Back in November, we were invited by PetsPyjamas for a two-night press stay at the dog-friendly Greenway Hotel & Spa in Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds. Picture an antique manor with countryside walks on the doorstep, still being easily reachable by public transport. Our journey started on a train from London Paddington with a crew of two-humans, one large dog and a large suitcase. How it went is what this post is about.
Disclosure: This is an independent review, meaning that all views are our own and the post was not submitted for any pre-approval to the PetsPyjamas/the Greenway Hotel & Spa. PetsPyjamas and the Greenway Hotel & Spa offered us a two-night press stay inclusive of one dinner at the hotel in exchange for review and photography. We paid for spa access/treatments, other meals and travel.
A relaxing stay at The Greenway Hotel & Spa in the Cotswolds with PetsPyjamas
If you don’t know it yet, PetsPyjamas is a dog-friendly holiday accommodation specialist website, whose pages list amazing cottages and gorgeous hotels, making it a pleasure to plan the next dog-friendly travel. All accomodation solutions are dog-friendly, saving time one would otherwise spend filtering results and checking dog policies on other resources, and the “house rules” are detailed in the listing, so you know what to expect when visiting the hotel or other holiday accommodation. On top of this, they offer some great perks (further discussed below).
The Greenway Hotel & Spa is one of the beautiful hotels listed by PetsPyjamas and destination of our latest trip.
What will you find in this blog post?
- our experience at the Greenway Hotel & Spa: from the manor to our room, the grounds, the spa and dining, as well as getting there by public transport
- countryside dog walks on the doorstep of the Greenway Hotel and things to do in the area
- PetsPyjamas’ offer
The dog-friendly Greenway Hotel & Spa
The Greenway Hotel & Spa is a beautiful manor full of history and character, just outside Chelthenham Spa, in the heart of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. Easily reachable by public transport (there is a bus stop at the end of the private road leading to the hotel), but at the same time distant enough from the main road (which can’t be seen from the hotel) and surrounded by eight-acres of wonderful grounds, and countryside fields and paths on the doorstep.
The hotel became dog-friendly about 18 months ago and allows dogs in any of their rooms, although we were told they tend to accommodate guests with canine friends in the six coach house – above the spa -, due to it larger rooms. The rooms in the six coach house are more modern than the rest of the hotel, so have perhaps a bit less character than those in the main building, which are characterised by antique and classic features. Nonetheless, we found our room in the six coach house (named Elm) lovely, with its horse-themed wallpaper and tartan carpet, and – to be honest – with a large dog like Argo we – and him – very much appreciated the (huge!) size of the suite.
Getting to the Greenway Hotel & Spa
If, like us, you travel by public transport, the Greenway Hotel & Spa is a great one to stay at, as it is quite easy to reach. We travelled by train from London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa and a few minute walk away from the station took the 93 bus to the city centre and then the 66 bus to Greenway Lane (the stop is just in front of the hotel’s private road). Unfortunately no taxis in the area seem to be accepting dogs, as the hotel confirmed, but the bus trip was no big deal for us.
Having tea with Argo in the elegant dog-friendly lounge, near the large windows looking over the garden was a lovely start to our getaway. Velvet sofas, carpets, classical decorations and a fireplace make the lounge warm and cosy; it turned out to be the perfect place for an afternoon tea, a dog-friendly dinner or just a drink during our stay.
There are other fireplaces at the hotel, like the magnificent one in the lobby, which was lit and with crackling embers and logs when we arrived. We admired with awe the corner room, decorated with inlaid wood and paintings, the corridor with its stone floor and an antique door opening on the dining room.
We climbed upstairs for a sneak peek of the floor where the rooms in the main manor are located and enjoyed navigating the maze of corridors leading to the more modern part of the hotel, accommodating the spa, and climbing upstairs the coach house, among its red bricks, rope carpets and antique vases.
As we noticed, the best time to enjoy the the dining room is the morning, when the light fills the room. We had lovely breakfasts with a choice among continental or English breakfast. We opted for the latter and were not disappointed.
One thing to know is that the The Greenway Hotel’s restaurant, which specialises in modern British cuisine, was awarded 3 AA Rosettes (on a 1 to 5 rosettes scale, this is an equivalent of the stars award for hotels – but 3 AA Rosettes count more than 3 stars and – in order to be awarded 3AA Rosettes a restaurant must be considered “Outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand recognition well beyond their local area. The cooking is underpinned by the selection and sympathetic treatment of the highest quality ingredients. Timing, seasoning and the judgment of flavour combinations will be consistently excellent. These virtues tend to be supported by other elements, such as intuitive service and a well-chosen wine list.”)
