Happy Birthday to Woolley Grange: Celebrating 25 Years of Luxury Family Hotels
On Bank Holiday Monday 5th May guests and visitors at Wiltshire's Woolley Grange Hotel came together to celebrate 25 years of welcoming families into stylish surroundings. We've shared our images of the day together with a few tidbits of Luxury Family Hotels' early history.
The story of Luxury Family Hotels began at Woolley Grange in 1989, when Nigel Chapman and his wife Heather turned their 17th-century Jacobean manor home into a hotel. As they had three young children themselves, Nigel reminisces that it "seemed the most natural thing in the world to provide a safe and fun place for both our own and our guests' children to spend some time".
The Woolley Bears Den was born, setting a precedent for another six hotels in the Luxury Family Hotels stable – all properties except Thornbury Castle (which is better for older kids) have OFSTED-registered crèches.
Nigel and Heather were inspired to create Woolley after spending many happy times at Ballymaloe House in Ireland. Ballymaloe seemed to them to offer "a perfect combination of great food, natural hospitality and a classy but friendly atmosphere".
Woolley Grange's own warm and wholesome hospitality, which inspires a loyal following (many guests return year on year), was definitely to the fore for its birthday celebrations, when regular guests, spa members and locals joined in activities arranged by general manager Clare Hammond and her dedicated team. Ducks bobbing on the pond were eagerly collected and fished out by some of our smaller guests, and there was energetic maypole dancing, snail-racing and tree-climbing in the Cedar of Lebanon (Clare climbed it herself and saw Woolley from a whole new angle!).
Families explored, mingled and enjoyed a scarecrow trail, rounders, apple-pressing, croquet and a traditional coconut shy, while the hotel chefs sizzled sausages and hot dogs to serve along with other delicious local produce including industrial quantities of Marshfield ice cream. Our own wine expert, Stan Park from Milton Sandford Wines, popped by to talk passionately about the wines from the Woolley Grange wine list, while in the hotel spa, visitors experienced sumptuous treatments, watched demonstrations of new Voya products or just grabbed a few moments of calm!
Everyone agreed that it was a brilliant day and one that did Woolley Grange's heritage proud. Here’s to another 25 years of Luxury Family Hotels!