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Malmaison Cheltenham

Muddy says: We love this chichi hotel in Cheltenham for its chic Montpellier location and grande dame exterior that segues into cool, eclectic interiors.

Victorian villa formerly The Savoy, Kandinsky, The Montpellier Chapter

Even by Regency Cheltenham’s standards, the Malmaison is rather special. Formerly The Savoy (yes, we’re in high-end hotel land here), it boasts impeccable period features, as well as a rather swish contemporary flourish out back in the form of a shapely steel and glass extension by Gherkin architect Ken Shuttleworth.

The interiors are über-stylish, with Eames chairs and avant-garde paintings dotted around the place, and a cool, laid-back ambience. The brasserie has a beautifully tiled open kitchen where artfully crafted modern dishes are created. The bar rocks cocktails and good times by night and lattés and loungers by day. And the Victorian conservatory with its wicker chairs and envy-inducing tiled flooring is the perfect setting for afternoon tea.

There are 60 rooms ranging from cosy doubles to a penthouse with its own staircase, terrace and monsoon shower. A REN spa offers facials and massages and guests have 24-hour access to a fitness room and the Cheltenham Ladies College pool, squash and tennis courts, which are just five minutes’ walk away, as are the shops, restaurants, bars and beautiful Montpellier Gardens.

The perfect des-res? I’d say so!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Gloucestershire