What? A ‘deconstructed hotel’ to help you reconnect with nature
Where? A private 70 acre estate in rural Staffordshire, just a stone’s throw away from the Peak District.
How much? Rates start from £230 for two people in a Wildwood Hut, including breakfast.
Since The Tawny hotel first opened last year in July 2021, it’s been creating a buzz. With a unique ‘deconstructed’ design, incredible valley-top location and sprawling atmospheric grounds, it’s seriously insta-worthy. But the vibe here is all about helping you reconnect with nature via some much-needed screen-free time, making it perfect for a wellness weekend.
Deconstructed hotel, you say? How does that work?
Just like a regular hotel, except rather than having it all in one centralised building, it’s spread out across The Tawny’s spectacular estate. This means that the 50 rooms are dotted across the grounds in secluded spots, and blend in perfectly with the scenery.
And it really is all about the scenery here. Originally a disused quarry before it was bought and regenerated by its former engineer owner back in the 60s, The Tawny hotel was painstakingly transformed. As well as extensive landscaping, five lakes were created (although you’d struggle to spot they weren’t natural thanks to all the wildlife on them today).
Next, follies sold off by ailing stately homes across the country were brought in and strategically placed around the estate to give the grounds authentic Austen vibes. Each one now perches at a panoramic vantage point, from where you’ll see a tableau-like view that looks like it’s been lifted from a Constable landscape. The effect is achingly romantic.
What’s the accommodation like?
Rooms are grouped together in clusters, yet each one still manages to feel remote and deeply rooted in its surroundings. Choose from boathouses on the lake, treehouses perched on the hillside or over the valley, shepherd’s huts in the woodlands or secluded forest retreats.
We stayed in one of the new retreats, cedar-clad cabins hidden with amongst the woodlands for complete privacy. Inside, there’s a supersized bed looking out across the greenery through the panoramic window, as well as a submerged bath with a skylight above to look up at the stars. Out on your private deck, there’s a decadent spa bath for twilight dips as you soak up the sunset and listen to the hooting of the resident tawny owls, after which the hotel is named.
Run me through a typical day…
Amble through the grounds to breakfast (or dial-a-ride for a buggy if you accidentally hit the snooze button) and fuel up on a full English made from the freshest local produce or Insta-worthy avocado on toast.
Then it’s straight outdoors to explore. Reconnecting with the natural world, screen free, is the main agenda, but it’s hard not to continually whip out your phone to capture your surroundings when everything in your line of vision is, quite literally, picture perfect.
Borrow some wellies from reception and walk the 10km loop around the grounds, meandering through the woodlands and around the five lakes, each filled with feathered local wildlife. Expect garden games dotted along the trail in amongst the follies, from Connect 4 overlooking the bottom lake to table tennis hidden amongst the dilapidated crenelations of a drystone turret.
Fancy picking up the pace? Take one of the hotel’s bikes for a leisurely peddle instead into the surrounding area – the quaint village of Consall is on your doorstep, and the Consall Nature Reserve is quite literally next door. Plus, you’re only a 20 minute drive away from the rugged moorlands and picturesque dales of the Peak District, which has some of the best bike trails in the country.
After all that exertion, a dip in The Tawny’s swimming pool calls. This heated, outdoor Roman-bath like set-up also has a phone on hand for your to speed-dial orders up to the bar (because who doesn’t want a glass of bubbles while they soak up the stunning views across the gardens?)
Yoga out on the decking is also a must – mats can be requested for your stay so that you can complete your own practise. Alternatively, book a private guided session on your deck or in the heart of the gardens with resident yoga instructor, Natalie. Choose from three kinds of class – a gentle Rest & Restore Hatha yoga session, an upbeat Energise & Emerge Ashtanga, or an accessible Family Flow Vinyasa that you can do with the kids. Whatever you pick, it’ll feel pretty special in such a gorgeous natural setting.
And after I’ve worked up an appetite?
If you’re feeling in the mood for something fancy, head up to The Plumicorn – the hotel’s restaurant in the main building on the top of the hill. The food served here is swanky yet unpretentious – think gin-smoked salmon with apple and miso, the tenderest filet steak served with truffled pommes anna.
Of course, there’s no need to leave the oh-so-comfortable confines of your hut. The room service offers pizzas and flavourful flatbreads fresh out of the oven, as well as a selection of ‘boxes’ – think cheese, charcuterie, and a frankly banging box of sweet treats.
Is there a spa?
Sort of. A purpose built The Tawny Spa is in the pipeline, but for now you can choose from a menu of relaxing treatments, delivered in the fairytale thatched cottage at one of the best viewpoints on the grounds.
All treatments here use GAIA Skincare products – a brand whose ethos is based around harnessing the power of Mother Nature (a.k.a the Greek goddess after which it’s named). All are made with sustainable ingredients, completely vegan and come in a range of blends designed to help you tap into the energy you’re looking to channel that day.
I had an amazing hot stone massage from Siobhan using GAIA’s signature ‘Awakening’ oil blend of tangerine, grapefruit and peppermint. A perfect, zen-infused way to connect to ground yourself and feel connected to the beautiful scene outside of the cottage’s window.
Ok, so how do I get to The Tawny?
Stoke-On-Trent station is only a 20 minute drive away, and the hotel can sort out taxis to collect you. But there’s also plenty of parking if you do decide to go by car.
Anything else I should know?
Bring your babies! They’ve very welcome, regardless of whether they’re of the human or fur variety. Dog-friendly rooms are on offer for holidaying pooches, while travel cots, high chairs and kids adventure packs (compromising compasses, maps and games) can be requested for little ones.
Rates for a one-night stay at The Tawny start from £230 in a Wildwood Hut, based on two people sharing and inclusive of breakfast. For more information visit www.thetawny.co.uk
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