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Lucky enough to find yourself with a night or two away from work, family, or the stress that life throws at you? Then look no further than the Tawny Hotel: a new ‘deconstructed hotel’ in the Staffordshire countryside.
Located just outside the Peak District National Park in 70 beautifully landscaped acres of woodland, the Tawny promises a hotel stay like no other. Yes, the hotel has all the attributes of a top-notch luxury hotel: fine dining, a spa, and a heated outdoor pool, but the real selling point is the connection to nature. If like us you want to reconnect but you’re not the biggest fan of camping then this might be the place for you – outdoor bath, lake view, starry nights but not common sanitary block in sight …
Take your pick from the small but perfectly formed shepherd’s huts or the larger gazebos, treehouses and boathouses. We stayed in the Tufted Duck boathouse, which has a private deck, outdoor shower and spa tub, as well as enviable views of the lake and surrounding gardens. The rooms don’t necessarily cry out for individuality or quirky design, but they do have comfy king beds, luxurious bathrooms, and enough comforts to make you feel right at home, consider bathrobes and slippers fluffy, free mini bar, flat screen TV, tea, coffee and cookies. * Full Disclosure – As for the spa tub, we weren’t 100% convinced those circling the lake couldn’t see our wobbly bits, so pack a cossie just in case.
The Tufted Duck is about a 10 minute walk from the main reception and while walking 70 acres can seem intimidating after a drink or two, fear not there is a golf cart on hand to help you get there. move and room service for bottled drinks and pizza if the trip to the restaurant seems too long.
If a tour of the park has whetted your appetite, then the Feather Bar is a great place to pick me up quickly. The menu has a selection of tapas, pizzas and platters to share – we’ve stocked up on calamari, crispy chicken strips and good beef blade coupons… and we recommend them all.
For something more lavish, the grandiose double-height, glass-fronted Plumicor restaurant stands proudly atop the Consall Estate, offering views of the lakes and gardens.
Fine cuisine and local ingredients showcase the chef’s love for local produce and celebrate British cuisine. To start, we opted for quail with pomegranate, kale, tahini & granola and yellow tuna served as a tartare, pan-fried and confit with egg yolk & pickle. We followed with the beef and pork brisket accompanied by buttered new potatoes, heirloom carrots with pine nut crumble and grilled parmesan leeks. At just under £ 100 per person it’s not cheap, but we also went for 3 courses, cheese, champagne and a bottle of red and it was all delicious.
The main selling point of The Tawny is nothing, and by that we mean the ability to log out and do nothing. Relax in your hot tub, read this long-awaited bestseller, or take a walk in the park. Breathe the country air, listen to the ducks, spot a pheasant or a deer and take the time to appreciate the art of not doing much.
If you can’t stand still, book yourself a treatment at the cottage spa, take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, or challenge your companion to a game of table tennis.
Further afield, a trip to Trentham Monkey Forest is a fun way for any animal lover to spend a few hours, while adrenaline seekers can head to Alton Towers, and for those with a penchant for the historic, Chatsworth House and Wedgewood Museum are both on time.
Prices at the Tawny start from £ 230 at Wildwood Cabins, £ 360 at the Gazebo, £ 400 at Boathouses and £ 420 at Treehouses. All rates are based on two-person sharing and include bed and breakfast. Consult the prices of the retreats launched in 2022.
* Note * We were one of the first to visit and the hotel is still a part of construction, meaning some areas of the 70 acres were off-limits.