You know you’re in for a treat when the reception committee at your holiday venue comprises an immaculate 10-year-old offering a warm welcome and explaining that his mum is just taking something out of the oven but will be round in a minute.
Young Dominic was then upstaged by Anna, who raced around the corner, carrying fresh scones, bread and eggs, plus home-made preserves, with which to usher is in. But we – myself and partner Terry, from Gloucestershire, and my brother David and sister-in-law Isabelle, from West Yorkshire – felt that Dominic’s genuine welcome set the tone for our visit.
Once inside we enjoyed a tour of the property, a converted coach house set on a country estate with the original property tucked away behind a wall ensuring our complete privacy.
The Coach House boasts five bedrooms, two ensuite master rooms plus three twins, and a family bathroom. There’s also a reception area, lounge with woodburner, TV, DVD player and sound system, plus the sort of comfy chairs and sofas you just sink into. Across the hall you step into a huge kitchen with central workstation, table for 11 (at least) plus no less than three ovens, six-ring hob, microwave and grill – so guests can easily cook for large numbers.
And there’s a dishwasher to clear up afterwards. Just like home, only a lot more luxurious!
The private courtyard features a grape vine and olive trees, plus a hot tub, table and chairs, sun loungers and a barbecue. It’s self-contained and private, perfect for al fresco breakfast and supper, and for relaxing under the stars.
All the comforts of home, plus fresh flowers, are provided throughout, but if you really want to be pampered you can also arrange for a local chef to come in and do all the cooking for you. Anna’s also happy to arrange sessions at a local spa, the golf course down the road, murder mystery evenings and pretty well anything else.
Our first decision was working out which of the five bedrooms we’d stay in – we went for the two ensuite master rooms but all offered an equally-high standard of furnishings and fittings. Then it was time to tuck into the scones and jam, and to sample what every traveller needs after a long drive, a soak in the outdoor hot tub.
Anna had the wood-fired tub heating up ready for our arrival, and the water was an incredible 39 degrees. We didn’t need to fire up the tub again – on day two of our stay it had cooled down to a mere 36 degrees, and by day three it was still at a very comfortable 33 degrees. It became the focal point of our stay, with evening dips under the fairy lights of the courtyard being a highlight of the visit.
The other undoubted highlight was the clay pigeon shoot that Anna arranged for us. Former GB team member Neil Bedingfield called round at 9am on the Tuesday and escorted us to the next-door paddock where the horses had moved out to allow us access.
With a sunshade, seating, cool drinks and cake laid on for our comfort, all four of us took turns to relax while watching the incredibly-patient Neil take us through the basics of shooting. It was something new for all of us, and the one-hour taster session provided plenty of laughter and entertainment. Terry proved to be the champion, closely followed by Izzy, but all four of us had a great time, thanks to Neil’s expert tuition and encouragement. I’d recommend it for any visitors.
In short, The Coach House proved to be a home from home at the luxury end of the market. Children are well catered for too, with their own playhouse and plenty of toys. And while furnishings on their own don’t make for a memorable stay, all the mod cons were backed up by friendly and genuine service, to make us feel not as customers but as honoured guests.
A super venue and fantastic service, I’d recommend this for a family get-together, stay over with friends or any special occasion.
The Coach House