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Cottage in the Wood – A Country House Stay in the Malvern Hills

Cottage in the Wood – A Country House Stay in  the Malvern Hills

Perched high in the Malvern Hills and with the most stunning views stretching as far as the eye can see is the magical Cottage in the Wood. This superior 3-star, 32-bedroom hotel, complete with a 2 AA Rosette-awarded restaurant, offers a unique stay in an Area of Outstanding Beauty in Worcestershire.

Cottage in the Wood is the perfect base for hiking and sightseeing in Malvern and its surroundings. From the back of the hotel, a trail leads directly into the hills, and a short drive will take you to the town of Great Malvern, a great place to explore.

Discover the stunning 11th-century priory, beautiful Rose Bank Gardens, Malvern Spring water fountain, and coffee shops and restaurants. Great Malvern is only a tiny place but is full of interesting and historic English landmarks.

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A Little Bit of History

The Cottage in the Wood Hotel consists of three buildings: the Main House, The Coach House, and the Beech Cottage. Once, the Main House was home to a local landowner, while the other two buildings were used for storage.

It was eventually sold and used as a hotel for many years before the current owners, in 2018, started renovations on the three buildings, transforming them into a fabulous boutique hotel, award-winning restaurant and cosy bar.

First Impressions

The hotel is in such an elevated position that the views are incredible. The panoramic vista is of never-ending green fields rolling on from the hotel until they reach the magnificent hills stretched across the landscape in the distance.

It is breathtaking, and the bonus is that you get to look at that view from your room, the restaurant, the bar, the outside terrace – just about everywhere!

White building in dense trees.

Step Inside

When you arrive, a warm welcome from a staff member awaits you. If you are early, you can leave your luggage and head straight out to explore Malvern. I found all the staff friendly, but a particular mention goes to Harry at reception, who was helpful and cheerful throughout our stay.

Many original features have been kept and mixed with 1920s art deco-designed pieces and 1970s and 80s pop memorabilia. Interior colour palettes of muted green and beige echo the surrounding landscape, while modern crystal ceiling lights add a pop of bling to stairwells and corridors.

Contemporary and traditional artwork adorns the walls, and in the foyer, a giant mural of Edward Elgar reminds guests that the famous composer once held a recital in the Main House and lived in Malvern.

Time For Bed

I stayed in the Coach House for the weekend in one of the “Best Rooms”. These rooms have unique features, including a luxurious king-size bed and record player. Yes, that’s right, you get to play vinyl in the comfort of your room.

For me, this is something that I have only experienced at Cottage in the Wood, and after spinning the discs and listening to the Rolling Stones, Beatles and Massive Attack, I am ready to climb into my loft and retrieve my stash of records from the 80s!

Wooden boxed record players with several LP records on the table.

If listening to vinyl isn’t your thing (if not, why not?), then relax with a good book and gaze at the countryside views through the window. Or better still, plan which walking route to take around the Malvern Hills. Believe me when I say there are many – we followed a route map and still ended up on a completely different trail!

The mattress and pillows were very comfortable, and the hotel was quiet at night despite being at full capacity, allowing me two nights of uninterrupted sleep. Pure bliss!

Bedside tables have art-deco-styled lamps and USB wall charging ports – a handy detail. Complimentary high-speed WIFI is available for all guests.

The room has a small modern art deco dressing table and chair, and a wardrobe and side table are in a separate area by the door.

A Room with a View

Triple-aspect windows let plenty of light into the room, and two small stools and a table are placed in front of the two main windows for those mesmerising views out to the Cotswolds. 

I was in an upper room (31), so I’m not sure whether the ground-floor rooms had such a fabulous view, as many tall trees were around. However, they did have small balconies/terraces, nice to use on a warm summer’s day.

Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed with the refreshments tray as it only contained basic tea and coffee sachets and not much else. I feel that a jar with homemade cookies and maybe a coffee pod machine would have been a welcome addition to the beautiful room.

Because the hotel ticks all the boxes on so many levels, it is easy to forget it only has a 3-star rating, albeit a superior one, so certain guest expectations may not be cost-effective for the hotel.

Freshen Up

The large bedroom incorporates a separate bathroom with an indulgent roll-top bath. It has thoughtfully been placed by the window so you can lie in the bubbles and enjoy the view – but bring bath bubbles with you as there are none in the room. There is, however, a selection of ‘Bamford’ toiletries (handwash, shampoo and conditioner) available for guests to use during their stay.

The hotel is taking steps towards caring for the environment by using large refillable bottles instead of individual miniatures. This is a great initiative, as less waste equals less plastic pollution.

For those who don’t enjoy soaking in a bath, a shower enclosure with a rainfall head will invigorate you after a long day of walking in the hills.

1919 Restaurant at Cottage in the Wood

Breakfast in 1919

Breakfast in 1919 Restaurant features a menu with cooked options alongside fruit and yoghurts. We found breakfast incredibly busy, and therefore, the service was slow. However, we did turn up at 9 am, which seemed to be the most popular time for most hotel guests – my tip would be to get to breakfast early to avoid a long wait.

Four-legged friends are welcomed at the hotel but not permitted in the main house, restaurant or bar; however, owners can use a lovely outdoor terrace.

