A spoiling Cotswold country hotel for couples and families alike, with 2 pools, kids zone, huge grounds and superb spa”
Muted, spacious and very comfy bedrooms are scattered across the main building – a 700-year-old farmhouse – and its outhouses, linked by scrunching gravel paths and privet hedges. Family rooms offer separate kids' rooms (many bunk-bedded), plus a 5-star selection of books and DVDs. With 200 (unfailingly cheery) staff and 2 (Merc-filled) car parks, it's a little larger and pricier than some of our Cotswold boltholes, but worth every penny.
- For us: sitting in the outdoor hot tub, champagne in hand, while our son did (supervised) den building in the woods
- For our neighbours: moonlit strolls in the grounds, and spoiling breakfasts in goosedown beds next morning
- For others, the activities: tennis, electric bikes and clay-pigeon shooting (some need advance booking)
- We enjoyed the smiley-but-never-smarmy service
- We have yet to visit since The Brasserie and The Hive opened
- On arrival, the signposted gravel driveways can make it feel larger than it is
- Spa treatments can get booked up quickly so make appointments in advance
- The outdoor pool is only open in the summer months (May-Sept)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury Hotel
- 34 rooms
- 2 restaurants (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Tennis Court
- Bicycles Available
- Electric car charger
35 rooms and suites are spread across the main building and several barns and stables, family rooms being in the latter. Decor is tasteful and muted with Farrow and Ball olives, wall-to-wall beige carpets, Hypnos-mattressed kingsize beds, halogen spots and bendy-stalked reading lamps. Some sit under sloping eaves, a few boast ancient beams; all have generous limestone-tiled bathrooms with, in most cases, a walk-in shower as well as tub.
Some rooms are on 2 levels: romantic bedroom hideaway upstairs, bathroom with groovy teak-clad tub below. Family Pads get a bunk- or twin-bedded kids' room with its own DVD and inbuilt listening monitor. All are excellently equipped - Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, goose-feather duvets and Roberts DABs. Smallish windows overlook green fields - a couple of rooms are on the dark side - but you can count on "the snuggliest beds in the world" (to quote our son).
- Central heating
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
For all meals (including afternoon tea), head to the refurbished The Brasserie at Calcot, which overlooks the beautiful grounds, where an army of waiters glides among tables bringing fine fare to your table. There's also a family dining nook for high teas starting at 5pm. Parents with smaller fry can switch on their room monitor and relax, or even book a baby-sitter to do bedtimes. Wines range from "everyday drinkers" to classic Chablis and magnums of Moet.
Breakfast, a 3-table buffet supplemented by good cooked dishes ("create-your-own" omelette, smoked-salmon eggs Benedict), sees Boden-clad toddlers frantically colouring in while their parents compare Playbarn schedules. Staff are valiant, the mood benign; no disapproving looks here.
Newly revamped lounge space The Hive offers informal day time light bites, and is the perfect spot for cocktails and pre-dinner drinks.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Family friendly
- Room service
- You could spend several happy days within the hotel: there are 2 pools (one indoor, one out), 2 all-weather tennis courts, a 3km jogging trail around the perimeter, electric bikes to borrow, and 220 acres of rewilded meadowland
- Not to mention a fully-fledged spa offering massage, aromatherapy, facials, wraps, mani/pedi, sauna, and grooming. And there's also the hot tub, gym and free daily activities (pilates, yoga - but you'll need to book ahead)
- Kids will love the Playbarn - perfect for pre-schoolers, with crafts, creche and matronly carers; older kids can head up to the Mez for Playstations, Wii and cinema screenings (book ahead)
- In warm weather, head for the Cotswold Water Park, a mini lake district of fens and lakes, brooks and beavers; there are beach-style banks and high rope adventures, kayaks and birdwatching trails
- If it's wet, head to the antiques mecca of Tetbury : vintage clothes at Qetty Bang Bang, superb lunches at The Ormond and, at the Highgrove Shop, a huge range of organic foods and plants from the King's country home (with planning, you can book a tour of his gardens)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Mountain biking
- Tennis coaching
- Well being
- Wine tasting
This place will spoil families rotten - not just little ones, but parents too. The kids' activities are so good that you won't feel guilty slinking off to the spa; the listening service so reliable that you can really relax over a grown-up dinner. Judging from the families staying during October half-term, it's more popular with toddlers and junior-schoolers than with older kids. Additional activities are arranged for school holidays.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Family bedrooms and suites are set around a flower-filled courtyard in an electronically secured building. Cosy Family Rooms have a double bed and 2 truckle beds in one large space. Comfy Family Rooms have a separate kids' room, either twin- or bunk-bedded, as do Generous Family Rooms which are split-level and some have their own small garden too. The Generous Family Suites are bigger still, with a separate twin bedroom and living area, while two-storey The Cottage has a private terrace, dining area and two ample bathrooms. All can fit a cot.
The Playbarn staff offer evening baby-sitting at very reasonable rates
All family rooms and suites have a built-in monitor
- Baby Boxes with changing mats, sterilisers and more
- Baby bedding
- Stair gates
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The Playbarn (open daily) caters for all ages up to 16; you'll need to book ahead at busy times. The crèche is run by qualified nannies and packed with Hasbro toys. For pre- and early-schoolers, additional activities such as crafts are offered during the holidays; our 6-year-old loved his supervised den-building in the hotel's own woods. For older children, the Mez (mezzanine) has computers, Playstations, XBoxes, Wii consoles and its own 12-seater cinema
High tea is served in the Gumstool around 5.30, and if you come later there's a kids menu (tasty but not hugely imaginative, we thought)
Kids Activities on site:
- Playground with slides and timber towers for juniors
- 2 all-weather tennis courts (must be pre-booked)
- Bicycles to borrow (all sizes)
- Indoor pool (restricted times) and outdoor pool (May-Sept)
- Pirate playship
- Woodland gymnasium
- Assault course
- Mini football pitch
- Nature trail
Kids Activities nearby:
Westonbirt Arboretum is on your doorstep, with some great family trails as well as truly stunning colours in autumn. Cotswold Water Park, Berkeley Castle and Slimbridge Wildfowl Centre are not much further
- Hospital: 10 minutes
- Shops: 10 minutes
For more family-friendly places, see our Kids Collection
Calcot & Spa is in the Cotswolds, 3 miles (5km) from the town of Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
It's easily reached via the M5 (J13) or the M4 (J18) - about 2 hours' drive from west London, or 1 hour's drive from Bristol.
Trains from London Paddington serve Kemble Station (11 miles / 17 km from the hotel) in 1.5 hours. The hotel can arrange a transfer from London Heathrow (about 1.5 hours)
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Bristol 60.0 km BRS
- London Heathrow 150.0 km LHR
- Beach 75.0 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 3.0 km