Lauren Fraser is whisked away to Cotswolds minimoon destination, Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, to experience the fairytale for herself…
As you near Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, located in the heart of the chocolate box Cotswolds town of Chipping Campden, you begin to realise just how romantic your getaway will be. After leaving the M5, you’ll spend 30 minutes cruising down country roads. The journey is framed by forests, rolling hills and quaint country villages in turn. And despite being such a dreamy drive, things only get more idyllic once you arrive.
The honey-coloured stone of Cotswold House Hotel & Spa blends beautifully with its characterful neighbours, but step inside and the luxury soars to an entirely new level. Armchairs with over-sized, watercolour cushions will invite you to sink into them, but the attentive staff will also whisk you to your room, cottage or, in our case, suite as soon as you’re ready.
WHERE TO STAY
We were lucky enough to stay in one of their luxurious suites. We entered ours into the living room, where a feature coffee table, plush sofa and widescreen television offer the perfect spot for a cuddle over coffee (there’s a cafetiere waiting for you, too).
Move through to the bathroom and you’ll pass an impressive glass wall and an even more impressive freestanding stone bathtub, which quite literally is the size of a small boat! There’s also a walk-in shower and Orla Kiely products. Bath time here could be nothing but a pleasure.
Next comes the bedroom. Spacious and sophisticated in style, the huge bed beckons for you to sink into after a day of exploring and an evening of dining. And when you do wake again, it’ll be to a view. This suite comes with French doors opening onto your own private courtyard, perfect for morning coffee a deux.
To enhance the feel of exclusivity, the suite is also positioned in the corner of the hotel, beside a separate front door to that of the main reception. You’ll find the key with your suite key, so you can come and go with a greater sense of privacy, if you wish.
WHAT TO DO
At the end of the hotel’s garden, you’ll find the tranquilly located spa. There’s an extensive treatment menu available for you to book, as well as spa facilities open to all guests. We enjoyed a dip in the hydrotherapy pool and a turn in the steamy hammam during our stay. Once we’d had a soak and steam, we retired to the poolside loungers in our robes to flick through a glossy magazine with a cup of herbal tea in hand. The experience was utterly relaxing and replenishing, and we hadn’t even booked a treatment!
As you walk to the spa, you’ll brush by the cottage garden style planting that extends the length of the hotel’s pretty garden. Venture off the beaten track and along one of the paths to the side, however, and you’ll discover intimate seating areas created by cleverly curved box hedging. We found them to be perfect places to relax, or to soak up the sun if the weather’s better. Even in October, the garden looked glorious, so we can only imagine the show come summer.
The Ernest Wilson Memorial Gardens are also just a short walk down the road. Step through the gate and an exotic collection of Chinese specimens, including beautiful rhododendrons, awaits. Again, there are romantic nooks with benches from which to take it all in.
Check the local events calendar before your trip. Our stay happily coincided with an antiques market. The fifty-year-old books we returned home with now offer a picturesque reminder of an even more picturesque getaway. What better way to remember your romantic Cotswolds minimoon?
WHERE TO EAT
The Bistro offers excellent food and drink in a lower key, laid-back setting. Evenings spent here are made extra special by the opportunity to enjoy a gin tasting, too.
For a Cotswolds minimoon, though, we recommend that you dine at The Fig. The fine dining branch of Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, you’ll be able to choose from a menu or opt for the five-course tasting menu. We opted for the former, delighting in a pork belly and smoked potato starter, exquisitely cooked beef fillet main and pear mousse dessert. There were also two amuse bouches – one before the starter and one before the dessert – so the experience really does feel decadent.
If you book a table, which we recommend you do, request one positioned by the Orangery-style windows. Dinner will feel all the more intimate and romantic as a result, with garden views.
Breakfast is also taken in The Fig. and is no less of a delight. There’s a range of cooked options from which to choose, although their signature take on the classic Full English is certainly not to be missed. Just leave a little room to delve into the Continental spread of fresh fruit salads, yoghurts and pastries too!
WHY WE LOVE IT
Cotswold House Hotel & Spa really does have the best of both worlds. You’re situated in the heart of some of Britain’s best countryside, in a charming, postcard-worthy town, and yet there is still plenty to do, come rain or shine. There’s also total luxury, foodie heaven and pampering on tap… that’s every box ticked on our minimoon wish list!
For reservations and enquiries, visit bespokehotels.com/cotswoldhouse or call 01386 840330.
Rates start from around £150 per night.