Right on the main square in picture-postcard Chipping Campden in the heart of the Cotswolds, this hotel has an established reputation for service, for attention to detail and for brilliantly blending the old and the new. A bit of a weekend retreat for English city slickers, it has the added advantage of location . . . it's close to Cheltenham for the races and not far from Westonbirt, near Tetbury, where you'll be able to enjoy Britain's National Arboretum.
What's the best thing?
The Old Grammar School suite . . . opened last year as a luxury, self-contained, twobedroomed suite . . . has all the advantage of hotel-style service but with apartment-style privacy. The space within these 17th century, honey-coloured stone walls has been remodelled to provide a living area, kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
One long, low room has been carefully arranged to provide a sittingroom, drawingroom and diningroom, and it simply oozes character with its highbeamed ceiling and its two stone fireplaces. Like the main hotel, decor is a mix of classic and contemporary. Beds come with Frette linen and cashmere underblankets, the kitchen with Alessi gadgets, and the bathrooms with Hermes toiletries and luxuriously soft robes. And if you don't fancy dining in the hotel restaurant, the chef will prepare dinner for you in the suite's kitchen.
Will it break the bank?
The Old Grammar School suite costs just under 900 a night for the first two nights, with the cost dropping marginally on subsequent nights. This includes breakfast. These prices are easier to swallow when you consider that up to four of you can share. A double room in the main hotel is priced from 350 per night while a special midweek offer will get you (and your partner) two nights dinner, bed and breakfast for 700.
Birmingham, 35 miles away.
Want to know more?
Cotswold House Hotel, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England.
Telephone: 0044 1386 840330; www. cotswold house. com