,

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

Hotel review: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge – A Little bit of Luxury in London!

 

So this is the view from our room…. 🇬🇧😍

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

 

I have just returned from a fantastic weekend away in London with my best friend – we were in town to attend the glitzy UK Blog Awards which I was SHORTLISTED for in the travel category (more about that in another blog post)! The ceremony was held in the swanky Park Plaza hotel in Westminster and it just so happens that I was at the very same hotel last October to review their bar and restaurant! When I heard that the Blog Awards were to be held at the hotel though I couldn’t resist booking a room and bringing my best friend along for the ride. Here’s my full review of this stunning property…

parkplaza

The location

Situated at the end of Westminster Bridge and overlooking Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye, the location of this hotel is truly enviable. The hotel’s most unique feature is its prime position at the heart of London, just a stones throw from two tube stations, numerous eateries and some of the most iconic tourist attractions in the entire city.

 

 

The stunning Westminster Abbey can also be found within the vicinity, just a 10 minute walk away, and the Embankment is just around the corner – the beauty of this hotel’s fantastic location is that you can explore a huge part of London without even needing to hop on a tube!

 

#thisislondon 😍🇬🇧

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

The room

The hotel is laid out over 14 floors and is made up of 443 superior rooms, 512 studios and 64 suites/penthouses. For the purpose of my stay I was upgraded to an executive suite with iconic views – basically I had an ENORMOUS studio with separate living room, bathroom and bedroom and had the most stunning views I’ve ever had the privilege of waking up to! On my left was Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, and on my right was The London Eye – could you get a more iconic view of London?! Our suite (room #1291) was 12 floors up giving us panoramic views across Westminster and we literally felt on top of the world.

I am SO missing waking up to incredible views like this! 😍😍 #traveltuesday #london

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

 

The double bed was super comfy, with fluffy pillows and a snuggly duvet, while the living room area with sofa (which could also be made up into a sofa bed) gave the suite an added sense of space – super handy when we were getting ready for the awards! The bathroom was sparkling clean with a huge sink, mirror, bathtub AND separate shower cubicle and plenty of towels as well as two dressing robes and slippers – that was a beautiful touch and it really made us feel as if we were right at home! The room also boasted tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar, Elemis bath products, two flat-screen LCD TVs, 24 hour room service and free WiFi throughout.

 

The facilities

Being a 4* hotel, I anticipated that there would be an abundance of facilities on offer to guests throughout their stay, and I wasn’t wrong! The hotel boasts two bars, two restaurants, an exclusive executive lounge (upgrades only), fitness centre and Mandara spa with sauna and steam room as well as a swimming pool. Oh and you’ll find a coffee bar, ballroom and meeting rooms a plenty.. what more could you want?! The reception areas also offer the perfect chill out seats with the most incredible views across Westminster Bridge.

 

Through the looking glass… yeah I see you #bigben 😍

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

Brasserie Joel and Primo Bar are located on the first floor, both of which are extremely popular with guests and tourists alike – you can read my separate reviews for both of these here. We actually dined for lunch at Brasserie Joel and had the most amazing meal – the set menu was fantastic value for money at just £13.95pp – who said London hotel prices had to break the bank?! Big thank you to Gregory and Didier for looking after us!

 

 

Unfortunately we didn’t have time during our stay to visit the Mandara spa, complete with its sauna, steam room and pool, but it did look incredible! A wide range of beauty therapy treatments, from massages and makeovers to waxing and hairstyling, were on offer to guests for competitive prices. Next time I will have to make that all important spa trip!

The breakfast

Anyone that knows me will know that I love my food and, as it’s the most important meal of the day, breakfast is always a big part of my hotel stay. I enjoy a mix of continental and full English so was pleasantly surprised to see that pretty much every breakfast food imaginable was on offer the next morning! I was sort of expecting everything to be continental (and healthy) as Park Plaza is a large European and worldwide chain but thankfully I was able to devour a hash brown (or 5) and a couple of good old British sausages!

 

There were two breakfast rooms, one in the same place as Brasserie Joel, and the other on the lower floor. Both rooms were huge and more than adequate for serving breakfast – there were SO many people yet there was plenty of food to go round. We had been told that the hotel was fully booked so I can imagine that there were thousands of breakfasts being tucked into over the bank holiday weekend!

The staff

I was so impressed with the lovely staff at the hotel, all of whom were attentive, approachable and friendly – nothing was too much to trouble. From the reception and front of house staff to the waitresses to the housekeeping team, everyone was so welcoming and really made our stay such a happy one.

After lunch we returned to our room to find a beautiful dessert platter and a note that had been left on the side – this thoughtful gift really added that extra special touch and I felt so lucky! We were treated like VIPs the whole weekend and it was truly wonderful.

 

Agathe from the reception team also took the time out of her day to show us the executive lounge; an exclusive area for guests looking to relax in a quiet part of the hotel. Complete with all inclusive breakfast and afternoon food and drinks buffet, indoor atrium and views of Big Ben, an upgrade to the executive lounge is a unique experience worth splashing out on!

 

So there we have it, my full review of the beautiful Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. I honestly cannot recommend this hotel enough and I would encourage anyone who wants to sample a true taste of London to book a room and enjoy a little bit of luxury! For more information on this hotel or to book a room please visit their website directly.

 

Thank you SO much to all at Park Plaza for a wonderful stay – I will certainly be back!

Love Jess x

NB. This was a partly sponsored post and I collaborated with Park Plaza for this review but all thoughts, opinions and images are totally my own.