For anyone, like me, who has never stayed in a De Vere hotel before let me start with a bit of background. They’re a pretty established group now ​​operating over 260 meeting rooms and over 1,800 bedrooms, located around London, the southeast and the Cotswolds.

Each of their properties are incredibly unique; ranging from mansions to manor houses some with stunning gardens, views or pools. That said, the venues I’ve visited feel a little more suited for conferences or big groups than romantic breaks but of course, that may not apply to all their properties. In any case, with some of the best locations around, De Vere offers a really good option if you’re looking for a base to explore the best of Britain.

De Vere Cotswold Water Park: The Lowdown

De Vere Cotswold Water Park

There are not many locations you could choose as a better base than the Cotswolds lakes. For those who haven’t been, the lakes are like a family theme park for water lovers with everything from wakeboarding to sailing, swimming, and cycling and the rest all spread across 180 lakes in 40 square miles of countryside.

The De Vere hotel is, as you might expect, overlooking a lake of its own (definitely take the time to walk around it) with all the rooms and apartments perched over the tranquil waterside setting. In 2018 it completed a multi-million-pound refurbishment transforming its lakeside gastro pub, The Old Boathouse, adding a new restaurant, The Lounge, and creating a Muddy Duck Café for families and dogs. There’s are a range of rooms to choose from including family apartments, but more importantly for us, the whole hotel is dog friendly (if you’re allergic this hotel ain’t for you). We were particularly impressed with the dog bowl and comfy bed provided in the room.

De Vere Cotswold Water Park: The Rooms

De Vere Cotswold Water Park bedroom

The rooms themselves are practical if not totally luxurious. They’re a good size; ours was on the ground floor (worth asking for unless you have a balcony room above), and had a nice table and chairs overlooking the lake. That said, what you gain in views you lose in privacy. With the curtains open or sitting out at our table you can almost feel the eyes of the other rooms watching you as you sneak the first gin and tonic of the day. Similarly, if you leave your curtains open, yes you can see the swans glide by but there’s also the chance of a family of four wandering past your room too. To be fair, that’s probably less invasive than when our dog ran out and immediately ran into the unfortunate neighbour who had left their room door open a few doors down.

There is plenty on offer though for people who aren’t there for the room (which we assume most aren’t). Within the hotel itself there’s a spa and gym. Spa6 is open to hotel guests and non-residents alike and features a swimming pool, sauna, spa facilities and a range of beauty treatments and spa experiences. Then as mentioned previously – from walking to swimming – you’d be mad to stay couped up for long, no matter how nice the views are.

De Vere Cotswold Water Park: The Amenities

De Vere Cotswold Water Park boathouse

In terms of restaurants, De Vere has four locations spread out beside the lake. The Old Boat House Restaurant & Bar and the Brasserie Restaurant, are the main two and we ate at both. The Old Boat House has a great location and would be particularly nice in the summer out on the deck. The food is fairly pricey and won’t probably be the highlight of the stay, but if you’re there for a good time rather than a gourmet time then you’ll leave pleased. The staff were attentive and friendly and you can’t go wrong with a nice G&T by the water. Meanwhile, breakfast at the brasserie was a buffet, we didn’t love being served at the buffet the first day (obviously we weren’t to be trusted to be let loose on the sausages), but by the second day, this seemed to have gone. Again the food here was fine with a fairly wide selection to choose from.

The De Vere Cotswolds is a great option for a family or dog-owning family looking to explore everything the Cotswolds has to offer. The hotel itself may not be the most luxurious, but if you’re anything like us you’ll use it as a great base to return to after a day in the lakes.

For more information on De Vere Cotswolds Water Park, see here