You work hard. And you do deserve a break which isn't someone else's hen, wedding or birthday, even if you've only got a night in play. For a load of luxe less than 90 minutes down the M5, we tried Calcot — a country house and spa which is homely whilst being way better than your actual house.
An outdoor Jacuzzi. In winter. And yes we are still in England. It shouldn't work, but when you add an audibly crackling fire, dusk — and crucially — a glass of something sparkling, we began to feel almost rudely serene. Included in every stay, get access to the whole spa, which includes indoor and outdoor pools, steam, sauna, relaxation room and gym. The excellent treatments are payable separately. Be as organised as you were born to be and opt for a room rate including spa credit if you know you'll want to book in.
When it comes to room selection, it's been said (okay it may have been shouted) that we get pretty obsessive on detail. Arranged around a tree-filled courtyard and in the main house, there are 35 individually designed havens, which, from small standard to deluxe, come with an abundance of Egyptian cotton, homemade shortbread and Aromatherapy Associates products. We stayed in Avening, which includes the best thing ever — a roll top bath. Though we kind of get the feeling we'd find a new best thing wherever we'd been located.
No one wants to drive when you're mini-breaking, but nor do you want to stay next to a loud pub, or be shackled to a stuffy hotel restaurant. Without leaving the driveway, Calcot's got the light-filled AA Rosetted Conservatory, where Tom Kerridge began his career. Or if something more casual is where you're at after a day of luxuriating, The Gumstool (pictured top) is the warm comforting hug of country pubs. And they'll even send pudding back to one of the numerous sitting rooms in the main house if you need a post-main pause.
And if anything guilt inducing should pass your lips, Calcot is set in more than 220 acres of land, with dog-friendly rooms and wellies to borrow at every exit. There are a couple of trails to pick from if you prefer the path well-travelled, or borrow a bike and make your own way. The lovely Gloucestershire village of Tetbury is a 90-minute amble or an easy ride away. Or head back to the Jacuzzi like we did. And relax.
Doubles are from £199, including breakfast in The Conservatory. Spa days and treatments are also available to non-stayers.