Hotel Review: The White Horse Inn, Duns Tew (Oxfordshire) – A wonderfully cosy stay at the heart of the Cotswolds

Another day, another hotel review! Wonderful stay in the heart of the #Cotswolds – full review and blog post coming soon! #Oxfordshire

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Last weekend I was invited to stay overnight at The White Horse Inn, a glorious pub with 11 cosy rooms nestled in the sleepy little village of Duns Tew in Oxfordshire. Located an hour away from London, and just 20 minutes drive from both the dreaming spires of Oxford and the world famous designer outlet of Bicester Village, The White Horse Inn boasts the perfect location from which to enjoy some the Cotswolds’ finest tourist attractions. Here’s my full review of this gorgeous property…

The Location

 

 

The White Horse Inn really is at the heart of the Cotswolds; close enough to explore everything this beautiful area has to offer, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities and towns, so that you can get a perfect night’s sleep and a true taste of village life in Duns Tew. As mentioned above, both Oxford and Bicester are a 20 minute drive away, whilst other places of interest, including Chipping Norton, Burford and Woodstock (where you’ll find the stunning Blenheim Palace), can be reached in under 30 minutes.

The Room

 

 

The Inn boasts 11 cosy and comfortable rooms made up of standard, classic and premier doubles, king superiors and king twin beds. Three of the rooms are over the pub itself, up a small staircase at the rear of the bar, whilst the rest of the rooms are separate to the main building. Each room boasts an en-suite bathroom, with hot shower and bath tub, central heating, LCD flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities and there is free WIFI throughout. Our double room was located in the main building, on top of the bar area, and was so cosy and warm. The bed (and the pillows!) were super comfy and the hot shower was amazing – we had a great night’s sleep and really loved the homely feel to our room; it was cosy and full of character, as well as fitted with all the new mod-cons I would look for in a hotel room.

The Bar

 

The cosiest of bars welcomes you to The White Horse Inn #cotswolds #oxfordshire #hotelreview

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

This 17th century property is full of charm and the bar and dining area complement each other perfectly. The bar is well stocked with every drink you can think of, and the large flag stones and cosy log fire make it the perfect place to unwind. The dining area leads just off from the bar and is equally as characterful, with plenty of space and a fantastic food menu, with locally sourced produce, which changes daily. We were both so looking forward to dinner after a busy day’s shopping at Bicester Village (on Black Friday, might I add!!) so couldn’t wait to tuck in to some hearty pub food.

The Staff

 

And my table literally had my name written all over it! #Oxfordshire #Cotswolds #hotelreview

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

The staff made us feel so welcome throughout the whole of our stay, from the minute we arrived to check in, to the second we checked out the next day. Upon arrival we were welcomed by Alex and then shown to our room by George and told what time to head down for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. We were then welcomed at dinner by Alex again, who showed us to our table which quite literally had my name written all over it! Throughout the evening we were served by George and James, they looked after us really well and nothing was too much trouble. The next morning we were served by George again for breakfast and he checked us out upon departure too. I cannot thank the staff enough for making our stay so enjoyable, thanks guys!!

The Dinner and Breakfast

Although this is a pub, the menu and the whole feel of the place felt more like a restaurant, in a really good way! The atmosphere was still as relaxed as the pub/bar area, but the food was mouth-wateringly good and on par with what you’d expect from a restaurant, so we felt that the Inn offered the best of both worlds in that respect. We opted to skip starters and went straight for the main courses, choosing the cheeseburger and the 10oz rib-eye steak respectively. Both main courses came with fries (cooked to perfection) and we really enjoyed our meals!

 

For pudding we chose the homemade apple crumble and the chocolate truffle torte, both of which were AMAZING! I’m such a pudding girl and I love all things chocolate, so my dessert was heaven on a plate, whilst the apple crumble was delicious too. Every aspect of our meal was wonderful, we just wish we could have chosen more food from the amazing menu, although we were suitably stuffed once we’d finished eating!!

Breakfast the next morning was really good; we both opted for the Full English (obviously) and enjoyed freshly cooked sausages, bacon, eggs and mushrooms with thick toasted bread. The breakfasts totally set us up for the day ahead and we left feeling well and truly full up!

The Verdict

 

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at this gorgeous hotel right in the heart of the Cotswolds. I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit to this part of Oxfordshire for a cosy and comfortable stay. Every aspect from the warm and welcoming staff to the fantastic dinner and gorgeous room made our stay such a pleasant one, and I would recommend the Inn to anyone looking for a place to stay in the Cotswolds.

