Travel: De Vere Hotel, Cotswold Water Park
- Credit: Archant
Bridget Galton visits a rural lakeside retreat but heavy snow means the only water she enjoys is in the hotel spa
We’d set off for the Cotswolds with a host of activities planned: from hearty walks to archery and canoeing.
But all bets were off when an arctic weatherfront moved in. And by the time we arrived, we were greeted by a picture perfect wintry scene with snow drifting over our welly boots.
It’s a shame because with its location an easy distance of London, on the edge of one of the Cotswold Water Park’s 150 lakes, the De Vere Hotel is brilliantly placed to enjoy all that the area has to offer.
Spanning 40 square miles of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, this picturesque, watery corner of southern England is a hive of activity, from aerial adventures to boating and paddleboarding, cycling, fishing - goodness there’s even a beach.
But faced with the beast from the east, there was nothing else for it but to settle into our spacious apartment and enjoy the views over the icy water from a floor to ceiling window.
Braving a freezing blast of wind, I stood on the balcony and surveyed a beautiful scene, as chilly wildfowl scudded across the snow fringed lake.
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All of the rooms at this contemporary hotel make the most of this stunning view, with huge windows, a long terrace, and wooden decking wrapping around the low-rise accommodation where you can take a stroll.
It’s a big hotel, but sufficiently spread out that it doesn’t feel dense. Besides, staying in an apartment, attached to a hotel, gives you the best of both worlds.
We were a short snowy walk from The Old Boathouse, a cosy restaurant which makes good use of stone, wood and glass - and a boat on the ceiling - to maximise its lakeside setting.
There’s also a great spa - including a pool that the whole family loved.
Us grown ups sweated off the toxins in the steam room and sauna, while the kids performed a circuit from heated loungers, to dousing themselves with ice cold buckets of water and ice, and stepping into an intriguing shower experience with three different settings.
Along with the jets of water in the pool, they were kept amused for hours.
When we couldn’t be bothered to cook, we stopped into the main hotel brasserie for Fish and Chips and generously portioned children’s meals.
But when the hotel - busy on our weekend - filled up with all the people confined indoors - and the bar or breakfast buffet became thronged, it was bliss to escape back to our self-catering apartment.
We had two large rooms with en suite bathrooms, a kitchen diner, living room, and free Wifi. We could have happily stayed for a week.
You can’t help think though, that this location comes into its own in fairer weather: when guests can dine outside or take afternoon tea or a drink on the long terrace.
The next day, our trip to a nearby farm shop and Roman Villa at Chedworth was a weather-related disaster.
Foolishly leaving the main road, we started skidding through drifting snow, only to find - of course - that those nice National Trust folk hadn’t been able to get through to open it up.
We did though find a great farm shop at Chedworth and picked up supplies as we reluctantly headed back to London.
Shortly after passing through Oxfordshire we heard the road we had just driven through had closed. It was a shame to leave early but we will definitely return to such a lovely rural getaway - and next time we might manage to launch a canoe.
To book a stay at the De Vere Hotel at Cotswold Water Park go to phcompany.com/de-vere/cotswold-water-park-hotel or call 01285 601780.