Need To Know
32, including 14 suites – five larger suites are suitable for families – and two Forest Cottages, which are stylish, secluded and perfect for larger groups.
12 noon. Earliest check in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £295.00, including tax at 20 per cent.
Rates don’t include breakfast: a full English is £18.50 (£9.25 for kids); the superlative buffet, £13.50 (£6.75 for kids). Children Cots for under-4s (£10 a stay or extra beds (£30 a stay) for under-18s can be added to some rooms.
All of the common areas are buggy friendly, but perhaps avoid the carpeted drawing room.
At the hotel
Spa with indoor pool; restaurants; bar; library of books and DVDs; pool, snooker and billiards; mountain bikes and wellies to borrow; walking and running trails; valet parking, helipad; free WiFi throughout.
In your room
Flatscreen TV, minibar, bottled water, organic Bamford toiletries, bathrobes and slippers (for children, too). DVD player, iPod docking stations, and games consoles provided on request. You'll also get champagne and fresh fruit on arrival. Sweet touches for your mini Smiths include bespoke welcome gifts to keep them occupied.
Our favourite rooms
If older children going to stay alone in the room during the evening, the Coach House is ideal, since both Pavillion and Crescent rooms are further from the main building and flanked by ponds. We love the two-bedroom split-level Forest Lodges: as well as a four-postered, forest-view bedroom with fireplace, Pavillion I has a downstairs room with bunk beds and can take a further single bed, so it's ideal for larger families; and Crescent III has an ensuite single bedroom downstairs (and space to add another single), with a balcony-boasting master bedroom upstairs. Forest Hideaway Suites in the Coach house each have a sofabed in the living room. All rooms can add a cot.
The heated indoor pool is open year-round, with dedicated swimming hours when children can splash to their hearts' content (8.30am–10am Monday–Friday; 8.30am–11am on weekends and Bank Holidays). A festival of limestone and wood, the pool opens onto a gorgeous sun terrace, so you can sit with a magazine and an herbal tea while they burn off steam. Bear in mind that the Hydropool and Forest Sauna are strictly child-free zones (and all the more blissful for it).
Book a babysitter and spend some alone time having a couples' massage in a forest-view treatment room: the Herb House Spa is spread across three floors, with assorted treatment rooms (eight single, one double with steam room and garden, and one double bathhouse with indoor pool and steam room) as well as a mud house, sauna, steam house, indoor pool, sun deck with herb garden, a café offering uncooked or preserved food only and a bar serving juices straight from the garden. Smith members (including those staying at the nearby The Pig – in the Wall) can bring their teens at the manager's discretion. There's a mini mani-pedi for 14 year olds, mini facial or back, neck and shoulder massage for 15 year olds, and a Bamford Stress massage or Pai Facial for 16 year olds; parents must be present in the room for treatments carried out on under-18s. There's a fitness studio packed with Technogym kit, and you can arrange personal training or yoga/Pilates classes.
In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged. There’s a loan library of board games for rainy days.
The spa is popular, so arrange your treatments at least two weeks in advance; in summer, it's worth sorting out any activities you're keen on a fortnight ahead, too; babysitting should be booked a week ahead – perhaps make your restaurant reservations at the same time.
Yes: in the outside rooms (the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions), dogs stay for £30 a stay: beds and bowls are provided, as well as a Bonio wrapped up in a ribbon.