Hotel of the Week: The Painswick Hotel


Where is it?: Snuggled in the heart of Painswick, probably the most picturesque of all Cotswold villages, where immaculate lawns, a timbered post office and stone cottages attract tourists by the coach-load - who depart at 4pm, leaving overnighters with this wonderful village to themselves. Address: Kemps Lane, Painswick, Gloucestershire GL6 6YB (tel: 01452 812160; fax: 01452 814059); net: www.painswickhotel.com).

Where is it?: Snuggled in the heart of Painswick, probably the most picturesque of all Cotswold villages, where immaculate lawns, a timbered post office and stone cottages attract tourists by the coach-load - who depart at 4pm, leaving overnighters with this wonderful village to themselves. Address: Kemps Lane, Painswick, Gloucestershire GL6 6YB (tel: 01452 812160; fax: 01452 814059); net: www.painswickhotel.com).

What's it like?As though you have stepped into a Regency drama. Owners Gareth and Helen Pugh have settled on the 1800s for their pride and joy, which means musty greens, yellow sedans and an eclectic choice of period-piece furniture, antiques and diverting trimmings. Restful views from the coffee rooms and drawing rooms of the Painswick Valley, which can be admired further from the drinks terrace in the summer. Library comes with large-scale model battleship. Look out for the huge wooden rabbit on the first floor.

Ambience?Entered the hotel to shrieks of laughter from reception, which sets the tone for a visit. Lack of pomposity, and guests are encouraged to curl up on the sofa with a book. Objets d'art are strategically placed, along with striped fabrics and antique furniture. Feel as though you should have packed pantaloons, gold waistcoat and wig.

Service?Staff are relaxed, friendly and not at all precious, which helps guests to behave likewise. Dinner and lunch are similarly informal: no ties required, and shaving optional.

Rooms?Astonishing. Each of the 19 rooms is themed, with period engravings. Many look out over the valley, and our choice had a four-poster bed, overdosing on deep Georgian blues, gold caskets, fireplace and twinned baths, complete with rubber ducks - and Scrabble board. Single rooms from £75, four-poster rooms £175.

Food and drink?Bar stocks Old Speckled Hen and the usual apéritifs as you peruse the à la carte menu. Leans towards fish, including salmon and shellfish. Table d'hÿte, £26 for three courses, including pavé of salmon and wild asparagus and local cheeses.

Things to do?St Mary's church - 99 yew trees. The devil, legend goes, will snaffle away the 100th yew should it be planted. Across the village, Rococo Gardens, created in the 1740s, with maze and nature trail to keep the kids busy.

Clientele?Americans after that quintessential English experience of yesteryear. Britons, on second or third visit.

Awards?AA Courtesy and Care award 1997; RAC Silver Award for dining; three-star AA and four-crown English Tourist Board.

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