeable and friendly staff.
The hotel staff had been very friendly and helpful throughout my stay. The high-quality level of service really does make you feel very special. The staff were efficient and polite, and nothing was too much trouble for them, which was really appreciated. All the staff I met were very professional and delivered very high-quality service throughout my stay. They took the time to learn our names and engaged with my wife and I in bouts of genuine conversation.
The décor, furnishings, food, and service were very much in keeping with the age, character, and ambience of this very good 4-star hotel, restaurant, and Spa. It ticked all the right boxes!
A great night’s sleep and excellent breakfast topped off what had been a superb, restful couple of days.
My visit to The Greenway Hotel & Spa was comfortable, relaxing, and enjoyable. The staff, whether we were checking in at reception, dining in The Garden Room Restaurant or relaxing in the Elan Spa always presented a smart, professional, and efficient service. My wife & I both enjoyed an excellent weekend in relaxed surroundings, which we both felt had been enhanced by the extensive & successful refurbishment of the bedrooms, spa, and other public open spaces. Our room Willow had heaps of character & personality & was warm, clean, & restful. The newly refurbished Greenway certainly comes highly recommended from me.
The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 4UG.
Disclosure: My stay was courtesy of Eden Hotel Collection
The views and comments expressed are as usual my own
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