I realize that I may have given in to _slight_ hyperbole in that title there, but once you hear about this trip you’ll know why I’m happy to be overly complimentary about Hatherley Manor.
As you all know, @rockinblues and I got away to Bristol recently for a wonderful week away (and thank goodness we did! Lockdown 2 wasn’t far behind!) and that was super fun and interesting and we did a lot of walking and sightseeing – but I’ll be honest, we didn’t do an awful lot of pampering. This is something Andreea and I don’t do an awful lot of, actually just relaxing and taking care of ourselves, so when I realized we would be coming back from Bristol on the Friday – it seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
In secret I started doing some research on which Spas in England were currently open and weren’t a massive distance from where we were staying in Bristol, and it turned out there were only about 30 or so Spas in the entire country that had been able to open at all… and one of them, Hatherley Manor, was in Gloucester!
For those of you not in the know it was not that far at all – only 36 minutes!
I ended up booking their Two Night Post-Lockdown Staycation, not a current offer for obvious reasons – but at £414 (including £24 for a bottle of Prosecco), for both of us, including 2 hours of Spa access per day PLUS afternoon tea on the day of arrival, £28 per guest per night towards dinner AND complimentary cooked breakfast it was an absolute BARGAIN.
Now interestingly most people who go and stay at a fancy hotel / spa spend most of their time gushing about how great the facilities were, how nice the rooms were and just generally how posh it was – but honestly the true gem in the crown at Hatherley is the staff. As soon as I had completed my booking I got in touch with them because, obviously, we’re vegan and I needed to check in about the afternoon tea and dinner, because looking at their menu, they didn’t have a single vegan option available, which made me a little nervous.
I had zero reason to be concerned, honestly. Melanie and Lauren in the reservations team, and Becky in the Spa (who helped me book a full body massage for Andreea) were constantly on hand to help out – they created a bi-directional channel of communication with the chef and staff and handled everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. I was even emailed a menu a few days prior to our stay when we were in Thornbury to look over and it had a few options for starters, mains and desserts for both nights and honestly it felt like no request was too much or too little.
They didn’t get sick of me once, and we emailed a lot. Like, a lot a lot:
So we left Bristol and headed up towards Gloucester on the Friday – in an effort to be romantic I had scheduled an email to be delivered to Andreea not before we were 10 minutes away and when the time arrived I pretended I saw something fly in from outside INTO her phone: “It looked like an email! Weird…” – the email detailed the surprise and what was in store, the food, the room, the massage…
I know, sickening. But still, it was a bit of fun.
On arrival though it was all very straight forward – all of the necessary precautions had been taken, everyone was being very safe and respectful and hey, it was a super pretty place!
We didn’t hang around to admire the building though, because we had a Spa reservation and it was relaxation time! I didn’t get any pictures, obviously because no one wants a creepy guy wandering around a Spa taking pictures – but believe me, it’s warm and cozy and inviting. The heat experience rooms were lush – honestly I can say I’ve never really gotten the Tepidarium, but the Sauna and experience showers were lush and the pool was nice to have a little paddle around in.
At the end of our two hours we headed back around and checked in, making our way to the room; it wasn’t huge, but it was spacious enough and most importantly, comfortable. Here began our 2 days of eating and relaxing.
Unfortunately Hatherley don’t offer a vegan afternoon tea but they were more than happy to substitute in some coffee and sandwiches instead which were delicious:
Red pepper hummus and salad, with some ready-salted crisps on the side – I was pretty darn happy. But nothing was to prepare me for what we met later on that evening at dinner. We had made most of the afternoon about relaxing and had some bubbly, walked around the grounds and played some cards, but when we got to dinner nice and early we were shown to a beautiful table in the corner when we were then served 3 of the finest courses I’ve eaten at any restaurant, vegan or not.
Falafel with red pepper hummus to start, followed by roasted cauliflower steak and homemade chips and then a chocolate brownie with vegan ice cream and even a dairy-free chocolate shard! Andreea had the soup of the day and a roasted bell pepper with stir fry vegetables – we were both VERY happy:
The following day was much the same – relax, eat and enjoy with a similar menu on for dinner we were still spoilt for choice and the food was incredible, honestly it was just nice to get some time to the two of us where we really felt like we were being looked after.
Whilst I realize this post is probably a little shorter than most of my others, we were only there for 2 days but for that (little over) 48 hours, we felt and were treated like royalty (and fed like it too) – and it was down to every single staff member there doing everything they could to make the stay as perfect as it possibly could be.
Bravo Hatherley Manor, and thank you for a wonderful stay. We will most definitely be coming back, you mark my words!
– Comfort: 7.5/10 (the general décor of the hotel is a little dated but snug nonetheless, it is an older building after all – the downstairs is beautifully opulent though)
– Value for Money: 9.5/10 (I don’t feel like I wasted a single penny on this trip)
– Staff: 1,000,000/10
– Vegan Friendly: 9/10 (On first impression you would say 2 or 3, but talk to the staff in advance and it’s easily a 9)
– Would Return?: If there was a word that meant yes, more so than yes does, I’d use it here.