ew for the summer of 2021, The Tawny is presented as a “deconstructed hotel”. In reality, that means secluded cabins and quaint waterside retreats dotted over acres of secret gardens and nature-filled forests with all the comforts of a grand hotel – heated outdoor pool, gourmet restaurant, and pampering treatments. spa.
In the Staffordshire countryside, twenty minutes from Stoke-On-Trent, on the grounds of Consall Hall. The ‘deconstructed hotel’ is set on 70 acres of exquisite wild gardens, woodlands and lakes. Five miles of paths wind through the park with splurges and falls hidden during hours of solitary exploration (we didn’t see anyone else on our afternoon walk).
A three hour drive from London, it’s easy for a long weekend. Nearby you will find Alton Towers, world-class British ceramics from Emma Bridgewater, Wedgwood and Burleigh and the endless wonders of the Peak District including Chatsworth House are a 45 minute drive away.
The aim here is to provide guests with a front row seat to admire the beautiful gardens. Fifty-five shepherds’ huts, treehouses, boathouses and retreats are scattered around the land (some are still under construction).
Cabins and treehouses feel secluded and tucked away under tree canopies, while boathouses are lakeside with floor-to-ceiling windows for nature viewing (you’ll find geese, tufted ducks, moorhens). Interiors are Scandinavian and comfortable with freestanding soaking tubs and globe-lit outdoor Jacuzzi tubs a real treat.
The main building, which one might expect to be a grand country mansion, is a striking glass-fronted masterpiece by local architectural firm ctd, designed to resemble the eyes of tawny owl. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken here at the Plumicor restaurant – or on the terrace. Again, the centerpiece is the view, but interiors are funky with tropical-print chairs, vertical garden walls, and hanging light globes.
The scenic pool is heated year round (again with those views), but could benefit from more lounge chairs and a changing room.
A small selection of spa treatments are offered in the on-site thatched cottage, and there are plans to expand the hotel’s wellness offerings.
Yoga mats are provided in all rooms and recycled bicycles will be made available for free later in the year.
Even the smallest Shepherd’s Huts are spacious with a private outdoor patio, Jacuzzi, freestanding tub, separate living room with a large-screen TV and wood-burning stove, and a private bathroom. The skylights above the bed are designed for stargazing. Perfect for couples.
Families should opt for one of the waterfront boathouses, some of which can accommodate four people and have stand-alone tubs, outdoor spa tubs, and showers.
The minibar is free and replenished daily – a rare touch and extremely welcome. All accommodation types have king-size beds, bathrobes and slippers, a TV and a coffee machine.
Dinner at the Plumicor restaurant is offered at five-star prices, but we had some start-up issues with slow service (the hotel has only been open for a few weeks). The Staffordshire Heritage Beet Starters with Staffordshire Goat Cheese Mousse were fresh and tangy, while my guest ordered the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare twice in a row. The menu is light on vegetarian options (just the one while we were there), but carnivores will be satiated with beef tenderloin and local Dunwood Farm butter soft lamb as well as Packington pork belly.
Lunch – best taken in the sun on the terrace with a bottle of fresh rose and this view – was relaxed with tapas sharing plates and baked pizzas.
Breakfast is partly continental buffet, partly à la carte and included for all guests.
Couples after a nature break with flourishes and active families who will make good use of the heated swimming pool and magical gardens.
An overnight stay at the Tawny starts from £ 230 in Wildwood Cabins, £ 360 in Gazebo, £ 400 in Boathouses, £ 420 in Treehouses based on two people sharing bed and breakfast; thetawny.co.uk