Wrapped up in the Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa
It’s a cold January weekend and I’m wrapped up in a warm woollen coat. 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.
Chipping Campden in rural Gloucestershire still reflects its woven roots. On show are fleecy toys, rugs and throws decorating cubby-hole windows of stone terraced shops while artisan crafts spill out onto pavements to attract the many tourists exploring this picturesque region of England. Traditional afternoon tea is served in the many quaint teashops, many steeped in history with a 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 like the bobble on a woollen hat.
This Grade 11 Regency town house was built in 1815 as a private home and from as early as 1920 it has been welcoming guests. After expansion which included the adjoining coach house, it is today a contemporary-styled boutique hotel with 28 attractive guest rooms and three suites, a bistro, formal restaurant and spa.
Friendly and cosy are certainly key attributes at the heart of this place. A spiral staircase leads to the rooms decorated with country-chic touches of design. The suites are very stylish and spacious with a flow through lounge area and bedroom with mod-cons and zany lighting to go with it. The bathrooms are light and airy and complete with The White Company toiletries. Many look out over the manicured gardens which reveal cut away crevices to hide and seek peace and relaxation areas with a mesmerising water feature in the centre. Calm and quiet and tranquil.
The Bistro is a popular venue for guests and locals with a buzzy atmosphere and good service. The gin tasting sessions are a novelty, boasting an impressive list of over 87 different kinds. For fine dining, there is the Fig Restaurant and for something different, there’s a choice of three or five tasting menus. Chef’s choice dishes, such as Braised Beef Shin in Jack Daniels Sauce or Pan-Fried Sea Trout in Sauce Visage, are well worth savouring.
At the end of the garden is a separate building housing the spa. Small, compact and extremely friendly, the expert therapist team works hard to ensure every guest benefits from the experience, whether it’s time in the hydrotherapy pool and corner jacuzzi, the steam room or one of the many treatments. From vitamin facials, aromatherapy wraps, a pepper & grapefruit detox to Shellec manicures, eyelash tints and a menu for men, the list is varied. The signature aroma blend refine and firm massage is recommended. After selecting my choice of oil, (geranium), pressure (firm) and specific focus (shoulders), the hour was pure bliss, leaving behind many a knotted muscle and stressed thought. Be sure to visit the spa early evening to enjoy dimmed lighting and the relaxing 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. It was once the journey’s end for London coaches for key associations such as the Trustees of the Turnpike Roads and the Oxford Association of Particular Baptist Churches where their meetings and key events took place in the Assembly Room on the first floor.
Fluffy souvenirs, local arts, narrow lanes passing village pubs, corner stores and stone terraced houses form the portrait of the Cotswolds. Amidst this, the Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa offers sparkling, spa and seasonal breaks throughout the year laced with gastro specialities and warm service. Its perfect location is convenient to explore the picturesque countryside dotted with sheep with their woolly coats and you in your snug jumpers and bobble hats wrapped up in the warmth of the Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa.
Rooms at The Cotswolds House Hotel & Spa from £140 B&B in winter, £180 B&B in summer