Having been awarded Best Newcomer in 2015 by super-hip hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith, the dog friendly Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester has a lot of hype to live up to. But with chic interiors, a warm doggy welcome and tranquil spa, the Kings Head Hotel proved to be a relaxing haven in the centre of charming Cirencester (for humans and dogs alike).
The Kings Head Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the stunning Cotswolds – the perfect location for a dog friendly getaway. Although located in the centre of the bustling market town of Cirencester, the hotel offers a relaxing sanctuary where pooches and their humans can enjoy some pampering and relaxation.
Decorated with muted heritage shades of grey, elegant furniture and modern wall art – the vibe is a chic country hotel. The hotel is actually an old coaching inn, but whilst still retaining much of it’s original charm and history with exposed brickwork and exposed beams, an extensive refurb has definitely transformed it into an undoubtedly luxurious retreat. A lovely touch is the exposed Roman mosaic in the hotel reception – discovered during the hotel’s renovation – and now preserved under glass for guests to admire.
Although the Kings Head Hotel as a lovely cosy feel to it, there are actually 45 stunning rooms to choose from – and of course a few selected rooms for accommodating canine pals. Our dog friendly room was one of the “Classic Space” rooms – the most basic of the rooms, however, the room was very luxurious and did not feel basic at all. The super-comfy king sized bed was more than enticing – it was all we could do from stopping pooch Kipper from tucking herself in for the night. The room came with some lovely touches – such as a Nespresso machine, gin and tonic kit upon arrival and some posh snacks to keep us going until dinner.
The Kings Head Hotel allows two well-behaved dogs per room by prior arrangement, at a £20 supplement per dog, per night. Whilst the hotel does not provide anything for your canine chum in terms of beds or bowls, they do offer a super-warm welcome. In fact, there were a couple of other groups enjoying a drink in the bar with their pooches in tow during our stay and the staff always made a fuss of them – which is always a welcome relief during a doggy holiday.
Another perk is the dog-friendliness of Cirencester itself, with most of the shops happily welcoming Kipper in for a browse and a fuss. The stunning Cirencester Park is also on the doorstep, with acres of greenery to explore.
FOOD & DRINK
As soon as you walk into the Kings Head Hotel your eye is drawn through the bar and lounge, up into the elegant restaurant beyond. Whilst the lounge and bar offers a more relaxed affair with comfy sofas, exposed brickwork and cool jazz playing, the restaurant is a more formal setting – though still cosy and inviting with low-lighting and serene atmosphere.
Dogs aren’t allowed in the main restaurant, however, the hotel staff are more than happy to set you up a table to eat in the lounge and bar – where there were already a couple of doggy-dining companions watching their humans chowing down when we arrived. However, we opted for a dog-free dinner, with Kipper happily tucked up in her bed after a long walk – and a rare chance to eat our dinner without pleading eyes staring up at us!
We dined on a Sunday night and had anticipated a fairly empty restaurant, however, were pleasantly surprised when we found a fairly bustling eatery awaiting us. Though after we started eating our starter – all became clear – the food is good enough to draw people away from their usual Sunday night TV watching and slipper wearing! Head Chef Russell Hunt is clearly passionate about local produce and this showed on the plate – modern British dining at its best. The ingredients were fresh, seasonal and beautifully presented.
Because they use the best seasonal and local Cotswold ingredients, it keeps the menu new and interesting – and likely different than what we dined on! We opted for the game terrine to start – complete with a fig conserve and toast, followed by the duck-leg with bean ragu for myself and the Sole in cream sauce for my companion. All of which were absolutely delicious and resulted in clear plates all round! Dessert was a game of two –halves, sharing an English Cheese board – comprising of fabulous local cheeses, homemade chutneys and crackers – a true cheese-lovers delight, and a medley of clementine, with a zesty parfait and fruity sorbet for a lovely light end to the meal. All in all a lovely end to the day before we trundled back up to our room to find Kipper sprawled on the bed (to be fair it was so comfy, we can’t blame her!).
WHAT TO BRING
Basically, everything your dog needs! If were to complain at all (and it would be a very minor one) it would be regarding the lack of any dog essentials on arrival, in fact, there was no evidence whatsoever that we were staying with dogs in our room – not even a bowl. However, we had taken everything we needed with us anyway, and Kipper prefers the comfort of her own bed so we always take that along anyway. To be fair, the staff were extremely helpful so if we had needed anything it probably would have been provided and the close proximity of the parking meant we didn’t have to carry it very far.
WHEN TO GO
We went in the colder months, and with the cosy fire places and twinkling lights around Cirencester it was the perfect winter-getaway location. After a long walk in the surrounding stunning country-side and a stroll around the mostly dog friendly shops in Cirencester, we were more than happy to enjoy a drink or two in the hotel’s lounge, with Kipper passed out at our feet. Though the location would be equally as lovely in summer, with plenty of places to enjoy a drink al fresco as well as the stunning Cirencester Park a short walk away, in which to explore with the pooches.
I am really getting used to this posh hotel lifestyle! The cosy room was wooftastic – even when mum went off to dinner without me (though I did get my own back and have a nice dog-nap on their bed). I also loved all the cuddles and attention I got, I felt like a V.I.P (very important pup).
PRICES & BOOKING
Double rooms at the Kings Head Hotel start at £127 for a weekday stay in a classic room, dogs are charged at a supplement of £20 per dog, per night. To book visit kingshead-hotel.co.uk or call 01285 700 900.