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The Greenway, Cheltenham

Kate-Lois Elliott takes a relaxing spa break at The Greenway, Cheltenham

What they say

The Greenway Hotel and Spa is tucked away on the outskirts of the rolling Cotswolds, near the Regency town of Cheltenham. Set in eight acres of stunning countryside grounds, the 16th Century Elizabethan manor house hotel is the proud owner of 4 AA Red Stars reflecting the team’s exceptional service and hospitality: with the sumptuous Elan Spa, the fine dining Garden Room Restaurant and the modern Spa Café.

Sleep

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the Greenway has an Austen-like air about it, feeling more like Netherfield than the great Pemberley. Luckily for me, I always preferred the idea of Netherfield: a ‘small’ country estate with apple trees and vegetable gardens, surrounded by wild countryside. The view from our rooms was stunning, with horses in the fields next door – visible from our own private balcony – and the Cotswold hills in the distance. The room was kitted out with a huge bathroom with two showers and a bath, and a living area with two incredibly comfortable sofas. The wallpaper was a collage of famous horses (Cheltenham is, of course, known for its racecourse), locked in by oak beams and a check carpet.

The Spa

The spa is a popular destination for hotel visitors and locals, who are able to become members and visit whenever they choose. For non-members, you get 45 minutes of spa time alongside a treatment. Spa access needs to be booked in advance, which might sound fussy but it means that the space is never too full to impact your relaxation time. I treated myself to a full body massage, which knocked several stubborn knots right out of my back, whilst being so relaxing that I nearly fell asleep on the table. This was the perfect precursor to my time in the main spa, drifting from room to room in a state of complete relaxation.

The spa was nicely designed and not too big that we were overwhelmed with choice. A Turkish steam room, Swedish sauna and Sanarium were available, as well as a pool, an incredibly warm wooden jacuzzi, which felt more like an outdoor bath, and plenty of places to sit and relax with a book. There is also a fitness suite – if you fancy getting a bit of cardio in – and a large fireplace on the outside terrace.

Dine

We were seated in the Garden Room for dinner and were very excited to get started, as we had already been told by locals in the spa that the food at the Garden Room Restaurant was very, very good.

We were given a delicious lemon sourdough bread and butter to start, with the bread still warm. I often think that a good bread and butter dish is often one of the most exciting parts of the meal (just me?) and it certainly sets the tone for what’s to come!

As a starter, I ordered a beautifully meaty crisp mackerel with an apple vinegary puré. The mix of flavours was an absolute treat for my tastebuds, I wish I could have ordered it as a main. My guest opted for the ham and piccalilli starter. Ham hock terrine can sometimes be claggy or overwhelming but this felt light and still flavoursome – not usual for such a rich dish!

For mains, my guest had the rabbit, which fell apart in your mouth, rich and gamey in a really good way. It came with a potato pie, which was hearty yet light. I went for the three-way pork, which consisted of a braised pork cheek, slow-cooked pork belly and a pancetta-wrapped fillet, with mashed potatoes, garden vegetables and a stunning pork jus. I am a person who doesn’t eat a lot of meat – I only eat it on special occasions – but if this pork dish was available to me on a daily basis, I’d have to rethink that.

For dessert, I ordered the fig and date pudding, which was, in essence, a decadent sticky toffee pudding with a side of fig leaf ice cream, and aptly delicious. My chosen dessert was not something I was willing to share with my guest, who ordered the blackberry mousse and strudel, with decadent cinnamon-filled pear and yoghurt sorbet.

Every single dish we tried was utterly delicious. You could not experience food envy eating here, it simply isn’t possible.

We returned in the morning for breakfast, ordering a full English and an Eggs Royale. The full English was beautifully presented with all the trimmings and though the salmon on the Eggs Royale was a little salty, the sauce stopped this from taking over the dish. They were exactly the right sized portions after the mammoth dinner we’d had, and,  afterwards, we worked the lot off (sort of) with a leisurely stroll around the grounds. I cannot confirm if I picked and ate an apple from their trees during this walk, but if I had, I would say that it put all supermarket apples to shame.

The Crowd

There is a specific kind of person who might choose to holiday in the Cotswolds, but I also felt that the elegant Greenway was accessible to younger mini-breakers.

Out and About

Cheltenham itself is host to many local art galleries, shops and bars, as well as the surrounding countryside and landmarks. You couldn’t be at a loss for things to do.

The Best Thing

The grounds are stunning! The view from the restaurant itself looks like an oil painting, with a great lightning-struck oak sticking out in the middle of the field, looking like a giant stag’s head amongst the rolling greenery. And the food: the food was very, very good.

The Worst Thing

I do wish we could have had more time in the spa, in fact, I wish we could have had a few more days…

The Details

www.thegreenwayhotelandspa.com