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful White Horse Inn. I cannot recommend this place highly enough for those looking for a comfortable stay in the heart of the Cotswolds– thank you for making our stay such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The White Horse Inn for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

 

Hotel Review: The Francis Hotel, Bath – 4* Luxury in the heart of Bath Spa

 

 

Last week on my press visit to Bath Spa with Visit Bath I was invited to stay at the gorgeous Francis Hotel, a luxurious 4* hotel located in the heart of Bath. Formerly a row of Georgian terraced houses, the hotel has been glamorously restored and fitted with the newest mod-cons, whilst retaining the same 18th century charm that was once present on site. With fluffy pillows, retro in room telephones and cosy tea rooms, The Francis Hotel offered a luxurious and comfortable stay during my visit to Bath. Here’s my full review of this stunning hotel…

 

The Location

 

The exterior of this #hotel is so beautiful 😍 #bath #visitbath #Igersbath #tbt #getaway #UK #GB

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Set in the popular Queens Square area, The Francis Hotel is in a perfect location from which to enjoy the best that Bath has to offer. Both the city centre and all the major landmarks are within walking distance, and there are an abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants within easy reach. The hotel offers onsite car parking on a first come, first serve basis, and is easy to find. If, like I did, you’re arriving by train, the station is just a 10 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride away.

 

The Room

 

 

This hotel isn’t just 4* for it’s fab location, the rooms are gloriously spacious and comfortable with little luxurious touches. We stayed in a superior twin room that was complete with en-suite shower room, large wardrobe with slippers and dressing gowns and an LCD TV and desk area. The room was so lovely and a really welcome place to return to after a busy day’s sightseeing! We were left a little note and a sweet treat by the hotel staff which was a really lovely touch, and I just LOVED the retro in-room telephone!

 

The Facilities

 

The lounge area at The Francis Hotel- I'm still in love! 😍🇬🇧 #bath #visitbath #hotel #getaway #UK #GB #igersbath

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

 

This isn’t a spa hotel so there isn’t a spa, sauna or swimming pool, but the hotel does boast a range of other facilities making it worthy of its 4 stars. There are really beautiful lounge areas in which to relax and indulge in some quintessentially English afternoon tea, and there are bar areas too. There’s also a lovely little secret garden at the rear of the hotel offering guests the chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.

 

The Staff

 

 

We found the staff at the hotel to be really friendly and helpful during our stay. Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, but the concierge and reception staff were on-hand to make sure our bags were kept safe and were subsequently delivered to our room whilst we were out exploring. They opened the doors and lifts for us and we were greeted with friendly smiles whenever we walked in and out of the hotel. A big thank you to the lovely staff for making our stay so special!

 

The Verdict

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at this stunning hotel right in the heart of the city. I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit to Bath for a truly luxurious stay. We didn’t have breakfast so I can’t comment on that, but if you wish to opt for breakfast you can do so at a cost of £19.50pp. The Francis Hotel is genuinely one of the best UK hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and I already can’t wait to plan a return visit in the not too distant future!

 

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Francis Hotel. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough for anyone looking for a comfortable and luxurious stay in the heart of Bath – thank you for making our stay in the city such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The Francis Hotel for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

Wishing I was back at this beautiful hotel on this sunny Thursday! #tbt #bath #visitbath #hotel #getaway #igersbath

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Hotel Review: Hotel Opera Roma – A hidden gem in the heart of Rome

entrancehoteloperaroma

Image courtesy of www.hoteloperaroma.com

 

Last month I had the pleasure of staying at the wonderful Hotel Opera Roma, a smart 3* hotel located in the heart of Rome. I stayed with my sister as part of our Italian Escapade; we were on the last leg of our trip so were feeling utterly exhausted and were hoping to spend our last few days in Italy getting some good nights sleep in-between our final days of sightseeing. We were greeted with friendly smiles and looked after well by the staff on site, with the receptionist even taking us up to our room in the lift and carrying our suitcases for us! Here’s my full review of this lovely hotel…

 

The Location

Perfectly positioned on Via Firenze, just off of the city’s main street, Via Nazionale, Hotel Opera Roma enjoys a quiet but central location close to all of Rome’s major landmarks. As the name suggests, the wonderful Opera Theatre is right opposite the hotel and is just a 5 minute walk to Roma Termini – super handy for those walking/getting a (very quick) taxi to and from the railway station! There are a handful of bars and small shops dotted along Via Firenze and the surrounding streets, but Via Nazionale is where the action happens and is home to most of the high street shops as well as bars, cafes and restaurants. Piazza della Repubblica is also just a 5 minute stroll away and is brimming with small shops, cafes and a couple of museums.

