I am hugely biased towards Slaughters Manor, a beautiful, luxury boutique hotel in the Cotswolds. It is the most perfect destination ever. My bias mostly comes from it being the location of my wedding last year and having pulled off what turned into a three day event without fault. This, alongside it being in the most idyllic Cotswolds location, means this is a fairly glowing review.
I have stayed there twice, once for the wedding and again a few months later on a gorgeously snowy weekend in early February. I have also visited for wedding meetings several times more, where I always made time for a lunch, afternoon tea or cocktail at the bar!
A Luxury Hotel in Lower Slaughter
I first visited Slaughters Manor during one of their wedding events in March 2017, a good 18 months before the wedding. It was our second to last venue after a fairly intense weekend of location scouting down in the Cotswolds. I was a little sceptical, my mind had jumped to the obvious, was this the scene of a mass murder?
Slaughters Manor is located in Lower Slaughter, a small village nestled between Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. On our drive over, I couldn’t help thinking whether the village was named after the Manor or the Manor after the village? Upper Slaughter was the sister village next door as well, what had happened here?!
I then came across the book Slaughter in the Cotswolds and became slightly more doubtful this was my wedding location, despite the beautiful pictures I had found during my research. I got this book as a wedding present actually(!), good read, maybe after you visit rather than before (Just kidding, it’s fiction!).
As ever in the Cotswolds, the approach was via a small windy road lined with trees that currently had blossom starting to appear, before you are suddenly on the Main Street (there is nothing “main” about it) with the tiny River Eye on your left with a pub on the other side, Slaughters Country Inn, and on your right, the most beautiful 17th century French style château in that gorgeous honey-hued Cotswolds stone, Slaughters Manor House.
Even a bit jaded as we were, as well as apprehensive about the weird, murder-y name, the hotel is just lovely; set in over five acres of beautifully manicured grounds, the main house is accompanied with an old coach house to the right with an original central clock tower still intact.
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History of Lower Slaughter
We found out that actually the name “Slaughter” is corrupted version of the surname of a knight, Philip de Sloitre, who was gifted the land by William the Conqueror, so our fears of some gruesome crime being committed here were calmed somewhat!
The hotel was bought by the Andrew Brownsword Hotel group in 2011 before undergoing an extensive renovation in 2016 to update the décor, that looking at old pictures, was a bit tired and stuffy. The hotel is now anything but, it’s that traditional country house feel still, but with a stylish streak reflected in touches such as the pink accents in the aptly name “Pink Lounge”, a curved brass-look bar and the dark navy walls in the billiards room.
There are several lounges to relax or take afternoon tea in on the ground floor, each with a slightly different style; the Pink Lounge is the largest with large bay windows and an open fire, the Library has one also, along with tan leather sofas, board games, an antique writing desk and a door to the Snug which as the only room with a TV and Sky Sports, my now husband located within a minute of being there.
These rooms all look out across the garden at the front of the property; at the back there is the billiards room, one of several rooms that has the original stucco ceiling, as well as the Oxford Room, a private dining room for up to 22 people. I love that room, a bit of French glamour with its large vintage mirrors, soft grey walls and a wooden farmhouse style table offset with studded leather chairs.
I was actually due to have a dinner here with my closest family and friends after we arrived at the venue a couple of nights before the wedding itself, however I got a bit happy with the guest list and ended up with 25 people! We had a buffet style meal instead in the Pink Lounge which worked a treat, a very relaxed atmosphere that encouraged everyone to mingle.
Downstairs to the back of the property is the restaurant (it isn’t a basement, the rear gardens are just at a lower level) accessed via a wide corridor painted a deep navy with two bright yellow chairs and a wall lined with a fully stocked brass wine rack.
The restaurant is where I had my wedding ceremony and I was pretty much sold the minute I saw it; there are beautiful wooden floors (I had a real aversion to getting married in a room with carpet for some reason) and floor to ceiling windows that open out onto the gardens. It was also the perfect size for our wedding party size of 68 (it started at 45, guest list mania again), the only thing that I was a bit hesitant about were the grey curtains that were lined with an orange that most definitely didn’t go with my colour scheme.
I had a superb wedding planner and stylist though, Helaina Storey, who managed to make it work somehow, the room looked unbelievable, she was just amazing and I could have never done it myself.
Top Tip: I recommend booking through the luxury hotel website, Mr & Mrs Smith. They have a beautifully curated selection of boutique hotels that never fail to disappoint, along with a best price guarantee where they price match and give you a £50 voucher for your next booking on the platform if you find the same stay cheaper anywhere else.
