One year on and the world seems a different place. Masks, hand gel and social distancing have become part of our everyday life yet the warm welcome from a hotelier remains the same. A genuine smile, an eagerness to please.
It’s another cold weekend in the middle of winter but I’m wrapped up in a warm woollen coat topped with a bobble hat. Quite fitting really as I’m in the heart of the Cotswolds, once a rich trading centre for the wool industry back in the Middle Ages.
Set in rural Gloucestershire, Chipping Campden reflects its very own woven roots. Peep into the cubby-hole windows of stone-terraced shops and you will find fleecy toys, rugs and throws on display while other artisan crafts spill out onto pavements to attract tourists exploring this picturesque region of England.
How about scones or cake? Traditional afternoon tea is served in quaint teashops, many steeped in history with their own story to tell. And amidst this chocolate box environment, bagging the enviable location overlooking the market square, is the honey coloured Cotswolds House Hotel and Spa positioned proudly, just like the bobble on my woollen hat!
Originating in 1815, this Grade 11 Regency town house was built as a private home and from as early as 1920 it has been welcoming guests. Today it stands as a contemporary-styled boutique hotel with 28 rooms and three suites, a bistro, formal restaurant and spa.
Decorated with country-chic touches of design, an attractive spiral staircase leads to the guest-rooms. The suites are stylish and spacious with a flow-through lounge area and bedroom with all mod-cons and zany lighting. The bathrooms are light and airy, complete with The White Company toiletries. Many look out over the manicured gardens which reveal cut away crevices to hide and seek relaxation areas with a mesmerising water feature in the centre. Calm, quiet and tranquil.
Dining offerings include The Bistro with its casual atmosphere and the Fig Restaurant for fine-dining.
At the end of the garden lies the spa, housed in a separate building. It’s small and compact yet big on friendliness and care. The expert therapist team works hard to ensure every guest benefits from the experience, whether it’s time in the hydrotherapy pool or indulging in one of the treatments. Be sure to visit the spa early evening to enjoy dimmed lighting and the peaceful ambience while relaxing on one of the loungers.
Cosy, warm and stylish are hallmarks of a stay here while outside evidence of its wool history and artisan styles weave through this medieval town. St James’ Church, otherwise known as the “wool church”, was built around 500 years ago with money from the wool trade. Grevel House with its decorated windows and sundial is the oldest dwelling in the town and was built by one of the most influential wool traders in the country. The Cotswold stone buildings which form the long, curved terraced high street were built by the wealthy merchants between the 14th and 17th centuries.
In 1902 guildsmen from London brought their trades to the area, changing the focus to arts and crafts. Bohemian wood carvers, furniture makers, silversmiths, jewellers, enamellers, blacksmiths and cabinet makers – they introduced their skills to enhance the picturesque backdrop of the churches, pubs and cotton mills of the area.
The Noel Arms Hotel, the town’s oldest inn, is a sister property to the Cotswold House Hotel just a stone’s throw away. It attracts curry lovers to its restaurant and, not surprising, given that it holds the Best Pub Curry Chef Award as judged by the Great British Pub Food Awards.
Narrow lanes, corner stores and sheep in woolly coats dotted on the hillside are trademarks of the area. And set amidst this is the Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa, perfect for exploring the rural countryside in your snug jumper and bobble hat or just relaxing in the cosy chic ambiance of this Regency style boutique town house.
Rooms at The Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa from £140 B&B in winter, £180 B&B in summer
Jane Wilson is editor of www.TheWellnessTraveller.co.uk