 

Sometimes a Hop on Hop off bus is the best way to see the #city #sights! #Rome #italy #wanderlustwednesday #citysightseeing

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Most of Rome’s major landmarks are within easy reach of this hotel; the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps were a 15-20 minute walk away (quicker once you know where you’re going!) and the Pantheon can be found in approx. 25 minutes. The Colosseum and Roman Forum were a 20 minute walk away, although we used the Hop on Hop off buses to navigate our way to and from these areas, and Vatican City should be explored by bus too as it’ll take you over an hour to walk it! Pretty much every thing you would want to see in the centre of Rome can be walked to without the need for a taxi, so the location is perfect.

The Rooms

The hotel is made up of a small number of rooms and suites laid out over two floors accessed by an elevator; all tastefully furnished and with modern bathrooms. The beds are comfortable, the wardrobe (complete with electronic safe) is spacious and there is desk-space as well as a small fridge with mini-bar. Our room had a small balcony overlooking a quiet street and there was an air conditioning/heating system as well as LCD satellite TV too. The bathroom was gorgeous, and had one of the best showers I’ve ever seen!

 

I stayed in over 30 different hotel rooms this summer, but this one in #Rome was one of my faves! #roma #italy #ig_italy

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

The Breakfast

Breakfast was served each morning in the downstairs dining room and there was a large continental section with croissants, pastries, breads, fruit and cereals, as well as a strange assortment of cakes, pies and quiches (not quite a full English, but that’s continental breakfasts for you!). The breakfast room was small but modern with elegant décor and had room for guests to sit down and take their time over breakfast, starting the day off nicely.

 

The breakfast room at Hotel Opera Roma – full #review and #blog #post coming your way! #Rome #Roma #italy #ig_italy

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

The Staff

The staff onsite at Hotel Opera Roma were so lovely and couldn’t do enough to make our stay a pleasant one. Upon arrival we were given maps of Rome and the locations of all the local landmarks were explained to us, as well as info on nearby bus routes, recommendations for local restaurants and details on airport transfers. The reception is 24hours but the exterior doors are always locked so access with a key card is needed at all times – that actually gave us a sense of added security and made us feel totally safe during our stay.

I needed to print some train tickets out whilst I was at the hotel so I forwarded the email to the reception staff and they printed the document for me with no problem at all and were on hand no matter what our query was. The staff really helped to make our stay a happy one and we couldn’t have asked for more!

 

 

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Hotel Opera Roma. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough for anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable stay in the heart of Rome – thank you all for making our last few days in Italy so fantastic! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

Last night in #Rome booooo 😭😭 #ciao

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

,

A Charming Cotswolds Retreat: Royal Afternoon Tea at Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham Spa

ellenborough park hotel

Image courtesy of www.ellenboroughpark.com

 

Last Monday I was invited to the beautiful Ellenborough Park, a five star Cotswold manor house hotel located on the outskirts of Cheltenham Spa, to review their Royal Afternoon Tea. The promotion is running until 30th June 2016 in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebrations and offers guests a fantastic dining experience amongst stunning settings on the original Cheltenham Racecourse estate. I attended with my sister, Hannah, who absolutely LOVES afternoon tea. I thought she would be the perfect plus one to help me with my review and, I was right, she definitely didn’t take much persuading! 😉 We had a fantastic afternoon in the most beautiful of surroundings and were suitably stuffed by the time we had finished! Here’s how we got on…

Upon arrival we were greeted by the lovely Jonathan, one of the waiters who looked after us for most of the day. We were shown to our table, or in this case, an exclusive lounge on the first floor of the dining room where we were made to feel like true VIP’s for the day. With quirky antique tables and chairs and large windows as well as a balcony overlooking the rest of the dining room, our executive lounge made the perfect place from which to enjoy our Royal Afternoon Tea.

