The Tawny Hotel Review: Turn up, switch off and tune into a weekend of pure relaxation

(Image credit: Andrew Billington Photography)

Lucky enough to find yourself with a night or two away from work, family, or the stresses that current life throws at you? Then look no further than The Tawny Hotel: a new “deconstructed hotel” in the Staffordshire countryside.

Set just outside the Peak District National Park in 70 acres of beautifully landscaped woodland, the Tawny promises a hotel stay like no other. Yes, the hotel comes with all the trappings of a luxurious top notch hotel: fine dining, spa and outdoor heated pool, but the real selling point is the connection to nature. If like us, you want to reconnect but you’re not the biggest camping fan, then this might just be the place for you - outdoor bath, lake views, starry nights but not a communal shower block in sight...

The rooms

Take your pick from the small but perfectly formed shepherd’s huts or the grander lookouts, treehouses and boathouses. We stayed in the Tufted Duck boathouse, which comes complete with a private deck, outdoor shower and spa bath, and an enviable view across the lake and surrounding grounds. The rooms don’t necessarily scream individuality or quirky design but they do boast comfortable king size beds, luxurious ensuites and enough creature comforts to make you feel at home, think fluffy robes and slippers, a complimentary mini bar, flatscreen TV, tea, coffee and cookies.*Full disclosure - when it comes to the spa bath, we weren’t 100% convinced that those doing a turn of the lake couldn’t see our wobbly bits so pack a cossie just in case.

The Tufted Duck is about a 10-minute walk up to the main reception and whilst navigating 70 acres may seem daunting after a glass or two, fear not, there’s a golf buggy on hand to help you get about and room service for bottled drinks and pizza if the journey to the restaurant seems too much.

The food

If a turn of the grounds had worked up an appetite, then the Feather Bar is perfect for a quick pick me up. The menu offers a selection of tapas, pizzas and sharing boards - we refuelled on the calamari, crispy chicken strips and beef blade bon bons... and would recommend them all.

For something more lavish, the grandiose double height, glass-fronted Plumicorn restaurant sits proudly at the top of Consall estate, affording views across the lakes and grounds.

Fine dining and local ingredients showcase the head chef’s love of local produce and celebrate British fare. To start, we opted for the quail with pomegranate, kale, tahini & granola and the yellowfin tuna served tartare, seared and confit with egg yolk & gherkin. We followed with the beef and pork belly accompanied by buttered new potatoes, heritage carrots with pine nut crumble, and the charred leeks with parmesan. At just shy of £100 a head it’s not cheap, but equally we did opt for 3 courses, cheese, champagne and a bottle of red and everything was delicious.

The facilities

The main selling point of The Tawny is nothing, and by that we mean the opportunity to switch off and do nothing. Chill in your spa bath, read that long awaited bestseller or take a stroll around the grounds. Breathe in the country air, listen to the ducks, spot a pheasant or deer and just take a moment to appreciate the art of doing not very much at all.

If you can’t sit still then book yourself a treatment in the Thatched Cottage Spa, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool or challenge your companion to a game of table tennis.

Further afield a trip to Trentham Monkey Forest is a fun way for any animal lover to spend a couple of hours, while adrenaline seekers can head to Alton Towers, and for those with a penchant for the historic, Chatsworth House and Wedgewood Museum are both within the hour.

The price

Rates at The Tawny start from £230 in the Wildwood Huts, £360 in the Lookout, £400 in the Boathouses and £420 in the Treehouses. All rates are based on two sharing and inclusive of bed and breakfast. Look out for rates for the Retreats launching in 2022.

Book here.

*Note* We were one of the first to visit and the hotel is still part in construction which meant some areas of the 70 acres were out of bounds

Sarah Hayman

Sarah Hayman is a contributing food and travel writer at Marie Claire UK, covering everything from UK breaks to far flung destinations, the best greasy spoon to Michelin star dining.

Growing up on the Kent coast Sarah spent virtually every day of her summer holidays frolicking on the beach so it’s no wonder that a life living and working in London leaves her yearning for sand between her toes and cool wines on summer eves.

To ensure she’s ordering the right thing in a restaurant and knowing her lefts from her rights, Sarah has since dabbled in languages being conversational in Spanish and currently studying Arabic at SOAS.