In my last blog post for CheltenhamMaman on 24th April, I wrote about starting my journey to find out who I was again after I’d lost my sense of self, having spent the last seven years focussed solely on being Mama. Part of that journey was a LONG overdue night away without the kids for the hubby and I, the first one since our eldest was born six and a half years ago, so when Kate, the CheltenhamMaman asked me if I’d like to review the Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester, I jumped at the chance, (there may even have been a happy dance!).
We packed the kids off to school and playgroup, packed our stuff for the night, handed the reigns over to Grandma and left for Cirencester, which is a mere half an hour drive into the Cotswolds from Cheltenham.
Listening to our old albums (with lyrics inappropriate for small children) loudly like we used to before we had kids, we drove straight to the Kings Head Hotel in the centre of the town. The Kings Head is set in a stunning, imposing building in the main Market Square, with a welcoming mix of old and new. You can tell you are about to enter somewhere very special, just from the façade. We’d reserved a parking space in the hotel’s garage (£15 a night) and collected a key card from reception and parked the car.
Our room wasn’t available when we arrived so we left our bags and ventured out to discover this beautiful market town. I worked in Cirencester in the early 2000’s and boy has it changed since then! A host of wonderful independent interiors, gift and book shops litter the beautiful Cotswold stone streets alongside some of the more familiar names, Joules, Seasalt, House of Fraser, Monsoon and Fat Face among them. This place is shopping heaven. There are also some amazing coffee shops, pubs and bistros in the town centre, and we stopped in one for a delectable lunch. This was the first time I had enjoyed a glass of wine with lunch on a weekday in years!
After we had filled up on food and shopping, we headed back to the hotel to check in. We were greeted by the friendly receptionist and the check in process was quick and easy. We headed up to our room on the second floor and from the moment we opened our door it didn’t disappoint. The hotel has 45 beautifully appointed bedrooms all with Nespresso coffee machines and luxurious interiors. There has been some serious thought and interiors talent gone into the design of these rooms. I think I’d quite happily live in them all! Think boutique hotel, crossed with a lavish Cotswold country home and not a bottle of calpol or cuddly toy in sight – bliss.
We spent some quality, child free time in relative peace and quiet, (which is sacred as it is a rarity in our house!) and lounged in our bright and airy room which was furnished with sumptuous interiors. I almost didn’t want to leave it to head down to the hotel’s subterranean spa for a facial, but needs must!
On arrival at the small but perfectly formed spa, I was greeted by two lovely ladies and filled in a short health questionnaire. I was soon whisked off into the most amazing treatment room with a vaulted ceiling and it felt as far away from the hustle and bustle of this busy town as you could get. I instantly relaxed and drifted off in my own world whilst being pampered. The spa is a complete haven, with a relaxation room, hot tub, sauna and steam room, if I’d have come here with a group of girlfriends, we would have had an amazing day here and it would be hard to leave, but on this occasion, I headed back to the room and had a coffee to wake me up before dinner!
The rooms have everything you could need for an amazing stay – widescreen TV, coffee machines, bathrobes, complimentary mineral water, proper milk (no mini UHT cartons to wrestle with thank goodness), Elemis toiletries in the bathroom and the comfiest beds you have ever slept in.
We called the kids and grandma back home and to my amazement and pleasure, no one seemed to be missing us in the slightest – result!
A quick turnaround to get ready for dinner and drinks and we headed downstairs to the bar. Being greeted by the sight of backlit shelves, heaving with a huge selection of spirits made me feel a bit giddy. I didn’t have to drive, I didn’t have to parent this evening so by golly I was going to enjoy a gin or twelve! After only two gins we were seated at our table for dinner. The restaurant promises a relaxed style of fine dining, but here came the only gripe I had about the whole experience, the speed of dinner service, it was painfully slow at times and the restaurant only had 7 tables to serve and a private dining function, but when the food came, it was worth the wait. Mind blowing flavours with obvious attention to detail by chefs who clearly love what they do.
Although the service was slow, it was wonderful to take the time out with the hubby and spend some time chatting and focusing on us, without having to look at our watches and having to get back to relieve a babysitter (or grandma as we call her!).
After dinner, we retired back to the bar area for a couple of glasses of bubbly and it is obviously a popular bar with both locals and visitors alike and I can see why. We took our final drinks up to our room and crashed out.
After an amazingly comfortable night’s sleep, I awoke at 6.20am. Not the well-deserved lie in I had hoped for, but I did go back to sleep for an hour because I had no school run, no children climbing over my head or small people’s teeth to assist in brushing. This was all about us, we got up when we wanted, we went down for breakfast when we wanted, this was total self-indulgence and it felt great.
The breakfast was amazing, the service was great, the food was sublime and we went to pack feeling full and happy.
Checking out was as quick and efficient as the check in, but we were both sad to have been leaving such a beautiful place. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the hotel to anyone and I urge you to visit. The spa offers an amazing array of treatments for mothers to be, men, teenagers, and every top to toe treat you could dream of, the food is sublime, the staff are friendly and welcoming and the rooms are all perfectly appointed. I shall definitely be dropping hints for another night away there soon!
We left Cirencester and drove around the Cotswolds, stopping off for a short amble around the quaint village of Stow on the Wold. This was our time and it was incredible. We really reconnected as people again, not just as parents and driving home I realised that self-care is a priority and a necessity, not a luxury. As parents, most of our focus goes on these tiny humans that we have created or have been entrusted to us, but if we are too busy looking after others, who is looking after us? We were only away for 24 hours, but it gave us time to rest, relax and take time to get to know ourselves again.
Now, where to go next?
A Guest Blog from Victoria Seyforth
To encourage you Mamans to take some time for yourselves CheltenhamMaman has teamed up with The Kings Head in Cirencester to offer you an exclusive getaway rate.
Cheltenham Maman Spring Getaway at £199.00 per room, per night DBB for 2 people with a complimentary upgrade to Feature Room (subject to availability) and complimentary Gin Tray on arrival.
(Valid from May – August 2017. Based upon two people sharing a double or twin classic room. Rooms are subject to availability and Room Upgrades subject to availability. 3 course dinner to be chosen from our Daily Menu or £20.00 allocation per person to use towards our a la Carte menu. Full prepayment is required at time of booking and non refundable in the event of a cancellation.)
Victoria is an incredibly busy Cheltenham mum of two small people (who are 6 going on 16 and 3 going on 13) who runs Baby Prints Cheltenham, a local company taking casts of baby and children’s hand and feet. She is slowly amassing a collection of scarves to rival Imelda Marcos with her shoes and she is desperately trying to go sugar free at the moment. You can learn more about her or keep up to date with the exciting work she does on Instagram www.instagram.com/babyprintscheltenham or follow Baby Prints on Facebook as she’d like that very much.