 

Exclusive lounge for our #royalafternoontea @ellenboroughpk yesterday! 🍰☕️#Cotswolds #cheltenham #review #traveltuesday

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Shortly after we were seated, and had finished gazing in awe at our new surroundings, we were shown the menus by Jonathan and were able to select our teas. There was a wide range of teas from traditional English breakfast to raspberry, rooibos and even chocolate flavoured. We both chose the strawberry and mango infused tea which was brought to our table in a cute little teapot with cups and saucers. We then ordered the Royal Afternoon Tea for two which was brought to us promptly.

 

 

Hannah and I couldn’t believe our eyes when the afternoon tea arrived, there was literally SO. MUCH. FOOD! The menu, by executive head chef David Kelman, boasted three tiers of sumptuous goodies including sandwiches, scones, cakes and sweet treats. The bottom tier comprised of a range of sandwiches including honey roast ham with Tewkesbury mustard, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise with cress and cucumber with tomato and spicy relish. We actually swapped the smoked salmon sandwiches for cheese and pickle ones as we aren’t huge fans of salmon but we both love our cheese! The sandwiches were perfectly cut, neatly filled and incredibly tasty.

 

The middle tier was home to freshly baked Ellenborough Park fruit scones with jam and clotted cream. The scones were fresh out the oven and were still warm so the jam and cream set on the top just nicely and were mouth-wateringly good! Finally, the top tier showcased some of the most fantastic dessert pieces I have ever seen. We were treated to meringue swans filled with fresh strawberries (they were GENIUS!) and Her Majesty’s  favourite chocolate cake with white chocolate flag which was truly scrumptious. There was also a salted caramel Tudor rose chocolate which was incredibly rich as well as Her Majesty’s passionfruit hat, a passionfruit mousse set on a biscuit base with passionfruit glaze and edible sugar flowers which was a delight!

 

Hannah and I devoured almost everything on each tier and were fit to burst by the time we had finished! We thoroughly enjoyed each and every aspect of the afternoon tea and there was no item on the menu which wasn’t expertly made or presented. The 5 star surroundings added to the luxurious atmosphere and it was certainly a dining experience to remember.

 

Can I eat all of these again please?! ☕️🍰 @ellenboroughpk #cotswolds #cheltenham #review #afternoontea

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Ellenborough Park’s Royal Afternoon Tea prides itself on reflecting “the Queen’s love of horses, decades of fashionable hats for royal engagements and guardianship of the nation’s swans.” Executive head chef David Kelman’s “celebratory afternoon tea adds a touch of regal splendour to this quintessentially British delight, served on china fit for a queen.”

With its stunning buildings and sprawling grounds, Ellenborough Park prides itself on “providing guests with the finest hotel accommodation and service in the Cotswolds.” You’ll find 60 large bedrooms and suites as well as two on-site restaurants lead by award winning executive head chef David Kelman. Facilities include an impressive Indian-themed spa and a 15m heated outdoor swimming pool  whilst other leisure activities within the hotel grounds can also be arranged.

 

Beautiful day, beautiful hotel! Thanks so much for having me @ellenboroughpk ☀️🏨 #Cotswolds #visitgreatbritain #cheltenham

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

To celebrate all things British and enjoy a quintessentially English dining experience book your table at Ellenborough Park today! Royal Afternoon Tea is priced at £22pp Monday – Thursday or £25pp Friday-Sunday. An optional glass of Champagne Billecart-Salmon can be added for an extra £12pp. To book, please call the hotel directly on 01242 545454 or email info@ellenboroughpark.com. Thank you to all at Ellenborough Park for looking after us and for giving us such a wonderful afternoon – I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough and I will certainly be back!

Love Jess x

NB. I dined with Ellenborough Park as a guest for the purpose of this review but all views are my own.

 

 

Hotel Review: A relaxing stay at the luxurious Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars

Sooo this is my view for the weekend.. another hotel another review! 😍😍

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying at the fantastic Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars, a luxurious 4* hotel located in the heart of Gloucestershire. I stayed with my mum and two sisters for a surprise 21st birthday weekend away and we had the most fantastic time! We were greeted with friendly smiles and made to feel like VIP’s by the wonderful staff from the minute we stepped foot on site. The sun was shining all weekend and the weather ensured we definitely made the most of our outdoor balconies! Here’s my full review of this wonderful complex…

The location

 

Perfectly positioned at the edge of the Cotswolds, the hotel is nestled amidst the Cotswold Water Park complex in South Cerney, Gloucestershire. Although close to the hustle and bustle of the nearby water park, with its inland beach, 140 lakes and water sports aplenty, the hotel is busy but surprisingly quiet with its enviable location offering guests a relaxing and luxurious stay in 4* surroundings.