They also offer a Mr & Mrs Smith ” Extra” with every booking; for Slaughters Manor, this is currently a free bottle of the sommelier’s choice of wine in your room.
The gardens are lovely so make sure you go for a stroll; at the front there are some huge redwood and horse chestnut trees, a little fountain and you can play croquet on the perfectly manicured lawn, just ask reception for the equipment. While you’re there, talk to them about things to do in the area as they are very well informed. The walking is beautiful and they can provide maps as well as Dubarry walking boots if you you ran out of space in your suitcase. To the rear of the property is the original dovecote, a little vegetable patch and a superb view over the fields. A tennis court is also tucked away discreetly at the side.
Unfortunately this hotel doesn’t have a spa, but can organise in room treatments such as facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and even reiki, given notice.
I have actually been into every room except one of the Junior Suites, Aimee. There are 19 in total, 11 in the main house spread across the first and second floors and 8 in the coach house across the ground and first floors. There are 5 grades of room; 3 classic rooms, 7 deluxe, 4 junior suites, 3 suites and 2 garden suites. Some of the rooms can be set up as twins and there are 3 sets of interconnecting rooms in the coach house. Cots can be provided free of charge and extra beds can be provided for under-12s for £50 a night in deluxe class rooms and above.
We stayed in one of the garden suites, Valentine, both for our wedding and our return a few months later. There wasn’t a single room I wouldn’t have been happy to stay in but my recommendations would be Maela for classic, Rose or Elm for deluxe, June for the junior suite, Nina for a suite and Valentine for a garden suite.
Top Tip: When we originally booked the garden suites had hot tubs in their private gardens, which have since been removed, but a lot of reviews and information I read online still mention them.
Valentine Garden Suite
Valentine is stunning. The four poster, super king size bed is like sleeping on a cloud and the suite is so spacious that we have a sofa at the end of our bed, a four person dining room table and chairs in the corner, another sofa and coffee table and there is still lots of room to swan around.
A TV is on the wall above the fireplace and a set of French doors in both the bedroom and the bathroom open up into the garden where there is an outdoor dining set. The bathroom is huge; twin sinks, a rain shower enclosed in an elegant glass oval and the feature point, twin roll top baths.
The amenities are excellent (a good hotel can often be judged on the quality of their complimentary amenities); we have the basics of mineral water and fresh fruit, but the upgrades include a flask of sloe gin (you can buy your own in reception), two miniature bottles of Glenmorangie (I get a nod of approval from Danny, who doesn’t display agreement, ever), home-made cookies and a box of locally made chocolates from the Cotswold Chocolate Company.
We actually visited the shop in nearby Broadway, an absolute haven of every chocolate-y sweet treat you could ever imagine, with a generous shopkeeper who kept giving us various samples to try. The toiletries are L’Occitane and the in room iPod dock means I didn’t even need to unpack my trusty UE Boom speaker.
We also have my absolute in-room essential, a Nespresso machine, thank the lord. Imagine having to leave the room and be nice to people without a decent coffee…
Food & Drink at Slaughters Manor
Nik Chapell is the head chef at the 3 AA Rosette restaurant at Slaughters Manor and I can safely say the food is consistently excellent. The service we have had every time has been very good, including during breakfast which is always the one that even a great hotel can get a bit sloppy with. The sommelier is a pleasure to talk to; I LOVE wine but have literally no clue about it, I can name some types that I like (which is most of them) but that is about it. I say a few of these random words at him and he has come out with something I have loved very time.
The lunch and dinner very much focus on seasonal produce and so change regularly, so there have been different menu options every time we have been.
Ah, breakfast…by far the best meal of all time, and all too often where a good hotel can fall down. Not, here they are on it with their continental fare of a selection of danish pastries, cereal, juices, fruit, meats and cheeses.
It looks very tempting but I am all about the à la carte, which at Slaughters includes my absolute favourite, Eggs Royale! There is also the option for fluffy blueberry pancakes which are also delicious and various other excellent options, including a full English, Danny almost smiles and betrays his happiness but keeps the stoic look and orders it calmly every time!
There is something about lunch; I always love to get to a hotel early and head to their restaurant while we await the readiness of our room, have some great food and a couple of glasses of wine, before heading to my bed for the night to indulge in an afternoon nap, is there anything better?
I also love lunch as restaurants tend to serve the same or a very similar menu to the evening, but for a cheaper price! Suits me down to the ground, particularly as I don’t like to stay up late…. Slaughters Manor offer a very reasonable lunch menu with dishes such as crispy duck confit with pineapple chutney, orkney scallop tartare and dressed Cornish crab with wasabi and dashi.
