Owned by Sam and Georgie Pearman of The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach, No.38 The Park is a sumptuous Georgian townhouse 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Designed by Georgie herself, and artfully decorated with a beautiful blend of contemporary pieces and antique finds, the hotel more than lives up to its tagline of ‘a home from home’, as Hospitality Interiors’ Gemma Ralph found out.
While many hotels emphasise the notion of ‘homeliness’ – whether it be a concierge service that caters for the guests’ every need, or interior decor that evokes the level of comfort and serenity associated with the home – No.38 The Park goes one step further.
After being warmly greeted by a friendly member of staff – the absence of a formal front desk making you feel even more comfortable in your surroundings – you are handed a key to the building and encouraged to ‘make yourself at home’ in what is, to all intents and purposes, your own private manorhouse.
If desired, guests can even rent out the townhouse in its entirety, with the option of butlers, chefs, bar staff, nannies, flowers and in-room treatments for the ultimate luxury stay.
No.38 The Park is in fact the little sister to Sam and Georgie’s other venture, No.131 – also in Cheltenham – and much of its interior draws from the same kind of themes, with some key adjustments.
“I used the same mood boards that we had done for No 131, and just changed the details a little bit – adding antique wardrobes, changing the light fittings and the colour of the walls for example – so that it didn't feel identical, but has some definite similarities,” explains Georgie.
“In terms of inspiration, Sam and I love to travel and when we do we go to lots of different bars, restaurants, hotels and retail spaces across the world. For example, on our last New York trip we stayed in four different hotels on four different nights and ate at about 10 different restaurants – so whilst it’s fun it’s definitely work and its not really that relaxing.
“We visited lots of different international cities as research for both No. 131 and No. 38 but I get most of my inspiration from magazines, books, the internet etc.”
Turning left from the striking entrance hall, you are greeted by a light, airy sitting room, packed with sumptuous furniture, original features, walls of quirky artwork and coffee table books and magazines for your perusal.
Beyond this is a remarkably well-stocked honesty bar – filled with an assortment of whiskies, champagnes, spirits, and locally produced ciders or beers. The elegant panel frontage resembles the kind of bar one might find in a countryside residence, as opposed to the formality of a staffed hotel bar, and you feel at liberty to wander through the living space or into your room glass in hand.
Opposite the bar, and before you reach the rather more formal dining area, there is a small room designed as a private space in which to work or eat. Decorated in a deep green shade, with an elegant fireplace and a number of squashy armchairs surrounding a characterful wooden table, the room exudes comfort and calm.
The large kitchen and dining area is certainly a highlight. Opening up onto the courtyard garden, the space is as ideal for holding private parties and events as it is for a quiet solitary breakfast with the paper. Taking centre-stage is an old Victorian fireplace that Georgie found in a reclamation yard.
Key to the unique charm of No.38 is the bespoke feel of the furniture and artwork, which Georgie spends a great deal of time sourcing or designing.
“I tend to mix up the furniture a bit, so some of it is from antiques markets around UK and Europe or through our network of antiques dealers that contact me when they have interesting things,” she says.
“Quite a lot of it now is bespoke however. We design it in house, find the finishes we want and we get one of team of trades people who we use to make it for us. We work with a really good team of furniture makers, joiners, metal works, powder coaters, upholsterers, etc so its now quite easy to get things made how we want them to be and it’s also great because the majority of our stuff is supporting local, talented people and it’s made in the UK so if there are problems we pick up the phone and they come out and sort it out for us within 24 hours.
“I always put a big focus on the art and we invest quite a big part of our budget on it. I know lots of hotels don't – they prefer to play it safe and put up very generalist art which also works and looks nice – but it’s a different way of doing things.”
With such beautiful living quarters, you would think it would seem almost a shame to spend time in the bedroom – until you see the beautifully appointed guest rooms that is.
Complete with wi-fi, nespresso machines, ipod docking station, a Loewe TV with the full Sky entertainment package, Apple TV’s full library of movies, and a mini bar filled to the brim, the rooms have all the amenities you’d expect from a high-end hotel, and more.
Egyptian cotton linens by Three Thieving Magpies, artwork by British artists like Henry Hudson, David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake, and the most wonderful toiletries by 100 Acres (made in England from essential oils derived from herbs, flowers and medicinal plants and using only natural botanicals) all add to the experience in a big way.
Every effort has been made to ensure that guests feel happy and comfortable within the space, yet with all the luxury and added extras that only staying in a hotel of this calibre can provide. This, coupled with the painstakingly planned and executed furnishings, truly sets No.38 apart.