Hotels in the Cotswolds are always a pleasure to discover and having stayed in a few places owned by Cotswold Inns pubs and hotels before – the Bay Tree and Lamb in Burford, the Manor House at Moreton-in-Marsh and most recently the Bear of Rodborough near Stroud – I had expected the Hare and Hounds Tetbury to be build upon similar lines: a traditional coaching inn or cosy pub.
A stay at the Hare and Hounds Tetbury
I did not expect it to be so grand-looking, more of a country house hotel with expansive gardens, a vast dining room with huge windows and sprawling grounds including individual cottages, conference facilities and a pub/restaurant just next door.
Built in the 1860s by wealthy landowner Robert Staynor Holford, who also created the Westonbirt Arboreteum (just a few minutes’ drive away) this four-star hotel has 42 bedrooms, some in the main house and some in the separate coaching house – renovated during lockdown – and are furnished in an traditional yet boutique style, combining mullioned windows with splashes of colour, open fireplaces and interesting artwork.
A large downstairs lounge runs the width of the hotel from front to back and contains an abundance of stylish sofas and chairs along with books and games to while away the afternoon but in good weather the gardens and outside courtyard beckon, perfect for morning coffee or afternoon tea. The hare and hounds theme – or at least the hounds part – runs through much of the hotel’s artwork and there are many dog-friendly rooms here if you wanted to bring your pet.
Afternoon tea at the Hare and Hounds Tetbury
We arrived from the Hare and Hound’s sister hotel, the Bear of Rodborough near Stroud, and so were early enough to enjoy a whole afternoon in the sunshine, complete with a welcome prosecco and a cream tea – one was enough for two to share and not ruin the evening meal – and sitting in the summer sun with the Sunday newspapers and absolutely nothing else to do was a delight.
Bedrooms at the Hare and Hounds Tetbury
Our bedroom – once we finally made it upstairs – was also an unexpected treat, larger than I’d expected, and had a brand-new carpet thanks to the enforced lockdown break. This meant the en-suite bathroom door didn’t actually shut, but a quick word to reception and it was fixed in a matter of minutes. As well as double or twin beds, the room contained a large sofa, coffee table, writing desk and an abundance of tea and coffee-making facilities, so we were all set.
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Restaurant at the Hare and Hounds Tetbury
Dinner in the Hare and Hounds’ own Beaufort restaurant was, like the hotel itself, grander than I’d expected, with subdued lighting and sparely-furnished, spaced-out tables (thanks to Covid) adding to the formal atmosphere. While it wasn’t one of those restaurants where you have to dress for dinner, most diners looked pretty smart – probably as a nice change to lockdown casuals – but the cheerful and chatty staff meant meant the mood was informal and friendly rather than stiff and snooty.
The Hare and Hounds Tetbury menu – which is standard across all the Cotswold Inns sites – was simple and classic British, with five or six options for each course including English pea soup, ham hock terrine, grilled sardines, followed by sirloin steak, poached lemon sole, roast lamb and Chateaubriand to share. By a quirk of hotel reviewing we had dined at the Hare and Hound’s sister hotel the Bear of Rodborough the previous day so could compare like-for-like dishes and the Hare and Hounds definitely had the edge, lifting the dishes to something above the menu’s description, full of flavour and quality which matched the impressive surroundings.
Breakfast at the Hare and Hounds Tetbury
Breakfast the next day was equally good even though Covid restrictions meant that any coffee other than filter was temporarily off the menu. I could have done with a stronger brew after a night disrupted by late-night revellers in the courtyard just below our bedroom, who were letting off steam after lockdown until the early hours. I couldn’t really blame them though and it was a delight to wander round the gardens in the sunshine the next morning before heading off to explore Tetbury and the rest of the Cotswolds. Here’s hoping to the avoidance of a second lockdown meaning hotels like the Hare and Hounds can continue to welcome guests without interruption.
Hotel information and how to book The Hare and Hounds hotel
The Hare and Hounds hotel, Bath Rd, Westonbirt, Tetbury GL8 8QL
Rooms at the Hare & Hounds start from £125 for a double room B&B while the top luxury suite with hot tub starts at £255 per night
If you are researching the best hotels in the Cotswolds then you want to also read my reviews of these great hotels: Luxury in the Cotswolds at the Lygon Arms hotel, Broadway; Whatley Manor hotel, Wiltshire: a Cotswolds gem revisited; Barnsley House hotel and spa: cosy Cotswolds luxury; Cosy Cotswolds charm at the award-winning Painswick hotel; Dormy House hotel and spa, Broadway: a stand-out success of Cotswolds hotels
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