Kings Head Hotel, Cirencester: Review

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Kings Head Cirencester - Exterior

 

We were recently invited to spend a night at the Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester: a brand new Grade II-listed Vineyard Group hotel. Previously a Shearings coaching hotel, the Kings Head closed in 1997 and, over the course of several years, was redeveloped to become a country chic luxury hotel.

The hotel’s 45 rooms sit alongside a 95-cover modern British restaurant, a bar and separate lounge area and extensive weddings and events facilities – including a roof garden as well as underground spaces in cavernous rooms with curved roofs. As of 2015, the hotel will also be home to a subterranean spa, which will offer a range of different treatments.

Our journey to and from the hotel was courtesy of Blacklane Limousines, who work with partner companies all over the country to offer transfer services at three different levels: Business Class, Business Class/SUV and First Class. We enjoyed a journey by Chrysler on the way there and Mercedes on the way back, with chauffeurs who were polite and friendly on both legs of the journey. We were surprised that our pick up was half an hour late on the way back, though, with no warning that this would be the case until we gave Blacklane a call.

On arrival, we checked in at the front desk, which sits within an open and tastefully decorated reception area which lies adjacent to the bar and restaurant, which are open to the public as well as to guests. On being given our key cards, we walked through a cosy guest lounge before passing through the door that leads through to the guest accommodation.

 

Kings Head Cirencester - Lounge

 

We loved the original staircase that led us up to our room, with every one of the wrought metal bannisters featuring the face of a boy who gradually grew older and older as you ascending the stairs. Our room itself was on the first floor (there is a lift for disabled access), with the doorway leading into a small area with a storage shelf, safe and a kettle with hot drinks, before opening into the main bedroom, which was certainly sizeable.

We were impressed to see the complimentary gin and tonics waiting for us on the coffee table – apparently standard in all of the hotel’s superior rooms. While there was some traffic noise, this was to be expected on a main road, and the blackout curtains were perfect for a great night’s sleep.

The room was tastefully decorated with a comfortable king sized bed and soft pillows, with a sofa, wardrobe, desk, seating area and plenty of shelf space for those looking to make themselves at home. It was also great to see a Nespresso machine in the room (they also use a commercial Nespresso machine downstairs in the bar and restaurant) – but disappointing that there was no milk for hot drinks, or indeed glasses for water.

Adding a more contemporary touch to the surroundings was the wall-mounted LCD flatscreen TV that also acted as a computer, complete with a wireless keyboard for those looking to work, send emails or browse the internet using the complimentary Wi-Fi during their stay.

 

Kings Head Cirencester - Room 1

Kings Head Cirencester - Room 2

 

Our bathroom was of a contemporary design with plenty of bright white tiles and a wet room-style shower, but with its distressed wooden floorboards, it didn’t look at all out of place in such an old building. We loved the bergamot and grapefruit-scented Lubatti toiletries, but had a few minor niggles. Ideally, we wouldn’t have the toilet right next to the door as it was, as it doesn’t seem that private – and we were concerned at how slippery the shower floor was when wet.

 

Kings Head Cirencester - Bathroom 1

Kings Head Cirencester - Bathroom 2

 

We then headed downstairs to join General Manager Stephen Mannock and Sales & Marketing Manager Sian Pirone for dinner: rather than dining in the main restaurant, we were invited down to a private dining room below ground level that sits next to the hotel’s glass fronted wine cellar. This atmospheric location was where we enjoyed three courses from the hotel’s restaurant, headed up by Head Chef Wayne Sullivan and created in association with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche.

The all-day dining menu includes a range of nibbles, starters, mains and sweets, with a range of meat and poultry options also offered from the Robata grill. A three course meal is priced at around the £30 mark, with dishes traditionally British in their feel but with contemporary twists. On the evening of our visit, we enjoyed a fresh and lemony Cerney Ash goats cheese with heirloom tomatoes, beetroot and citrus meringue as our starter, followed by a fantastic pork dish: roast loin, Cotswold Cider-braised belly and black pudding, served with roasted apple, sweet potato, broccoli and a bourbon jus.

The bourbon carried through to the dessert: a deconstructed Jack Daniels cheesecake with peanut, dark chocolate and a milk ice cream: beautifully rich and decadent.

During our meal, we were told about the sheer scale of the work involved in renovating a property of this size and age. We were told that many walls were knocked through, as it was suspected that additional space would be found behind them…and in some instances, this was indeed the case. It wasn’t just more space that the team found, though: many of the bricked up areas were also home to items such as Victorian shoes and even Roman mosaics, one of which is now displayed next to the hotel’s reception desk.

After dinner, we were taken on a guided tour of the public areas of the hotel, as well as some of the other bedrooms. The period and architectural features in every room were taken into account by designers Calico Interiors, who have created 45 individually-styled rooms, each with its own personality.

 

Kings Head Cirencester - Guest Room

Kings Head Cirencester - Copper Bath

 

A comfortable night’s sleep followed (I can’t remember the last time I woke up as late as 9am…), and we were pleased to note that breakfast is served until 10.30am!

We loved the way in which the breakfast buffet was presented, with a selection of pastries, breads, cold meats and cheeses, fruit, cereals and yoghurts available for guests to enjoy. We both also ordered a full English (£9) – while it was enjoyable, we’re not sure that it was worth that amount, and we felt that it could have been better presented.

 

Kings Head Cirencester - Breakfast 1

Kings Head Cirencester - Breakfast 2

 

Room prices at The Kings Head start from £135 per night, including breakfast, with a choice of five different room types from Classic Rooms to Indulgent Spaces. There are also three dog-friendly rooms, with extra beds and children’s cots also available.

While there were a few niggles with our stay, we loved the atmosphere and the attention to detail in the hotel’s design – as well as the building’s history. The lack of parking facilities may be an issue for those looking to drive to the hotel, with metered parking nearby the only real option. An interesting new hotel with plenty to look at, its contemporary feel works surprisingly well with its Grade II-listed surroundings.

 

Please note: our stay and all meals were received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

 

2 Responses to Kings Head Hotel, Cirencester: Review

  1. ooh it looks amazing, and that bed looks so comfy! Seems like such a perfect place just to chill and wind down 🙂 x
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  2. Wow this Hotel looks lovely, very jelous, thanks for sharing, great post! x

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