Rectory Hotel

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MELLOW COTSWOLD STONE WALLS AND GABLED WINDOWS lend this Georgian country house near Malmesbury real olde-worlde appeal. Once the village rectory to the Saxon church next door, Rectory Hotel looks like a quintessential Cotswold manor.

This pleasing 17th century house has been given a big shot of contemporary design flair. The result is an appealingly shabby-chic retreat with squashy leather sofas, plump cushions and open log fires making for a supremely relaxed place to stay.

Period details are overlaid with decidely modern accents. You can sip a cocktail and nibble olives by the fire in the  lounge bar, with its collection of ornamental glass, or perch on claret-coloured stools by the leather trimmed bar. An eclectic mix of antiques, junk shop finds – nicely set off with bold prints – are matched with style.

Victorian walled garden

Bedrooms have a touch of country-cottage simplicity, with polished Victorian wardrobes, pristine white bed covers, wool throws and soft floral fabrics. Many have wooden beams and original fireplaces, while hand sprung mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets promise a blissful night’s kip. Restful colours and bathrooms stocked with Arran Aromatics body care products pile on the comfort factor.

Overlooking the Beatrix Potter-esque garden with its sunken lily pond, the Rectory’s wood panelled restaurant stretches into a light and airy conservatory. Crisp napkins, bare wood tables and modish glassware lend an open bistro feel. The chef’s much-lauded modern British menu puts the emphasis firmly on fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients.

If things look good inside Rectory Hotel, they’re even better outside. Three acres of beautifully tended Victorian walled gardens, dotted with modern sculptures, wrap the manor in lush surrounds almost big enough to get lost in. Push up the sash windows in your room to breathe in the scent of flowers – there are garden views from all bedrooms.

Play a round of croquet or boules on the lawn or have a dip in the outdoor heated swimming pool – a real plus. Flop on a sun lounger on hot summer days while you sip a Pimms.

You’re on the edge of the Cotswolds here – a great base for exploring the area’s historic towns and villages. While this is undoubtedly a family friendly place (with many guests arriving en famille), The Rectory is also a place for just chilling à deux. Its friendly and informal vibe makes it just the place for some unpretentious R&R.

© Room for Romance

Rectory Hotel was reviewed by Room for Romance

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