When you're invited to a beautiful boutique hotel that lies smack bang in the middle of the idyllic Cotswolds, it goes into the diary in indelible ink. Last Thursday Luna and I bundled into the car and road-tripped to Gloucestershire, an area largely alien to me but one I've been keen to get on my radar. More specifically we were headed right into the heart of Chipping Campden – a picturesque village built entirely in signature honey-coloured Cotswold stone – to stay at the newly relaunched Cotswold House Hotel & Spa.
The afternoon got off to a somewhat strange start. After being pretty chuffed with myself at successfully negotiating a toytown-sized car park, we had a good post-journey stretch and happily skipped into reception only to be told they don't take dogs.
*Cue concerned face*
Panic was quickly resolved when it dawned on us I'd tried to check into the next door hotel. Where we were headed was indeed dog-friendly with a hallway that, upon setting foot inside, immediately evoked ideas of a welcoming country pile.
A sweeping spiral staircase, one of the building's original features, leads to rooms in the main body of the hotel, though we stayed in the Ashbee cottage tucked away in the gardens, which is perhaps one of the most spoiling set-ups I've been privy to (the pictures speak for themselves) PLUS it's dog-friendly. We're talking bed and bowl ready and waiting in separate dog quarters, though Luna was of course more interested in sharing in the Cotswolds experience with us in much closer proximity. And for us, a bathroom the size of any decent bedroom complete with massive shower, TV at the end of the bath and surround sound.
And any bedroom this pretty has my heart in an instant...
After toasting the relaunch of the hotel at a Tattinger-fuelled reception – including gin-tasting by the superb Cotswolds Distillery and Luna buttering up the barman for treats – we tucked into five melt-in-the-mouth courses at in-house, restaurant Fig, indulging in a wine-pairing menu of crab, ox-tail, hake, duck and spelt & coffee ice cream. While failing to keep up with the wine part, the food was pretty close to a dream menu situation which we happily saw through to the end before piling into a bed rivalling the size of our entire flat (sort of).
Breakfast followed in a similar vein offering all the options you'd hope for from pastries to a full English (though nothing beats smoked salmon and scrambled eggs does it?)
Twenty hours in paradise concluded with a blissed-out spa session and a Decleor Ultimate Vitamin Glow facial, which opened with a muscle-melting back-crunching massage before sinking into a big squashy neck cushion. A power-pack of vitamins, anti-oxidants and stress-busting massage techniques ensued as the therapist worked all kinds of wonder miracles on my already-mourning-summer skin.
Above | When you want to shoot your post-treatment sorbet but it's too late
And you can't come to this neck of the woods without paying a visit to two major players: