The Tawny: Is this deconstructed hotel the covid-proof future of hospitality?
Is this deconstructed hotel concept the covid-proof future of hospitality? This writer thinks so, and highly recommends that you visit to de-stress, detox, and unwind here because The Tawny hotel is one that sincerely delivers on luxury and escapism.
In the heart of rural Staffordshire, away from the theme parks and cityscapes, the traditional hotel concept is being challenged. Set in 70 acres of thicketed countryside, dotted with lakes and copses and follies – the Tawny provides each guest with a socially-distanced hideaway from the covid-laced drudgery of everyday life. The design is truly exceptional, and from the moment you pull onto the long private road of the beautiful estate grounds you can feel that you have arrived somewhere special.
Wildwood Huts – James Andrew Photography
There are a variety of different accommodations to choose from and each has its own private decking and Jacuzzi tub. Despite the diminutive appearance of the single Shepherds Huts from the outside, they are surprisingly well laid out inside – providing cosy en suite rooms with double beds and even log fires: perfect for a wintry romantic getaway. Larger accommodations include double Huts, Lookouts, Treehouses and Boathouses.
Boathouses at the Tawny – James Andrew Photography
I was lucky enough to stay in one of the boathouses named Kingfisher – a two bedroomed delight overlooking one of the lakes. It features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall and a large freestanding tub from which to enjoy the view. I had planned to spend the weekend in it but my three-year-old pipped me to the post, spending several hours of the day prune-like and bubble-laced as he squealed with delight at the appearance of every duck, coot and heron that flashed by. Luckily the Boathouses have not one, but two enormous bathing options and I took myself off to the private balcony where I floated my troubles away in the huge outdoor spa bath.
Kingfisher – one of the lakehouses at the Tawny
During our stay the British weather was predictably unpredictable – throwing out sunshine, rain, high winds and more over a two-night stay; so I discovered that this is a hotel for any weather. When the sun shone there were miles of paths to roam within the property, with bridges and follies and a breath-taking outdoor swimming pool (heated year round) to be discovered. While the wind howled and the rain poured I was just as happy cosied up in my lakeside room, emptying the complimentary minibar and reclining in the huge and extremely comfortable bed. The room’s décor is a nod to the traditional with a contemporary twist. The different accommodations all feature their own colour scheme and all have luxury touches such as velvet pillows, designer lamps and super-soft blankets.
Rooms at The Tawny
The main bedroom at Kingfisher is open plan with the lounge, giving it a wonderful sense of light and space, and there is a separate room with bunk bed for kids (or adults), with a large shared bathroom and a second door leading out to the private decking. There are six boathouses, and although four of them are next door to each other they are well-designed so that each still feels very private and you are mostly unaware of your neighbours.
Private decks at The Tawny
The entire layout of the property overall is cleverly arranged, with privacy and space seemingly at the forefront of the design (alongside being environmentally friendly and ecologically sensitive). The sprawling property currently boasts 55 residences, with more still under construction, and yet care has been taken to ensure that you never feel crowded or imposed upon by other guests. The dwellings are so well dispersed that the hotel has special golf carts to carry guests and luggage to and from rooms if needed – the farthest rooms are approximately a ten-minute walk from the reception building and restaurant. Helpful receptionists are just a phone call away to arrange this and anything else.
The Plumicorn at The Tawny – James Andrew Photography
The hotel has two dining options on site: the more casual Feather Lounge, which offers delicious pizzas with imaginative toppings (highly recommended); and the Plumicorn Restaurant, which is their fine dining option. Both are located in a stunning central building overlooking the estate itself. Also (for dog lovers) both are dog friendly, although dogs are restricted to certain sections of the Plumicorn.
Food at The Tawny
The Plumicorn features an outstanding and imaginative menu: I feasted on outstandingly tender local beef and was enchanted by local, seasonal honeyed carrots, while the charred lettuce was a revelation that I would highly recommend. Dessert for me was a rather whimsical interpretation of an apple crumble which featured a lifelike apple made from white chocolate with a mousse centre. Absolutely wonderful. Breakfast is also served at the Plumicorn and features buffet and menu options and is excellent. Room service is available throughout the day.
Dining at The Plumicorn restaurant
There is a spa on the property offering a variety of treatments and private yoga classes are also available within the grounds. There are larger accommodations opening in 2022 which will accommodate groups of up to 8, but because these are still under construction there are some areas of the estate that are currently off limits.
The grounds at The Tawny
The hotel is perfectly located for trips to a number of local attractions, as well as the Peak District but it would be my recommendation that for short trips you make plans to stay within the grounds. There is something deeply soothing about the place and I would recommend you relish that feeling during your stay: we made a short excursion off the property and regretted it. There is limited phone signal but good WiFi, so you truly have the opportunity to switch off from the outside world completely and enjoy nature gift-wrapped in five-star luxury and – considering the past two years – isn’t that exactly what we all need and deserve?