On the first night we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The staff offered to accommodate us in the lounge or at the bar if we wished to dine with Argo (in the good season they would also be able to accommodate guests with dogs at the tables outdoor), as dogs are not allowed in the dining room. We opted for leaving Argo in our room and enjoying a quiet meal in the dining room.
Chicken liver and some other ingredients aren’t our favourites so perhaps we weren’t able to fully appreciate all the starters that were served, but we certainly did the rest of the dinner. The artichokes soup I ordered was truly delicious. I then had a game dish which was very rich and tasty and could have been easily a complete meal for me. My husband opted for the bream which came with mussels.
Each dish was very well-presented and you could tell ingredients were very fresh. The restaurant prides itself of using quality local producers in Gloucestershire, including their own wild plants, herbs and fruits, so we guessed it may have also been a low-carbon print meal.
Upon our arrival, we received a very warm welcome by the staff and loved their sweet thought of providing a dog bed for Argo and dog bowls, along with some gifts: a rabbit toy and dog treats, that we found in our room. There was also some excellent chocolate to spoil us humans! But that was not all! PetsPyjamas had also delivered their travel kit, which included two dog toys that Argo absolutely loved, dog treats by Forthglade, a collapsible dog bowl, a dog spray and… the truly best touch, a personalised embroided dog blanket!
We found all these incredibly sweet thoughts and suspect that Argo thought it was Christmas day. If we were to add an idea for the future, one thing we’d perhaps love to see would be a cloth for cleaning up muddy paws, as dogs are likely to get caked walking in the countryside: we had stupidly forgot the mittens we use to clean Argo’s paws, so we ended up having to use a shirt of mine for the purpose (which afterwards went directly into a plastic bag, waiting for a cycle into the washing machine upon our return to London).
A huge cosy room
Our room, on the first floor of the six coach house just above the spa, was absolutely huge (photos don’t give it justice), with a corridor at the entrance with a wardrobe, a living area with sofa, armchair, table and tv, along with a desk and chair, a king size bed and more. The wide windows near the bed and sofa enjoyed the best light in the morning and looked on the back of the hotel. We could see the roof of the spa, the fields, the hills and the footpath running alongside the property, where we spotted horse riders coming downhill in the afternoon. The bathroom was also very generously sized, with a double basin, a bathtub and a very large shower.
The bed and the room were very comfortable (ahead of your arrival, we were even sent a form where we could request different types of pillows (feathers/ foam)), and Argo very much appreciated the space to move around and the dog bed provided. He would curl up in it and sleep tight through the nights, to wake up in the morning and come and stand next to our bed, staring at me in silence, but with his chin very close to my pillow, to check if I was waking up any time soon. Guess who normally walks him in the morning?
The enchanting grounds
One of the very best things of the hotel were its impressive grounds. With a garden dotted with geometrical edges, secret passages, fountains and statues and a very wide field with a picturesque dead tree, it is an enchanting place for a walk (and must be even better in spring or summer, when one can enjoy fully being outdoor).
The field at the top also made the perfect spot for a dog run (just note that it is not fully fenced, so make sure that your dog has a good recall before letting them off – especially since there are wild animals and cattle in the area). We met a few dog walkers bringing there their dogs there to play fetch and even we saw a deer jumping around just over the fence (luckily Argo didn’t spot it!).
Relaxing at Elan Spa
Inside the hotel – just downstairs our room – there was Elan Spa, which features sauna, steam room, calidarium, swimming pool, outdoor hot tub and fitness room. They also offer a number of treatments from massages to facials. Entry (is not included in the price of the stay and) comes at £25 per day (the day runs from 3pm to 11am of the day after), but if you book a wellness treatment over £55, entrance to the spa is complimentary. For obvious health and safety reasons, you can’t take your dog inside the spa, but the hotel is happy for you to leave them in the room while you relax in the swimming pool. A nice perk is that robes are provided in the room, so you can directly walk downstairs into the spa without need to get changed or bring anything else with you apart from the room’s key.
We did purchase a facial for myself and a massage for my husband. It was my first-ever facial, so I can’t compare it with any previous experience, but I found it extremely relaxing and I got out feeling recharged and with a super smooth skin. My husband likes very energic and strong massages (basically his idea is that if the massage doesn’t hurt means it’s not working – which I quite disagree with) so he found the one he had too relaxing and gentle for his taste, but from the sound of it, I suspect I would have found it perfect.
We both agreed that the spa was fantastic and peaceful. Bathing in the swimming pool, enjoying the warm of the sauna and reading a book on the loungers around the swimming pool after having been out in the cold and damp was simply great. Just outside the spa there was also a bar area where you could order tea or champagne (pictured above).
