The History of The Cottage in the Wood Malvern
The History of The Cottage in the Wood Malvern

The Cottage in the Wood Malvern is steeped in history. The hotel on top of the hill tells stories of literary greats, musical legends and famous residents enjoying the tranquil Worcestershire location.

The story so far…

The building is part of the renowned Blackmore Park Estate, owned by Thomas Charles Hornyold and later John Vincent Gandolphi. A familiar-sounding name? J.R.R. Tolkien drew a lot of inspiration from Malvern and rumour has it he invented the name Gandalf after hearing the name Gandolphi!

Duke Alfonso Gandolphi-Hornyold (1879-1937), has little interest in running the centuries old country estate, and puts up most of the Blackmore Park Estate for sale in 1919. As part of this estate is The Cottage, described as “a charming Detached Residence, in finely timbered grounds, on the Malvern Hills, and commanding unrivalled views and having an area of 7.562 acres.” It is recorded that The Cottage is opened as a Tea Room.

Edward Elgar performs for a private audience at the Coach House, adjacent to The Cottage. The renowned composer lived in and around Malvern for much of his life, and it was the Malvern Hills that inspired many of his well-known compositions.

The Cottage is first referred to as The Cottage in the Wood, and the occupier, a Mrs Isabella Singleton Delap, is described as a’ single woman of moderate private means’. This is also the year when C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien are believed to have met for the first time, striking up a life-long friendship. They were often seen together walking in the Malvern Hills.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien is published. It is noted that J.R.R. Tolkien created the White Mountains between Rohan and Gondor based on his observations of the Malvern Hills.

Mr and Mrs Raymond Mills are running The Cottage in the Wood as a Guest House. The new owners are music lovers, with Ray offering piano lessons and the couple running Malvern Music Makers, regularly performing at local venues.

The Cottage in the Wood is now referred to as a licenced hotel, popular as a destination in the local area. 1950 was also the year The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis was published, and it is rumoured the inspiration for the entrance to Narnia came when the author was intrigued by the unusual sighting of a gas lamp in a rural setting as he spotted a bright, snow-covered gas lamp when leaving the Unicorn Pub in Malvern one evening.

The hotel is owned by Michael and Ellen Ross with Michael as head chef and Ellen leading the front of house. They live in The Beech Cottage which is now hotel rooms and their children are born in what is now room 14.

The hotel is owned and run by Sue and John Pattin. Baroness Margaret Thatcher is a regular guest at the hotel, always staying in room 35, which was then also known as The Blue Room. Charlie Watts, Adam Ant, The Who and the Specials all have links with the hotel, either from staying, playing or visiting the area.

After running the hotel for 26 years, Sue and John Pattin decide to retire. The Cottage in the Wood is put on the market.

Nick and Julia Davies, two management consultants living in Shoreditch, buys the boutique hotel. London-based interior design studio Nelson Design is hired to redesign the entire property in an extensive three-part renovation programme, comprising of The Main House, a 2 AA Rosette restaurant, bar and lounge and seven bedrooms, Beech Cottage with four bedrooms, and the Coach House with 19 bedrooms.

Phase 1 of the refurbishment is complete, launching the re-designed 1919 Restaurant and Lounge Bar, and renovated spaces in The Main House.

Phase 2 of the refurbishment is launched, with seven beautifully redesigned bedrooms in The Main House and the completely restored Beech Cottage with four bedrooms.

The third and final part of the refurbishment programme is completed, with 19 eco- friendly rooms in the Coach House and a family room in The Main House, as well as a new, 25-seat all-season outdoor covered terrace.

The hotel is relaunched at The Cottage in the Wood Malvern, with a newly updated website, manicured grounds and a fresh and seasonal menu in 1919 Restaurant courtesy of new head chef Rob Mason. General Manager Sylviu Dinu also joins the team to lead The Cottage in the Wood Malvern into its next phase.

The hotel completes the refurbishment project with a brand new £115k kitchen for Chef Rob Mason and his team to create magical dishes in 1919 Restaurant. Landscaping takes place to showcase the view further, giving guests an even better viewing experience.

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