The inspector is staying in a £355-a-night shepherd’s hut at a back-to-nature hotel in Staffordshire – and notes it reminds him of an ‘upmarket Center Parcs’.
- The inspector visits The Tawny, a ‘very ambitious’ hotel near Stoke-on-Trent
- Amenities include a discreet swimming pool and immaculate gardens
- The guests “eat well” and the environment offers children an “adventure in nature,” he says
- Remember, the inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is
One thing is clear. The trend for tree houses, shepherd’s huts, huts and huts in different shapes and sizes does not stop.
Here at The Tawny, near Stoke-on-Trent, you’ll find all of the above centered around lochs and woodland, along with outdoor baths, wood-burning stoves and decking.
This is an extremely ambitious project undertaken by two local couples who hope to build on the legacy of the late William Podmore who founded the Consall Gardens where the hotel is located.
Rustic Charm: The Inspector stays in a shepherd’s cottage or ‘wildwood hut’ like the one pictured at The Tawny, near Stoke-on-Trent
When I ask a staff member for background information on the place, she has no idea – but she brings us a book by Mr Podmore, for which we are very grateful.
The idea is clearly to benefit from a ‘back to nature’ vibe and that should be welcomed – but why are the steps leading up to our cabin made of plastic and designed to look like wood and why is the greenery fake in the central dining area?
We can’t help but think that everything is a bit contrived, although the gardens are immaculate and the discreet swimming pool on the terrace of the original house works brilliantly, looking down the valley below.
Shown is the interior of the Boathouse cabin. According to the inspector, the idea behind the hotel is to benefit from a “back to nature” atmosphere
“Hopefully little kids will see it as some kind of adventure in nature,” says the inspector of the hotel. Above is the Hillside Treehouse
“The building (pictured) that houses the restaurant, bar and billiards table is a modern building that looks as if a cable car is going to go up there,” notes the inspector
The building that houses the restaurant, bar and pool table is a modern building that looks like a cable car is about to go up there.
It’s a good place to eat and it’s obvious the chef is enjoying himself – he serves white chocolate ice cream with tuna tartare and adds octopus to pork belly.
Overall, it’s hard not to describe this as an upscale Center Parcs. We pay £355 B&B for our shepherd’s cottage – or rather, two shepherd’s cottages joined into one.
The front part has the tv on one wall but there is no comfortable place to watch it and for that kind of money you might expect a basin big enough to avoid water splashing on the floor, when you wash your face.
But good luck to The Tawny. Hopefully little kids will see it as some kind of adventure in nature. And that’s not a bad thing.
The Tawny, Consall Gardens Estate, Staffordshire, ST9 0AG. Wildwood cottages start at £225. For more information call 01538 787664 or visit us thetawny.co.uk.