ONE of Malvern's most gloriously located hotels is about to begin a complete £2.5m refurbishment project.

The 30-bedroom Cottage in the Wood, a favourite of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, lies off Holywell Road, high on the Malvern Hills with panoramic views across the Severn Vale. Starting in January with the restoration of The Main House back to its Georgian glory, the project will honour the property and the surrounding area's history, including links with literary greats and good friends C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and the composer Sir Edward Elgar.

Nick and Julia Davies bought The Cottage in the Wood in July 2015. Mr Davies, a former management consultant, and Mrs Davies , a market insight manager in the pharmaceuticals industry, had lived in Shoreditch for 20 years. They decided they wanted to dedicate themselves to a project of their own that would make use of their strategic and marketing skills and satisfy their appetites for travel and hotels.

Mrs Davies explained: "We are just starting out on an exciting journey with the aim of turning the Cottage in the Wood into a destination hotel, restaurant and bar that sits beautifully within its wondrous location in the heart of the Malvern Hills. The two AA Rosette restaurant 1919 will be refurbished in January. Georgian grey, stunning nature-themed aesthetics, classic modern chandeliers and mirrors to reflect the spectacular views over the Malvern Hills will be incorporated into the redesign by the London-based interior design studio Nelson Design. In the kitchen, new head chef Mark Redwood has just joined the team after nine years at the Old Passage in Gloucestershire. He will introduce a menu of modern British cuisine, incorporating local produce from Malvern, the Cotswolds and Herefordshire."

Elsewhere in The Main House, the design will create cosy, colourful and eclectic areas, with deep blue bookcases stacked with literary classics, design books and more. Georgian green walls will be adorned with old photographs of the local area, an image of Elgar and a contemporary painting of a traditional Malvern gas lamp by a local artist.

Built in 1791The Cottage in the Wood was part of the Blackmore Park Estate until 1902, owned by Thomas Charles Hornyold and then John Vincent Gandolphi. J.R.R. Tolkien drew a lot of inspiration from Malvern and he allegedly invented the name Gandalf after hearing the name Gandolphi.

In 1919 the property opened as tea rooms and in the 1920s, Sir Edward Elgar performed in the Coach House before it became hotel rooms.

In the 1980s Baroness Thatcher was a frequent guest and her favourite room was number 35.