To get a great view, head for the hills

Cottage in the Wood in the  Malvern Hills
Cottage in the Wood in the Malvern Hills

REGIONAL: Jack-knifed lorry causes early morning delays on M3

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You would expect a hotel called the Cottage in the Wood to be off the beaten track.

To reach their destination, guests must navigate a winding road that slopes steeply upwards, past houses and trees, before arriving at this hilltop retreat.

Worcester Cathedral and the River Severn

Worcester Cathedral and the River Severn

And while it might not be entirely fair to call this 30-bed hotel a cottage, the cosy simplicity suggested by its name is borne out by the experience.

Arriving in the hotel car park, I doubt many visitors can resist just taking a moment to turn their backs on the hotel and admire the view.

Situated high in the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, it looks out over the Severn Valley and boasts what has to be one of the most spectacular vistas you’re likely to see from a hotel room anywhere.

It even took my mind off the bitterly cold wind that greeted our arrival, delaying progress towards the warm and inviting reception by several minutes.

But once inside I was hardly chomping at the bit to escape again.

Comfy chairs and friendly staff are not hard to find and everything has a traditional, inviting feel to it.

The hotel has been owned and run by two generations of the Pattin family over 25 years and it really shows.

Everywhere you find a satisfying attention to detail; whether it’s in the pages and pages of local information provided, the huge collection of videos and DVDs which are free to borrow, the decision to provide free wi-fi, or the fridges full of chilled milk outside its rooms.

The hotel comprises two large, white buildings facing one another across a dip containing the car park and a smaller cottage.

It is set into the hill and on both sides paths lead from almost immediately outside the hotel’s door up into the wood.

From there it’s only a short, if reasonably steep, walk up to the spine of the hills, which extends for several miles of excellent walking in both directions.

The hills are spectacular.

High enough to boast views which really take the breath away, they are not so intimidating families or less experienced ramblers couldn’t enjoy themselves.

And with Malvern and Upton-upon-Severn within walking distance, as well as Worcester and Tewkesbury only a short drive away, there’s plenty to occupy your time.

But staying in certainly isn’t going to be a great hardship either.

The rooms are spacious, smart and – especially if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony facing the valley – have truly gorgeous views.

Without a doubt the walk I looked forward to most was from the Pinnacles building, where my room was located, across to the hotel’s excellent restaurant.

The glorious sunsets combined with the anticipation of a delicious meal made this short stroll a joy.

And I was never disappointed with the quality of the meals; a combination of simple, good quality ingredients and exciting cooking really shone.

Even the steak – described as 21-day hung Herefordshire beef sirloin – was something special.

But most remarkable was the meticulously-compiled wine list, bound in a big laminated folder and boasting more than 500 different bottles, each with its own description.

And it sums up the Cottage in the Wood nicely.

The effort, dedication and obvious passion that goes into every detail of this hotel makes it a really wonderful weekend break.