This Grade II listed Victorian mansion in Gloucestershire has just undergone a £4.5m renovation yet has somehow managed to keep a host of original features and period details that reflect its former glory. Blending history and luxury, there’s a grand staircase leading off from the reception area which is stunning, as are the ornate ceilings and carved woodwork. It’s incredible to think this building was originally a family mansion for Sir Robert Ducie, Lord Mayor of London, later redeveloped by Victorian architect Samuel Sanders.
We were lucky enough to visit just before Christmas, driving up the sweeping entrance to take in the imposing façade and a beautiful ‘Welcome’ sign in stone above the archway. The hotel was tastefully decorated with trees, lights and baubles, capturing the essence of the season, including the delightful smell of mulled wine and spices, with plenty of candles (even in daylight) and seasonal planters.
Completed in 1853 and set in 30 acres of rolling parkland, Tortworth is rightly proud of its gardens and arboretum. Although not much in the way of flowers at this time of year, the trees are impressive nonetheless and in the formal gardens are some specially-commissioned willow sculptures of a parliament of hares, by artist Emma Stothard. In the grounds of the entrance are more of her sculptures - some grazing horses – which are very distinctive. We had a good walk around the spacious grounds and found lovely seating areas, natural-grown archways, sculptures, mature plants and trees and even a bug hotel to encourage wildlife and insects. And if you forget to take your walking boots, the hotel has a boot room where you can borrow Hunter wellies so there’s no excuse not to explore!
After a warm welcome by very professional staff, we were shown to our Deluxe Junior Suite, a beautiful ensuite room looking out over the formal gardens to the front and hills in the distance, and the hotel terrace where you can dine out/enjoy a drink in the warmer months. Situated in the main, original part of the house, our room was as you would expect from a hotel of this calibre - cosy and warm, spacious, with subtle décor, free wi-fi, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, desk, sofa, ensuite with rainforest shower and bath, fluffy robes and slippers as well as luxury bathroom toiletries.
We had a light lunch in the Atrium Bistro Bar – perhaps one of the finest and most impressive parts of this grand hotel with its 60ft high glass ceiling, shrubbery and beautifully exposed brickwork. It was a delight to dine in and the staff were so attentive. A range of foods are offered, from soups to pizzas to burgers, as well as drinks from teas to cocktails.
Guests of the hotel also have access to a new gym, with state of the art equipment and the fully-refurbished Peel Spa with six new treatment rooms, an existing indoor pool, sauna, steam room. We took advantage of the heated swimming pool and sauna before retiring to our suite to relax and get ready for dinner.
Dinner was served in the 1853 restaurant and bar, formerly the old library, and is stacked with original features including highly-detailed oak-panelling, ornate archways and a huge fireplace.
This really is an elegant and impressive building and there is always something to admire while waiting for your food or relaxing with a drink.
The menu was varied and so difficult to choose from, but we plumped for:
Crispy duck salad with Asian greens, spring onions and cucumber
Smoked haddock fishcake with poached egg and Hollandaise sauce
Lamb rump cottage pie croquette with honey glazed parsnips, baby carrots with rosemary and tomato jus
Roast cod with a mussel King prawn and sweet potato chowder with fresh alioli and beetroot fondue
Orange and cardamom brulee with cinnamon shortbread
Afterwards, we retired to the Old Library bar with some drinks and marvelled again at the period details and original features, while enjoying the ambience from the comfort of the sofas and armchairs.
The staff here are very professional and very attentive without intruding. They were keen to make sure we had a good stay and were always polite and welcoming.
I can thoroughly recommend this hotel; it’s a very special place and makes a good base for visiting local sights such as , Slimbridge Wetland centre, Dean Forest Railway and The Cotswold Way. They also host conferences, events and weddings and there’s a delightful orangery in the grounds with beautiful glass panels which was being setup for a wedding when we were there.
De Vere Tortworth Court
Wotton Under Edge
Tel: 01454 263000
Guestrooms start from £149 per room per night
Suites start from £249 per room per night
based on double occupancy
Dogs allowed for £30