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The Old Swan and Minster Mill, Oxfordshire

Rooms from £165

Peter de Savary describes The Old Swan and Minster Mill hotel in the beautiful Cotswolds village of Old Minster as a "family-owned business". He says his two daughters along with Lana, his wife and trusted adviser of more than 30 years, are more than capable of making this and the Cary Arms in Torquay a success while he focuses on the international portfolio.

The de Savarys have spent an estimated £10m on the 600-year old property and its 65 acres of gardens and grounds since they acquired it from De Vere a year ago. Overseas guests will love this place. It offers the quintessential British experience from picnics with home-made scones and fly-fishing in the river Windrush, to walks in the wildflower gardens, log fires, sloe gin in decanters and wooden-beamed rooms. But it's also a great weekend getaway for UK residents, offering a spa, excellent food in the gastropub, faultless service and an ideal base for exploring the region.

The hotel blends traditional luxury in the 16 Old Swan rooms with more modest and contemporary accommodation at the Minster Mill, where 40 rooms overlook the river. "Canine friends" are welcome and children will love playing in the grounds.

Tariffs range from £165 per night for a double room to £325 for a suite with full English breakfast. For those companies that still enjoy a budget for away-days or external board meetings, the Minster Mill houses self-contained, modern meeting rooms, each with their own break-out rooms. The hotel also offers business packages that can include overnight accommodation, dining, team-building and tailor-made activity programmes.

The Old Swan should do well from what de Savary describes as a "mini boom" for English hotels. It is well-run, good value, and the setting is glorious.

Amy Duff




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