A perk of my professional life: I get to see a lot of sexy bedrooms. No, I’m not a high-class hooker – my day job is editor-in-chief at Mr & Mrs Smith. And with Valentine’s Day coming up I thought it my duty to navigate you to some love nests, should a romantic escape be on your mind….
And who says you need to go on 14 February? Surely it is aphrodisiac enough to know you have a date in the diary to one of these Valentine hotels… Particularly as we have a £100 gift voucher to give one lucky Park Life reader.
Tweet us Facebook us or Instagram us a photo of you and your Mr or Mrs Smith, or your dream hotel bedroom, and tell us why you should win @ParkLifeBlog @Smithhotels – and you might!
Dormy House (above)
Reinvented rustic retreat with brand new spa
Fresh on the Cotswolds scene, this 17th-century farmhouse was given 21st-century wow by Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons’ interior-design talents, Todhunter Earle. And from February prepare to be pampered here at the brand new House Spa. Broadway’s been in my heart since my artist grandmother lived there in the Seventies. No doubt this Worcestershire enclave, with its biscuit-coloured stone farmhouses and rolling fifty-shades-of-green hills, has launched a thousand watercolours. Here on the circuit of Cotswold’s cutest villages, I didn’t expect exemplary modern style on the Farncombe Estate. A refurbished country-house hotel, it’s a refreshing and imaginative reinvention of a classic, complete with first-class dining in the elegant Garden Room and the low-key-but-lovely Potting Shed. The same family has owned it since my Mamacita’s days. They’ve chucked out the faded chintz, retained the much-loved manager (David Field started in 1982 as a porter) and lavished the 17-century property with dazzling wallpaper, quality upholstery and quirky curios sure to please interior-design snobs.
Rates: Double rooms from £141.67, excluding tax at 20 per cent. Valentine’s Weekend rates at Dormy House start from £250 per night, based on two sharing and including VAT and breakfast. How to get there: Get there in under two hours. Hit the M40 and then the A44, take the Saintbury turn off and you’ll see signs for the hotel.
Low-key but luxe lodgings with aga and larder
This luxury bed and breakfast set on a 260-acre working farm near Pershore is sweet in itself, but add to that Eckington Manor Cookery School across the courtyard and it’s especially appetising. 15th-century on the outside with an utterly up-to-the-minute interior of Designers Guild-enhanced sofas and Fired Earth-endowed ensuites. Set up by Judy Gardner who founded and ran Garner’s pickles, she’s the friendly face behind this business run by her and her daughters. Room Five is spacious and striking, and comes with an original-beamed sloping ceiling; there’s also a huge TV that begs movie-watching from bed. Room Three has a spectacular weeping willow-embroidered silk wall feature commissioned from Fromental, as well as cute purple love chairs and a lovely mosaic ensuite. The Deluxe Suite in the Cyder Mill – beautifully renovated barn – stretches the length of the building.
Rooms from: Doubles from £108.33, excluding tax at 20 per cent. How to get there: Hit the M40 and A40 and head towards Cheltenham. Pershore is just north of Tewkesbury. Should take two and a half hours max.
Calcot Manor (above)
God forbid you have to take the kids away on your supposedly seductive sojourn: but actually thank goodness for family-friendly hotels like this if you do have whippersnappers in your life that you can’t ditch find suitable childcare for. Amid Gloucestershire’s leafy rural roll, Calcot Manor hotel offers the acme of family escapes, with child-geared facilities at every turn as well as a parent-pampering spa and an indoor pool as well as an outdoor hot tub. Rooms designed especially for families, an all-day crèche, a kids’ tea every day and a special swimming pool for little ones make Calcot a strong contender for ‘Most child-friendly grown-up hotel in the UK’. Family Suites have a separate sleeping area for little ones, with twin or bunk beds, but we say opt for a Large Family Suite: spread over two floors, they have separate kids’ bedrooms, dotted with teddies and toys, and a private garden. Great for those with tweens, the duplex Deluxe Family Suite has two single beds upstairs, and a lounge area downstairs leading into a four-postered master bedroom. The rooms in the main house are reserved for those without nippers in tow. Our favourite discovery when we visited was the neatly appointed corner room with bunk bed, which blended into our room so effortlessly that we completely failed to notice it on our first exploratory circuit. It comes with an intercom system that feeds directly down to reception, which means that we’re going to be able to enjoy ourselves and dine like adults. And you will want to do that – the Gumstool Inn is the cute pub, and the Conservatory is the more grown-up affair.
Rooms from: Doubles from £108.33, excluding tax at 20 per cent. How to get there: About a two-hour drive from London via the M4. At junction 17, take the A350/A429 exit to Chippenham/Cirencester and the village of Tetbury is just a short drive north of the M4.
Book any of these hotels through mrandmrssmith.com. Mr & Mrs Smith is an award-winning hotel website, booking service and free-to-join travel club, specialising in finding the world’s most inspiring boutique hotels.