Euston station, often a gloomy start to a journey filled with disorganised chaos, is where we begin the trip to Stoke on-Trent (and don’t ask us why we know this), the birthplace of Robbie Williams and potentially more interestingly, Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist, Slash…can’t say it’s ever come up in a pub quiz but you never know.
Stoke On-Trent quickly turns into rural Staffordshire as we take a short 20 minute taxi ride from the station, where you pay using physical cash, (remember to actually have some with you) out to The Tawny, a retreat like no other that is set inside 70 acres of mature woodlands. The Tawny is a deconstructed hotel that has 55 immaculately designed rooms in the form of Shepherds Huts, Valley Treehouses and Boathouses that underwent a restoration a few years back. The main ‘house’ was completely demolished and replaced by a very modern and impressive architectural statement that sits at the top of the valley, including The Plumicorn restaurant, which has unparalleled views across the 70 acre estate.
There are seven different room types, all with their own quirks and appeal. The Retreat, being one of two new additions along with a Hillside Treehouse completed earlier in 2022, offers eight new suites that are the absolute height of luxury. After checking in, we’re ushered into a buggy to take a tour around the grounds, up and down slopes, passed lakes, through forests, and along narrow dirt roads, and we can’t help but feel like we’re on the set of the next Jurassic Park movie.
Connecting with nature, breathing in that country air and, more importantly, starting a digital detox quickly goes out of the window once setting foot in side the Retreat suite. The cedar-clad cabin is the ultimate rural bolthole, designed to a spec that is simply ‘wow’, with a sensational super-kingsize bed; THAT sunken bath, complete with skylight for stargazing; and the private decking and outdoor tub. It is everything…and of course capturing for social media is a must, so it’s phones out.
Hotels that don’t provide snuggly bathrobes and slippers baffles us, so thankfully the Tawny is most definitely a fan, it’s not ‘holiday mode’ until they are on in our book. Besides the TV, coffee machine, and luxury bedding there are more additional standout touches that make the experience feel special, like the ‘dressing room area’, yoga mats, oil diffuser, and even a complimentary mini bar. The suite is a space that instantly makes you feel at home and if there is perfection, we’d say it lives here.
The Plumicorn Restaurant is where to dine in the evening and we tucked into Staffordshire braised brisket with roast parsnip, smoked bacon and onion along with roasted butternut squash with heritage carrots, thyme and cream and a knockout chocolate and rosemary mousse. Breakfast is served in the same space and came with exceptional views from the floor-to-ceiling windows as the sun flooded the room. The Full English breakfast was pretty decent, the only gripe being no beans, truly a miss. During the day the menu is a much more relaxed offering pizzas and small plates. There’s also a games room and lounge to make use of within the open plan space.
Exploring the grounds and taking the many walks it offers is a must, and you can borrow wellies if you didn’t pack any. There are lots of hidden pathways that lead you into interesting places, there’s even an old ruin to check out, and throughout they have added playful twists like table tennis tables and even giant Connect-Four. There is an outdoor heated pool, bikes for hire, yoga sessions and wild running to keep you busy, and there’s also a spa for those who would rather keep their activities horizontal, which is currently just one room for treatments though we hear they are planning on upping their game in that department and also may introduce boats on the lake too.
The Tawny is mighty impressive and their secluded luxury stays are something unique, we absolutely love what they have created here and can not wait for a chance to return. It’s magical.
One-night stay at The Tawny starts from £230 in the Wildwood Huts, £360 in the Lookout, £400 in the Boathouses, £420 in the Treehouses and £560 in a Retreat, based on two sharing and inclusive of bed and breakfast.
The Tawny, Consall Gardens Estate, Consall Lane, Consall, Staffordshire, ST9 0AG