Wyck Hill House Hotel and Spa

This is a Country House hotel that sits in a beautiful area of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. It is a short distance from several tourist attractions, and a wonderful base to explore the quiet villages that are so typical of this area.
The hotel is situated on the A424 between Stow on the Wold and Burford which are both worth a visit. One of the most delightful tourist hot spots of the area is Bourton on the Water which is little more than six miles away.
Although there are no advance signposts for the hotel, the entrance is quite obvious with stone walls and flags. Unlike some Country House hotels, our SATNAV brought us right to the correct spot with the advertised postcode.
The building can be seen as soon as you turn into the tarmacked lane, and it is only perhaps 100 metres until car parking areas appear. A slight weakness is a lack of sign posts suggesting where to park, and you have to decide on the best directions on what appears to be a one-way system. There were ample parking spaces, and we chose a spot under some trees just a short walk from the entrance, but there are places right outside of the reception door if walking is an issue.
The building immediately looks impressive from the outside, and once inside, that feeling continues. The reception area was a little underlit with the check in desk situated under the staircase. It felt warm, and when I put my hand near the radiators, my suspicions were confirmed that the heating was on. It was over 20°C outside, and this temperature was typical of our stay. Fortunately the heating appeared to be restricted to the reception area, and the radiators in bedrooms were off.
The reception process was smooth and we were checked in and directed to our room within a couple of minutes. We were told how to get to the room via the lift, but it was a typical Country House hotel hike down corridors. Our arrival coincided with the first couple of our friends, and I can confirm that the lift was big enough for four people and four suitcases.
Our room was one of the biggest we have ever had with beds that can be made up as a double or two singles. There was sufficient clothes hanging space for our short two night break but maybe for those on a longer stay, the rail might get a bit congested. There was a decent sized chest of drawers with three drawers, with a television on top of it. The room also had a dressing table plus chair, bedside tables, and a glass top table with two further comfortable chairs. In the corner was a unit with safe, plus the usual tea making facilities.
The bathroom was similarly large. It had a bath with an overhead shower. The sink was one of the favoured flat shallow ones which I personally dislike. At least I was prepared for the tsunami wave effect when the tap was turned on hard.
The weakness of the bedrooms was a lack of air-conditioning. We were pre-warned of this on the hotel website, but for a hotel with a price that suggests a better than average standard, this is a serious negative point.
Our little group of six met up and we shared a bottle of champagne that was a part of the deal we paid for. It was a lovely moment to catch up our lives since we last met in a hotel near Stratford. We temporarily suspended our chatter to get ready for dinner, with plans to meet up on the terrace for another drink before going to eat.
Downstairs there is a small bar area which opens onto the delightful terrace with an evening view towards the setting sun. The terrace can also be accessed from the library next door to the bar. There is a range of furniture with some basic tables and chairs, plus adequate numbers of more relaxing seats with cushions.
With our drink over we made our way into the dining room.
There are three rooms used for eating. One was used to feed the coach tour parties that arrived late in the afternoons. Then there was a similar size room attached to the conservatory where our table was ready for us. The dining areas are of a good size and we didn’t feel crowded although the restaurant was just about fully occupied. Our table for six was also big enough to be comfortable, and we were all looking forward to a special meal
We were disappointed.
The food was a part of the deal and we had access to a menu with several choices, but the daily standards were not that appealing. A number of choices had a supplement which we avoided. There was then a dish of the day that changed from one day to the next, and similarly there was a fish dish of the day to choose from as well.
We virtually all went for the special dishes of the day.
The food was reasonable but hardly large portions. Again, we were expecting better, but it appears the chef is going for ‘small but beautiful’ rather than food to satisfy hungry visitors.
There was an ‘Amuse Bouche’ to begin which was mushroom soup drizzled with olive oil. This was OK but hardly any of us were enthusiastic about it. On the second night it was a chilled onion soup with almonds, and that really was not very interesting, or tasty. We all said it would have been far better if it was warmed up.
The main courses were small portions of meat or fish with very little else to excite the palette. On the first night my duck was resting on a bed of red cabbage with a marmalade relish plus a strange triangular slab of potato, and two broad beans. The taste (except for the potato) was very nice and the duck was very much to my liking, but it left me (and the others) looking for far more.
Fortunately, the pudding was very filling… but I was still hungry.
The service was fast and good with a small team of enthusiastic Eastern European waiters and waitresses. They did their best to be helpful and interact with us, but I wasn’t sure they really knew what we were saying and often forgot to bring things we asked for such as extra milk for our coffee and sweeteners.
Oh yes, and the coffee was a bit of a sore point. As we were eating our puddings, the waitress asked if we wanted coffee. We assumed it was a part of the meal, but no, it was extra, and worked out to be as much as bottle of their overpriced house wine.
We didn’t get caught out by that on the second night.
Next morning as we met for breakfast, we almost all said we hadn’t had a good night’s sleep. I found the bed too hard, while others said it was too soft. I think it might have been the uncomfortable warmth of the rooms, or the excess of sugary sticky toffee pudding at dinner.
Anyway, the breakfast. was good with a large choice of all the usual favourites. They even offered porridge with an optional tot of whisky.
We didn’t try it.
Deb and I took the chance to visit various places during the daytime in some beautiful sunshine. We used to live little more than 10 miles from the hotel but had not really explored the area since leaving there nearly 20 years ago.
The other four went on a vintage train ride that goes from Cheltenham to Broadway. A station at Toddington was just about 6 miles away from the hotel.
We met up again in the evening for a pre-dinner drink again, and a similar experience at dinner with less than enough to eat to satisfy our stomachs. Again I would say the food was well cooked and tasty but I doubt the Japanese coach group would have been satisfied with what they were given… unless they had a different menu to choose from.
After another sleepless night we had our breakfast and said our cheerios. All in all we had enjoyed meeting up with each other, but the hotel did not come up to our expectations. We didn’t have long enough to sample all that it had to offer. There is a Spa, but with no swimming pool it never really seemed interesting. There are large grounds to wander around, but once again we were only there for a short break.
In summary, the hotel is perfect to explore the area, but be careful to not rely on the hotel food if you enjoy reasonably large portions.
Would we go there again?
Probably not, but the area has lots of beautiful and interesting places to visit, and if we couldn’t find anywhere else, we might return just give it another chance.