A home away from home
It was a bright summer’s day when we arrived in Cheltenham, excited to be on route to No. 38 The Park. With his curly locks gentling blowing in the breeze and an alert nose in the air, Rigby seemed to have taken his majestic surroundings to heart, and was exemplifying a true stately hound as we pulled up outside this towering regency townhouse. With no reception per se, it feels much like walking into a grand family home, and we were soon met by the manager’s two wonderfully-welcoming hounds, ‘in-office’ today and keen to give their wag of approval to Rigby.
Once doggy greetings and cuddles were well-bestowed, we were shown around this characterful and stylish home-away-from-home. No sooner was the door to our room opened, Rigby – never one to stand on ceremony – made a beeline for his comfy cushion bed, pausing only for a quick sniff of the bowl and treats which had been left for him. While Rigby snuggled down, I was shown around and told in no uncertain terms to ‘just make yourself at home’.
Modern, with old world charm, and the character of the building very much at the forefront, our room at the rear of the house (away from the main road) was tasteful and elegant. Neutrals are cleverly accented with bold-patterned wallpaper and super soft autumnal-inspired cushions and throws. Perfectly-positioned feature lights gave a nod to the underlying contemporary vibe here. I couldn’t help but raise a smile at the quirky, thoughtful features, such as the chunky knit tea-cosy adorning our teapot, with its own slide-out shelf – ideal for perfecting the perfect pot.
With the encouragement to embrace our surroundings front of mind, we made our way down to the light and breezy lounge area, where clever lighting and blue grey hues are used to great effect. Rigby contentedly mooched around, checking out his surrounds before selecting an airy spot by the towering, elegant windows on which to have a mid-afternoon snooze, while I picked up a magazine of two from those artfully scattered around.
Refreshed, we decided a walk was due. A table was swiftly booked for us at sister venue The Tavern, the dog-friendly gourmet diner, leaving enough time beforehand to properly explore. Crossing the road to the start of Pittville Park, we headed towards the famous Pump Rooms, past the park cafe, where many a hound was engaged in a post-walk chin wag. After a short stroll, we soon found ourselves exploring the parkland and lake beyond, making sure Rigby gave a wide birth to the swans and their cygnets who were floating elegantly near the shore. Once the trees were sniffed, squirrels chased and grassy banks rolled down (never mind Rigby’s exploits!), we adjusted our course to Cheltenham’s famous Promenade on our way to dinner.
Such a beautiful evening it was that after our post-dinner stroll home, we followed the sounds of chill-out tunes to the petite but perfectly-formed courtyard, where trickling water and birding song filled the summer’s air. Rigby took a pew, sniffing galore and meeting other residents with an outstretched paw, while I explored the well-stocked honesty bar. This has been thoughtfully designed, with even a chilled glass for your beer. Drink poured and seats selected, we settled in to enjoy.
After weighing up another drink in the delightful courtyard or diving into the luxurious, extra large double bed, the choice was made. We headed upstairs and were delighted to find cookies and hot milk awaiting us on our bedside, ready to lull us off into a deep slumber.
After a good night’s sleep in the silky soft linens and perfectly feathery cushions, we woke to find the sun peaking through the shutters. After a quick retrieval of the tray of fresh orange juice and croissants left outside our door as a prelude for the breakfast delights ahead, and perhaps just a little more snoozing, a long shower was in order under the powerful rain shower, while Rigby decided his bed really was just too comfy to leave just yet…
With the 100 Acres toiletries reviving me and readying me for the day ahead, and the well-stocked bathroom putting short shrift to those bits and pieces forgotten, I managed to rouse Rigby for his morning constitutional before heading to breakfast, tummies now rumbling.
With dogs not allowed in the main breakfast room during service, and the sun shining, I chose to enjoy breakfast in the courtyard, rather than the private dining area also on offer to furry friends. A much craved coffee pot was soon delivered before we headed to the continental buffet. With only the best produce allowed, the breakfast was a delight; with berries galore, fluffy pastries, a side of ham, and all the ingredients for a Bloody Mary to choose from, it was a struggle to make it to the selection of hot dishes also on offer.
Relaxed and settled, we reluctantly gathered our things and headed to say goodbye the the cheery staff. With Rigby looking back longingly, we took a final turn around the neighbouring Wellington Square garden, before making our way to the Cotswolds beyond.
No.38 The Park is the warm, welcoming home you crave. With human and hound embraced, life’s little luxuries at hand and a stunning town beyond, this is a destination to make your own – whatever the weather.