A rejuvenating retreat at the poolside pad

The lane is bordered with two metre high laurel bushes and at the top, a tiny slate sign says ‘Angel Meade’. We turn up the steep drive and park at the back of a big white house. After ringing the doorbell, I hope we haven’t parked up at some random person’s abode. But no, there’s our friendly host Mary and her golden labrador Simba (all bark and no bite) greeting us at the door. She ushers us higher still, up steps carved into the hill to our home for the next three days, two nights at the Poolside Pad in Long Ashton, just outside of Bristol.

After a year of limited freedoms and confinement in the same four walls, I was keen to seek a bit of luxury and escape for our first 2021 holiday. For years I had been eyeing up the isolated treehouses, shepherd’s huts and forest retreats offered by Canopy & Stars. Now was the time to test one out.

first impressions

Firstly, I wasn’t expecting the cabin to be tucked at the back of someone’s house. I was imagining more privacy and ability to walk round naked (if we so wished). But the natural pool instantly draws my eye. Inky blue today, reflecting the grey sky. “You’re lucky it’s been so warm. The water is at 20C!” I can’t wait to get in as it’s been such a hot sticky day of sightseeing.

And the landscaping around the pool is magnificent. Tall sandy grasses sway gently in the breeze. Bushes of lavender, roses and rosemary, tumbling over the cabin, scent the air. But it’s the view that really takes our breath away. From here, we can see the whole valley, green rolling hills, cows and all.

a comfortable cabin

“Let me show you around.” says Mary as she opens the door to the cabin. It feels spacious, especially for two people. A couple of sun hats and a set of binoculars hang from the coat rack as you walk in. Two armchairs look out at the view, as does the comfy looking double bed. “The bifold windows open up so you can be in or out.” It feels both homey and special.

Mary shows us the kitchenette, hidden in a cupboard, complete with sink, tea and coffee making stuff and a small fridge. “You didn’t want homemade granola for breakfast?” she asks. I decline as I know we’ll be out and about but it’s nice to have the option, even if it does cost a bit extra.

The en-suite has a door leading out onto the back garden, which itself links to Ashton Court golf course. “We were all walking on it during lockdown, it was great.” reminisces Mary.

pool time

Our tour over, Mary leaves us to a dip in the pool. 20C is cold for me but I brave it anyway and then swim lengths. It takes a few to get over the chill but then I feel invigorated, conscious of the leaves and breeze at water level. Part of the pool is a shallow semi-circle ledge, perfect to wallow on, overlooking the valley. Peace sets in.

verdict

If you’re looking for a retreat that isn’t completely cut off, the Poolside Pad is a good option. The bed is luxurious like a cloud, the cabin has everything you need for a short stay (and Mary even left us some local beer and cider in the fridge!) and the view and serene pool will take your breath away. Long Ashton has lots of nice pubs and is very close to Bristol (Check out my 48 hour itinerary to Bristol).

We booked the Poolside Pad through Canopy & Stars, £155 per night for two people.

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