There are chain hotels in which I am obliged to resort to violence, drawing my old service revolver, to attract attention; at Buckland I need only raise an eyebrow. The secret lies in the staffguest ratio: at Buckland there are 1.8 staff to each guest. In this I see a valedictory warning: how long can it continue? There are some establishments -mind you, this is hearsay – which have already installed machinery for guests to brew their own early morning tea. The sombre message is that we should enjoy the Buckland Manors while we can: we'll soon be making our own beds Buckland Manor, near Broadway, Gloucestershire WRI2 7LY (tel: 0386-852626).
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Double rooms from £155 to £325per night including breakfast.