Countryside walks and things to do with your dog in the area
A dog walk starting at the Greenway Hotel doorstep
The afternoon we reached the hotel, my husband had worked the whole night before, so I went for a walk with Argo while he slept a few hours to recover. It was a beautiful sunny day and not too chilly, so after visiting the hotel grounds, Argo and I took the path running along the property and leading uphill. The colours of the afternoon were magic, especially with the red leaves on the ground and the light illuminating the fields nearby, dotted with sheep, cows and horses.
The following day we found that the footpath connected with the Cotswold Way, a 100 miles trail running all the way from Chipping Campden to Bath. In particular, in that area, it cuts through Crickley Hill, a National Trust country park. We ventured there with Argo, under the rain and in a horrible foggy weather, with the plan of getting to the Air Ballon pub, in Birdslip, across the hill and woods. The path running uphill had almost become a brook with the rain, with the water sliding through our feet, and once we reached the top and turned right on the Cotswold Way, we found the flat footpath that ran close to the hill’s edge was extremely muddy and slippery.
While I had good water-proof walking shoes (remember to bring them if you plan a stay in this season), my husband’s proved not appropriate for the extreme weather and he ended up with very wet feet, which spoiled the walk. Argo was happy as ever, although a bit worried from a couple of near-falls we had on the path due to the slippery ground. We could imagine that the panoramic view from Crickley Hill must be beautiful, on a clear day. Unfortunately we couldn’t see than a few meters in front of us due to the thick clouds and fog.
The walk to the Air Balloon pub took us about an hour from the hotel. The route is a scenic one, through National Trust’s Crickley Hill, and while we couldn’t enjoy the view due to the weather, we had a cattle encounter on the way: the local Belted Galloway black and white cows! Almost all dogs we met on the way were being kept on leash and we could understand why!
The Air Balloon was just across a (high-trafficked) road once we got out of the last bridleway stretch through the woods. We were a bit surprised that dogs are only allowed in a certain area of the pub (near the bar), because they are actually super dog-friendly for the rest: dogs are treated with water bowls and a tasty doggy menu is available! For Argo’s joy, we got him the beef burger from the doggy menu (for £2), while we ate a burger and pork belly. The food was decent, but nothing special, while the place really was really nice, despite being on a busy road.
Exploring the Cotswold: things to do with your dog within 40 minutes from the hotel
- Crickley Hill is not the only destinations for nice countryside walks nearby and if you are travelling by car, staying at the Greenway Hotel is perfect for exploring the beautiful Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty. You can also decide to take one of the many Cotswolds Way walks.
- The village of Bibury, one of the gems of the Cotswolds, is a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
- With a 40-minute drive you can reach Broadway Tower., where you can walk your dog on a lead (there is a deer park on the grounds).
- If you are visiting in the Summer, with the same time by car you can reach dog-friendly Cotswolds Lavender fields, to enjoy a walk among lavender flowers with your canine friend.
- If you time your getaway right, you can enjoy the annual Chipping Norton Lido dog swim in Chipping Norton at the start of September (a bit of a longer drive for this one: 45 minutes or so from the hotel).
When reserving a holiday accommodation with PetsPyjamas, you’re not just booking a room: there is a whole world of pampering perks:
- a travel kit from PetsPyjamas (on top of that provided by the hotel!) – we loved ours, which included Forthglade dog treats, a rope toy and a tug with a ball (Argo’s favourite), Dogkind spray for dogs and, the piece that really left us speechless was a fleece blanked embroided with the name ‘Argo’;
- PawSquad access: 27/7 vet advice service for the duration of your PetsPyjamas stay;
- the chance to register to PetsPyjamas VIP members club, Priority Paws, once you have made your first dog-friendly holiday booking with them: this offers access to their own VIP pet concierge, complimentary 24/7 vet advice, VIP discounts and exclusive deals such as upscale steak house Gaucho and GoBoat London, as well as pet food, treats and accessories for less from top pet brands including Orvis and Houndsley. In addition, members are entitled to to a free night’s dog-friendly stay when they book five times with PetsPyjamas, as well as two weeks free rent with pet-friendly landlord Fizzy Living in London and the South East.
Our stay at the Greenway Hotel & Spa was a truly lovely and recharging getaway. Excellent location, gorgeous grounds, relaxing spa, beautiful hotel features of the main manor and generously sized room, as well as enjoyable countryside walks on the doorstep, were what we liked and made a difference.
The suggestion we would give to the hotel to become even more dog-friendly would be to open the dining room to dogs, and add a cloth for muddy paws to their dog kit (or installing a doggie shower outdoors to wash away the mud from countryside walks).
To book a room at the Greenway Hotel & Spa, in the Cotswolds, through PetsPyjamas, find the listing at this link. You will then be able to join PetsPyjamas’ VIP member club.
But you are not restricted to this: there are so many jaw-dropping destinations: you can choose among historic hounds getaways, easily accessible accommodations, country canine chic retreats, sea-side breaks and more!