 

#throwback to last weekend's home from home 📷🏡 @cotswoldwaterpark

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Situated off the A419 just 3 miles from the market town of Cirencester, with its abundance of shops, pubs and restaurants, the hotel is in a prime location from which to explore the Cotswolds and its wonderful Gloucestershire countryside.

 

The rooms

 

The hotel is made up of 328 double/twin standard, superior and deluxe rooms, studio, one bed and two bed apartments, all of which are en-suite and are equipped with modern features including flat-screen TV’s, working desk areas and free internet access. Many of the rooms boast beautiful lakeside views and external balconies with seating areas and decking.

 

 

We had the privilege of staying in two deluxe lakeside rooms in the Watersedge block, both of which were beautiful and offered wonderful lakeside views. We were treated to robes, two bottles of Prosecco, a fridge stocked with water, wine and snacks and handwritten notes from the staff wishing us all a wonderful stay for my sisters 21st birthday! Those special touches really added to our stay and we felt so looked after the whole time!

 

 

Missed waking up to this view this morning!! 😍😍 #cotswoldwaterpark @cotswoldwaterpark

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

The facilities

 

The hotel boasts a number of features including 24 hour reception, bar and The Brasserie restaurant and a Sky TV Lounge – definitely one for the sports fans – as well as conference and wedding rooms, a gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Spa 6 offers guests the chance to unwind and de-stress in one of their many relaxation rooms whilst treatments such as massages, mud rasul’s and pedicures can be booked to enjoy a little bit of luxury on site.

 

 

Our weekend included full use of all the facilities and one choice of spa treatment each. My mum and sister opted for massages (back/neck/shoulder and an Indian head massage) whilst my other sister and I chose the mud rasul for something a little different. The therapists were so friendly and nothing at all was too much trouble for them. My sister was treated to a glass of Prosecco for her 21st (naturally) and the whole ambience was just perfect. The swimming pool however was rather noisier, with children and armbands taking over the water and the steam room and sauna was pretty crowded. We were staying over a weekend and chose to go to the Spa on the Saturday afternoon which was probably the busiest part of the day but we still had a lovely time.

rasul

We booked for dinner in the brasserie on the Saturday evening and the place was HEAVING! The restaurant manager, Valentin, was fantastic and made sure we were looked after all night. We were promptly taken to our seats and our food arrived shortly after; the menu choice was good with plenty of options to suit all tastes. Between us we chose the fish and chips and the angus steak burgers, all of which were delicious and beautifully cooked. For pudding we opted for ice cream, a blueberry cheesecake and petit fours, again all were very tasty and were brought to our table quickly. Despite the busy restaurant we were made to feel like we were high priority and our dining experience was wonderful – thank you Valentin for looking after us!

 

The breakfast

 

Breakfast the next morning was served in The Brasserie and we were greeted by the lovely Valentin once more before being shown to our table. Again I think we picked the busiest part of the morning as there were queues out the door but guests were seated promptly and the self-service style buffet certainly helped to speed up the queue!

 

 

There was so much choice at breakfast we didn’t know where to start! There was a plentiful continental section with croissants, pastries, breads, fruit and cereals, as well as a hot plate section for those looking to start off their day with a good Full English. We all chose to have a bit of both and started with a bowl of cereal followed by a couple of Danish pastries before demolishing a hearty cooked breakfast made up of sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, hash browns and tomatoes. We were so full we didn’t eat until later on that night and we thoroughly enjoyed kick-starting our day with a fantastic big breakfast which really made our stay complete.

The staff

 

All of the staff were so friendly and helpful, with beaming smiles and fantastic attitudes. Diaina, the general manager, was wonderful and really made our stay that extra bit special. She greeted us personally at reception, escorted us to our rooms via the hotel buggy and was on hand to answer any queries or arrange any other requests we might have had. The staff at the Cotswold Water Park hotel are a credit to the Four Pillars network and I hope to revisit soon.

Up bright and early to catch the sunrise over the lake 🌅🌅 #cotswoldwaterpark

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

So there we have it, my full review of the stunning Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough for anyone looking for a little bit of luxury in unique surroundings in the beautiful Cotswolds! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

 

Looking for #reflections 👀 #cotswoldwaterpark

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Thank you @cotswoldwaterpark for an amazing stay.. hotel review coming soon! 📝🏨#cotswoldwaterpark

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on