A History of Our Hotel

 How DoubleTree by Hilton Cheltenham came to be what it is today…


Formerly known as Cheltenham Park Hotel, and Lilley Brook House before that, the grand building that is now DoubleTree by Hilton Cheltenham. The hotel was originally built as a country seat for Naval Commander, Rear-Admiral Robert Mansell in the 19th century. Unfortunately, Mansell passed away in 1838 and his wife Frances continued to live at the property for the remainder of her life. Captain Shapland Swiny went on to buy the property and lived there happily for several years with his wife and two children.


In approximately 1855, Yorkshire merchant Thomas Thornley purchased the property and lived there with his wife, Elizabeth Cockle. Thornley passed away childless and due to there being no heir to the estate, it was then passed onto his cousin’s daughter, Mary Thornley Ollivant.


Mary married William Dugdale, which is how the property came to be under the Dugdale name, and when William died in 1896, the eldest daughter, Mary Ollivant Dugdale, inherited the house. Mary had married two years earlier and went on to live at Lilley Brook with her husband, the very distinguished Herbert Owen Lord, one of the original directors of the Cheltenham Racecourse Company, and member of three distinguished London clubs. The property now belonged to the Lords.

Herbert became the Master of the Cotswold Hunt and received numerous accolades in the newspapers for his skill. Mary became President of the Red Cross, holding a whole host of events at Lilley Brook to help raise funds.


In 1915, Mary held a special garden party for the wounded soldiers resting in local Red Cross hospitals and two of the notable guests included Cecilia Bowes-Lyons, the Countess of Strathmore and Lady Maud Bowes-Lyon, the mother and aunt of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.


In 1921, the Lord family sold the property and the following year it opened its doors to the public for the first time as a hotel, under the name, Lilley Brook.

During World War 2 the Lilley Brook Hotel was commandeered by the US 6th Armoured Division whose personnel and equipment were billeted throughout Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire in the run up to the D-Day landings.


Owned by a number of consortia after World War 2, the Lilley Brook Hotel was bought in 1995 by Paramount Hotels who changed its name to the Cheltenham Park Hotel.

The hotel ran under the name Lilley Brook for over 70 years until 1995, when the hotel was renamed as Cheltenham Park Hotel and held that title until 2017.


In 2017, the hotel underwent a £5 million refurbishment as part of a merge with the DoubleTree by Hilton franchise and is now managed by hotel management company, Michels & Taylor and owned by Michels Ventures.

Today, the grand home stands up to its illustrious ancestry with a stunning chequered marble foyer, curved oak staircase and framed pillars, all reminiscent of its Edwardian heyday.


Why not join us for a taste of DoubleTree by Hilton Cheltenham’s history?

View availability or call us on 01242 222021 to speak to a member of our team today.