Woolley Grange Hotel

LOCATION: Woolley Grange is a 17th-century manor house located just to the east of Bath, on the outskirts of Bradford on Avon. It is part of Von Essen’s Luxury Family Hotels collection.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Although it’s a bit of a hike from the car park to reception (not easy with a couple of children in tow), the welcome once you arrive is great. Staff are on hand to greet you, as is the resident working cocker spaniel Peanut, and the rooms are full of quirks to make arrival a bit of an adventure.

THE FACTS: Woolley Grange offers 26 rooms and suites in the main house and adjoining buildings, with traditional rooms full of character in the main house and more contemporary options in the Pavilion. In keeping with its family-friendly billing, the hotel has an Ofsted-registered nursery with nannies on duty from 9.30am-5.350pm every day and a wealth of activities on offer for children of all ages. There is also a funky new spa built with local Cotswold stone and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The main restaurant offers fantastic modern British fine dining in the evenings under the watchful eye of head chef Mark Bradbury, and a range of meals including high tea for the little ones during the day.

WHO’S IT FOR: Woolley Grange is all about families. The odd couple may drop in and take advantage of the hotel’s pet-friendly stance, but as a Luxury Family Hotel it is targeted firmly at parents with a bit of disposable income who want to take their children or indeed their extended family away without letting go of the quality and service to which they are accustomed.

A GOOD BASE FOR: Bath is close by, and Longleat is a good option for a family day out, but the range of activities on offer mean your customers may prefer to just chill out and soak up the atmosphere.

WOW: It’s difficult to describe quite how well-tuned Woolley Grange is to make sure families have a comfortable and memorable stay. From free milk for children (I arrived at reception with a cup and was immediately asked ‘full-fat or half-fat, cool or warm?’) to nannying services and the option of taking the resident dog for a walk, everything is geared to children and their parents. Service is relaxed but attentive, and the resulting atmosphere is one of a family home rather than a top-end hotel. When the children are in bed in the evening, parents can treat themselves with a sumptuous dinner and fine wines while the little ones are looked after by a babysitter (charged at £10 an hour) or are monitored by reception staff via a baby-listening service. A big thumbs up goes to the walled garden, which houses elaborate play-houses and the spa, at which I received quite possibly the most relaxing massage I can recall. It’s certainly not for those on a budget, but for those who can afford it I challenge anyone to find too many flaws.

HOW MUCH: Prices for one weekend/school holiday night in a small double room start at £265 for B&B, including use of the Woolley Bears Den crèche and spa facilities.

woolleygrangehotel.co.uk

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