You are also brought an amuse bouche of tiny soup which is a lovely way to start the meal (the celeriac, one of my favourite winter vegetables, is just delicious in soup form). We have had lunch there a couple of times, the restaurant has always been quite quiet (both times we were there over a weekend) and the ambience has been on the formal side. You can also opt for a six course tasting menu with optional matching wines and on a Sunday you can opt for the latter or a three course Sunday lunch menu.
How I love afternoon tea; the presentation of all the dainty little plates stacked on top of each other that kid me into thinking this is a light snack rather than a full on meal, I love the classiness and the bubbles that usually accompany it! Slaughters Manor offer a fantastic one that can be taken either in one of their lounges or out on the lawn overlooking the beautiful gardens; we had ours outside after a wedding meeting and my family came to join us.
Now I have a bit of a problem because Danny is not a fan of afternoon tea, however I managed to persuade him to partake as they offer a Gentleman’s version with cheese and charcuterie, a cheese and onion scone, beer onions, Welsh rarebit, gala pie and a bag of bread (it was literally in a bag as well).
My mum, sisters and I had the classic one with finger sandwiches, scones with jam and a selection of mini pastries and cakes. It is a lovely afternoon tea and it was great it does one especially for the boys, however Danny is still not sold, I think it’s the tiered plates?!
Dinner at Slaughters Manor is a very similar affair to lunch, the same slightly formal atmosphere and a more expansive version of the menu. The food is beautifully presented and the portions are just the right size, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I am always disappointed when I get to the end of my main meal and am absolutely stuffed!
I have had my eye on the tasting menu which I haven’t managed to have yet, one for an anniversary maybe. The restaurant is generally a bit busier in the evenings with a blend of hotel guests and locals, children are welcome but the hotel asks they are accommodated at sittings at 7:00pm or earlier.
Room service is not something I often get in a hotel, but have had the pleasure of it twice at here. The first time was the night before my wedding; all of the ladies on my hen do came to my room and we had wine and snacks in our pyjamas, it is one of my favourite memories of my wedding weekend.
The second was on Danny’s and my return; we had booked to eat in the restaurant but had had a big lunch and we weren’t feeling particularly hungry. Our suite was was so amazing that it was honestly hard work to leave it, so room service suited us perfectly. Their light dishes include truffled Mac and cheese (I don’t know who came up with putting truffle oil in Mac and cheese, but they are a genius), British charcuterie boards, a cheese selection, smoked salmon with shallots, capers, lemon and dill and classics such as soup and sandwiches.
We opted for a selection, a bottle of wine and watched Die Hard while it continued to snow outside.
The curved, gold accented bar with candy pink leather bar stools is generally what will catch your eye as you are gazing round during check in. Danny headed straight to the whisky cabinet and nodded approvingly at the selection, I gazed at the cocktail list, not so ridiculously long that it becomes impossible to make a decision, but with enough choice and imagination that just one isn’t an option.
The superb bar staff can also make one up for you based on your poison of choice or favourite flavours, and of course the old classics are never out of the question. I am fairly sure I have tried every one on their list, don’t leave without trying the Blackberrytini, one of my sisters loved it so much I’m pretty sure she had one in her hand for most of the wedding weekend.
Gin lovers, you’re in luck as well, there is a whole section dedicated to gins, mixers and garnishes and they can make pretty much every gin cocktail known to man.
Final Thoughts: Slaughters Manor House Hotel
This luxury, boutique, Cotswolds hotel is always going to be a special place for us and unsurprisingly as it is the hotel I have done the most research on ever before booking, it is pretty much bang on faultless.
Hotels are a very personal choice so I think everyone’s view on the perfect hotel will vary slightly, but I would recommend this one in a heartbeat. If you have any questions or would like any advice choosing a room, I would love to help (you may have to listen to me drone on about how much I love it!) so please do get in touch.
– You can book Slaughters Manor through Mr & Mrs Smith, a website of beautifully curated boutique hotels.
– Alternatively, you can view and book Slaughters Manor with Booking.com or Hotels.com.
– You can check out my full list of tried, tested and recommended Travel Resources here.
– There is a 2 night minimum stay over weekends. Rooms are priced from around £176 per night and include breakfast. It is not a hotel that has a specific child focus but they are most definitely welcome. You will notice upon entry and the village of Lower Slaughter is not blessed with parking spaces, don’t worry, there are adequate spaces at the hotel.
Address: Copeshill Road, Lower Slaughter, GL54 2HP
Phone: 01451 820 456