Dinner in 1919

Dining at Cottage in the Wood is a special event. The interior design of the 1919 Restaurant is beautiful, especially the fabulous wallpaper that features woodland animals and gives the restaurant a wow factor. The staff is well-trained, especially Tiff, who delivers exceptional customer service.

Of course, the pièce de résistance are the incredible dishes created by head chef Rob Mason.

A set 3-course menu is available each night and served between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The restaurant is open to hotel guests and non-residents.

Our thoughts were that the menu was varied and catered for all palettes. The tricky thing was deciding what to choose as we would have liked to try everything on the menu! We got there in the end, and I must say every dish we chose was mouthwatering.

At the end of our meal, we agreed that the standards at 1919 Restaurant are on par with dining in London, but half the price!

Starters

For Me: Beetroot – Roasted beetroot, goat’s cheese custard, fermented beetroot dressing.

For Him: Ham Hock – a ham hock and duck liver terrine with spiced apple and grape chutney with smoked almonds.

Main Courses

For Me: Cod – Pan-roasted cod, champagne and smoked caviar cream with dill.

For Him: Beef: Braised beef shin, roasted carrot, brown butter mash, with red wine and port sauce.

We ordered sides, the tender stem broccoli and the garlic and herb potatoes, at a supplement charge of £5 for each dish.

Desserts

For Me: Pineapple – Iced coconut and lime parfait with cardamom cream, pineapple, mango sorbet and gingerbread.

For Him: Chocolate – Layered chocolate delice, hazelnut, malt ice cream and a sherry vinegar caramel.

A varied wine list includes a range of dessert wines and liqueur coffees.

Our unanimous decision on the food was that it was delicious, and if we lived nearer, we would be regular diners.

Has this menu whetted your appetite? If it has, you can make a restaurant booking here.

Lounge Bar

A colourfully decorated lounge with a well-stocked bar, cosy seating and modern pop art on the walls is a lovely area to chill out before or after dinner.

Would I recommend Cottage in the Wood to a friend?

Yes – without hesitation! This is a fabulous hotel to book if you want a comfortable stay at reasonable rates in an outstanding location. Add to that a fantastic restaurant, and you are all set for a stay in the stunning Malvern Hills.

Hotel Information

Cottage in the Wood, Holywell Rd, Malvern Wells, Malvern WR14 4LG

Telephone: 01684 588860

Email: reception@cottageinthewood.co.uk

Are you looking for an extra memorable stay? The Best Rooms in The Coach House have a four-post bed, roll-top bath, record player, and sensational views – perfect for a romantic break.

Activities Within Great Malvern

Food and Drink

Mac and Jacs is a lovely cafe next to the museum that serves healthy dishes and delicious cake.

Abbey Road Coffee serves excellent coffee and mouthwatering cakes.

The Mulberry Tree is a great place in town for lunch or dinner.

What to See and Do in Great Malvern

Great Malvern Priory has the largest display of 15th-century stained glass windows in England.

Malvern Museum – once the gatehouse to the priory, this building is now a small museum.

Rose Bank Gardens – These pretty gardens lead from the high street up into the Malvern Hills, with stunning views of Great Malvern Priory.

Belle Vue Island is a small area separating the higher and lower roads in Great Malvern and near the Rose Gardens. Here, you will find a statue of the composer Elgar (who lived in Malvern), the natural Malvina spring water fountain (yes, you can fill your empty bottle from here) and lots of information about the area.

Route to the Hills Trail is a great activity for all ages. It takes you on a historical trail of Malvern and gives information on the town. I found out visitors once used donkeys to take them up to the Malvern Hills, so they didn’t have to walk!

Malvern Hills.

Walking in the Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills offer some of the most amazing elevated views I have experienced in England for walkers. Numerous walking routes start in Great Malvern and will take you into the hills. I managed to do the following two walks during my weekend stay:

Walk One

Park the car at Upper Beacon Road (WR14 4EH) and do the circular walk, including the Worcestershire Beacon (425m). It is pay and display, but you can use your ticket at other car parks during the same day.

Walk Two

Park at British Camp (WR13 6DW) and take the pathway leading up from the car park. This route will take you to the Herefordshire Beacon (338m), from where you can enjoy incredible 360-degree views.

Black crow sitting on the back of a metal bench in the Malvern Hills.

Thank you to Cottage in the Wood for my complimentary 2-night stay for the purpose of this review.

My 2-night stay with breakfast and dinner at The Cottage in the Wood was complimentary for the purpose of this review. As always, my thoughts and comments are entirely my own and without bias.

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Elle Burne

Saturday 11th of December 2021

What a gorgeous hotel! I have never been to Malvern Hills, but when I do, I know where I will be staying!

sue

Saturday 11th of December 2021

This looks gorgeous! I love the Cotswolds (doesn't everyone?) but have never been to Malvern. I love the sound of this place - especially with the record player & the food made my mouth well & truly water. Think I need to head back to the Cotswolds in the new year!

Annie H

Saturday 11th of December 2021

Wow - that is so different to when I was hiking in the Malvern Hills and staying in the youth hostel - many years, actually many decades, ago. If I get another chance, I'll certainly be looking to do it in this kind of style!