There are plenty of fine places to stay in the Cotswolds—Soho Farmhouse, in Chipping Norton; Thyme, in Southrop; Kate Moss’s place in Little Farringdon.
But there is only one Cirencester Estate. This Georgian-style manor has good looks to spare, thanks to a charming, highly personal interior design that includes colorful (but not garish) walls, bold fabrics, pottery of many varieties, an impressive collection of portraiture, and an array of antiques. Outdoors, a heated pool, an all-weather tennis court, a croquet lawn, and a lakeside sauna await. There’s even a landing pad for the helicopter, if you’re really going to go there.
To be clear: to experience Cirencester Estate, one must rent the entire house for a minimum two-night stay, which is an expensive proposition. (Although, given the fact that it has 10 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, and comfortably sleeps 20, not eye-wateringly so.)
But it’s just the thing for those who’d like to approximate a modern-day, Downton Abbey–esque experience on holiday, and while Mr. Bates himself is not included, plenty of other amenities are. Let’s start with the staff. The estate is attended to by a butler, private chef, housekeeper, driver, and gardener, and can even summon a cheerful babysitter (with a full slate of educational activities!) for the junior set. And they’ve all been thoroughly trained by the good people over at the Mandarin Oriental.
You heard us correctly. The Mandarin Oriental, the detail-obsessed hotel group behind some of the world’s smartest hotels, is now getting into the vacation-rental business with a new Exclusive Homes division, thanks to a partnership with house-rental agency StayOne. Launching with the summer ’22 season, the estate has only nine exquisite homes available—for now—and they are located in the toniest corners of Europe. (Those seeking a beach vacation might want to check out the private island near Ibiza, a modernist masterpiece in Mallorca, or a clifftop villa in Èze.)
At Cirencester Estate, when guests eventually tire of the gourmet meals and leisure time in the private lake, there are 600 acres to explore. Somewhere out there is a hidden, fully stocked bar. And something tells us that it too will be manned by a friendly mixologist with a cure for whatever ailments could possibly remain.
Cirencester Estate is available to rent during the summer 2022 season; rates vary between $8,900 and $12,475 per night, with a two-night minimum; mandarinoriental.com/exclusive-homes