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Buckland Manor Country House Hotel
Buckland

by Sarah Shuckburgh

This must be one of the best country house hotels I've ever stayed in. The location is picturesque, the rooms are spacious and comfortable, the food is superb, and the service is highly efficient but very friendly. The attention to detail is excellent, and nothing seems too much trouble. It isn't cheap, and while we were there, some guests arrived by helicopter for lunch.

Parts of the many-gabled manor date from the 13th century, like the church which still stands beside it. Other parts were added in later centuries, but this hotel has no ugly modern extensions. The fourteen bedrooms all have stone mullioned windows and views over the garden. Several rooms have four-poster beds, and some have coal fires, which look real and feel warm, but are run on gas. Perhaps my only serious criticism is that guests are allowed to smoke in all bedrooms, so a sensitive non-smoking nose might detect the smell of old ashtrays. A more trivial criticism is that the hotel information in our room was full of spelling and punctuation mistakes.

Downstairs, huge (real) log fires burn all day in the three panelled sitting rooms. There are polished parquet floors with rugs, framed portraits, warm lighting, and plenty of sofas.

The hotel garden includes a wooded slope with tiny brooks zigzagging between the trees, rushing noisily over little waterfalls, and filling small ponds, before flowing through the rose garden. The garden also has croquet lawn, tennis court, and an unpretentious outdoor swimming pool, edged with stone, and with lovely views of the Cotswold hillside and, on a clear day, the distant Malvern hills.

The hamlet of Buckland has hardly grown since it was described in the Domesday Book, 1000 years ago. It consists of a quiet lane of pretty stone cottages and houses, including one of England's oldest rectories, built in 1483. The tarmac stops at the head of the combe, just beyond the hotel, and footpaths continue up the hill, joining the long-distance Cotswold Way, and other tracks which lead to Broadway or to unspoilt villages such as Snowshill, Stanton, Stanway and Laverton. This is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the hotel is perfectly placed for exploring on foot. Stratford is a short drive away, and the hotel provides pre-theatre suppers.

Buckland Manor Country House Hotel
Buckland
Near Broadway
Worcestershire WR12 7LY

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd
ęSarahShuckburgh

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