Beware rooms at the front A review of Fosse Manor Hotel
Ended up here following a booking mix-up at a nearby hotel. Fosse Manor is some way out of Stow, on a busy 2-lane road which is one of the main routes into Stow (the previous review is correct in saying it was originally Roman, but it is not at all a narrow road). As a result rooms at the front are quite noisy, as is the croquet lawn; there's still a fair amount of traffic noise in the main hotel gardens. Rooms at the back have a good view over the Cotswolds countryside, with fields of sheep and cows. The gardens themselves are very pleasant but quite small - most of the hotel's 5 acres seems to be devoted to the car park.
The interior is very stylishly decorated in a plush but fairly modern style. There is a small but comfortable lounge with an open fire, a formal restaurant and a separate bar with another, less formal restaurant area (the menus are basically the same for both). Food at dinner was excellent (we ate there twice); for three courses expect to pay around £40 without drinks per person. The half-board room rate is a good deal as it costs £25 and you can order any 3 courses from the a la cart menu. Breakfast was less impressive (but somehow breakfast at country hotels is never as good as it should be), generally plentiful but marred by shortages of certain items (eg pastries and yoghurts, which kept running out) and erratic service - cold ham and eggs one day, the bizarre assertion one day that they did not serve porridge when we had eaten it the day before. (Evening service is by a different team, though, and was much better.)
Rooms are a bit of a lottery. We had three rooms, two in the main hotel and one in the "coachhouse" annex. One of the rooms in the main hotel was on the top floor facing the road and was very small, also the water pressure in the bathroom was poor and affected by other people taking showers/baths. The other was on the first floor at the side. It was bigger but still fairly small given the price, the bathroom was much bigger thoough with a separate shower and bath. However the room in the annex was very nice - very spacious, with a free standing roll-top bath in the bathroom and with a private terrace giving straight onto the gardens and overlooking the fields at the back. Fortunately the weather was nice for us, but if it does rain you might like to note that all rooms have Playstation 2s (which also play DVDs), and the hotel has a stock of DVDs and games to lend out for free.
Because the hotel is not part of a chain, the service overall is much friendlier and more personable than at many "luxury" hotels, which I like - you get the feeling that the staff actually enjoy working there and that the hotel is something of a home for them. Indeed the staff (and owner) eat and drink in the hotel's own bar and restaurant rather than some dingy back room, which is unusual.
Overall a positive experience - my only caveat would be that there are comparable hotels nearby and in much quieter locations for the same price, if they have rooms.