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My boyfriend and I decided to have a long weekend away. We were going to a Doctor Who event in Aldbourne, Wiltshire on the Saturday and we were planning to get engaged in the village on the morning, so we wanted to spend the Sunday and Monday in somewhere pretty and romantic. We had booked into the Holiday Inn, Swindon for the Friday and Saturday nights, as it was close to Aldbourne, but were looking for something a bit more special for the next night.
My boyfriend went onto booking.com to see if he could find anywhere in the Cotswolds that fitted the bill. There was an offer on at the Hatton Court Hotel in Upton St. Leonards, which is a three star hotel and sounded perfect. We could get a Superior Double room for just £44. A "Superior" apparently "features a Jacuzzi bath, luxury bathrobes and scenic views" and usually cost between £75 and £140 a night, so the £44 offer seemed a bargain and we booked it online.
We had a lovely engagement on the Saturday and enjoyed the drive through the pretty countryside from Wiltshire to Gloucestershire on the Sunday. The hotel was easy enough to find, although there are lots of windy roads to get there, so it was just as well we were in our smallish car. There are signposts for the hotel and there is a pub not far away, if you fancied venturing out of the hotel at some point.
We arrived at the Hatton Court Hotel and it was lovely, a very impressive large building with great views. There is lots of free parking too, so that was helpful. We had our check in booked for after 3pm and we were a few minutes early, but it wasn't a problem. The receptionist was friendly, welcoming and efficient. She explained where our room was and asked if we needed help taking our luggage up. I asked about the restaurant and she said it was open from 7pm if we wanted to book. Our £44 deal didn't include breakfast, but she said if we booked then, it would only cost us £6 each instead of £10 if we ordered on the day, so we booked then. Breakfast on Mondays is from 7:30am to 9:30am.
We went to our room, which was number one. It was up lots of stairs and round corners, but it was all very pretty and completely unlike the Holiday Inn, with its long corridors and identical rooms. We even had a proper key for Room Number 1 and it was situated in its own 'wing' and not too near any other rooms.
We have stayed in lots of hotels lately, but this one was easily the best. The Hatton Court Hotel has the kind of rooms you could happily live in! Our rooms were decorated beautifully, the lounge/bedroom having dark wooden beams on the ceiling and pretty paintings on the walls (old style, not modern art, keeping in with the decor).
As you open the door, you walk in to a kind of entrance hall room with wardrobes at the end. To the left is the bathroom and to the right is the lounge/bedroom. Our bathroom had a big Jacuzzi bath, a toilet and sink and is very spacious. It had soft loo roll (I notice these things!) and free Neutrogena toiletries. The lounge/bedroom had a huge TV with Freeview, trousers press, DVD player and stereo system. There was a cafetiere, a kettle and importantly (for me!) lots of tea (including Earl Grey, Chamomile and English Breakfast), coffee and coffee bags. There was also a large bottle of water - their own 'Hatton Court' brand. All very impressive.
There was a comfortable settee and chair, a big bed, bedside tables and effective lighting which could be subtle or stronger (unlike the Holiday Inn, where the lighting options seemed to be too bright or pitch black!). There was a soft pinky carpet, a dressing table unit with drawers underneath, a mirror and table lamps. It had an old fireplace and everything maintained that feeling of elegance and authenticity. The only thing the Holiday Inn beat it on was that they had a really good Revlon hairdryer there, while the Hatton Court Hotel had one of those annoying hairdryers you have to keep your finger on to power it.
Another big bonus for us was that the Hatton Court has free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, you just ask for login details. We had our laptop with us but hadn't used it at the Holiday Inn, where it cost £15 for 24 hours of internet access!
We booked to eat at the hotel restaurant (the Tara Restaurant) for 7pm, as we were celebrating and fancied a posh meal. I chose a Wild mushroom salad, tomato and mozzarella open lasagne, followed by local strawberries with honeycomb ice cream. Les had the duck starter, then the fish option (sole) followed by chocolate bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream. The food was good, though not amazing. We had a glass of wine to toast our engagement (£6 a large glass for Chilean white) too. It was very good service with helpful and friendly staff, checking everything was okay. It cost us £46 in total, plus £5.50 for two coffees.
The next morning, breakfast was served in the same restaurant and consisted of a buffet of juices, cereals, meats, cheese, fresh fruit, pain au chocolat, yoghurts and so on. You could also order cooked breakfasts, kippers, porridge, etc. I had a low fat yoghurt then ordered porridge, while my fiancé (as he is now!) had cereal then cooked breakfast. It was rather slow service though. Admittedly it was busy, but we seemed to be waiting around a lot.
Our check out had to be done before 12 noon. This was completed easily though this receptionist wasn't as friendly as the first one and just seemed to be "going through the motions" somewhat. We paid our bill which came to £107.50 which seemed great value for such a lovely room and two meals each.
We both said we would stay there again if we were in the area. I took some lovely photos as well, as it is in stunning countryside and as it is situated quite high up, you can get some great shots of the views. The Cotswolds itself is very pretty but there are lots of other attractions in the area. We spent a couple of hours in Gloucester, we visited Avebury and the Rollright Stones too, while we were down that way.
The hotel has lots of special weekends too, such as seasonal events and murder mystery weekends. Their website is very good, so you can find out lots of information there. I will put up some of the photos I took on my Ciao review as well, so you can see how picturesque it is.
Hatton Court Hotel
Upton St. Leonards