A bed for the night in the Cotswolds

Where is it?

In genteel Chipping Campden, one of the Cotswolds' prettiest villages.

Describe the setting

This mellow-yellow Cotswold stone hotel looks likely to offer a traditional, country-inn experience. But step through the Regency portico and it's a different story. Contemporary design and state-of-the-art gizmos give this rural retreat a cool, urban air. But the principles of a good hotel have been strictly adhered to by owners Ian and Christa Taylor, starting with the basics: big, comfortable beds, bathrooms to wallow in and fine dining. The Taylors have been painstakingly refurbishing their hotel since they took over three years ago, hence slight incongruities of style between communal areas and the bedrooms.

Does it have a USP?

Design your own room: choose the weight of your duvet, the contents of your pillows, the potions in your bathroom, the movie you want to watch or music you want to listen to - even the booze in your mini-bar.

Comfort factor?

While the rooms are a little short on space, they're big on style and comfort. The king-size beds are dressed in white linen, with cashmere throws and abundant pillows. Stretch out on one of the chaises longues and flick through the channels on the Bang & Olufsen TV/DVD. The main house has 15 rooms plus five "cottages" in the garden (one has an outdoor hot tub). July will see the addition of The Old Grammar School Suite just up the road, an outpost apartment offering extra privacy with access to all the hotel's facilities.

What's in the bathroom?

With space at a premium, the bathrooms have had to be carved out of corners. But stylish tiles, chrome and porcelain, double baths, power showers and soft towels and robes mean high standards of comfort. The potion packages (from £55 to £95) include aromatherapy oils, salt scrubs and creams for every mood, accompanied by bottles of Bollinger, herbal teas and even Bathrobics CDs.

I'm hungry

You have two choices: Breakfast, lunch and bistro-style dinners are served in Hick's brasserie, a pleasant, light space at the front of the hotel. Try a generous Caesar salad, posh fish and chips, or sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream. Three courses £15.50, two courses £12.50. The Garden Room Restaurant offers a more formal, romantic atmosphere and overlooks the elegant townhouse garden. Again the theme is fresh, seasonal ingredients, delicately presented, such as seared red mullet with a ragout of mussels and clams, beef tenderloin with oxtail tortellini, and iced strawberry parfait with hot banana spring rolls. Three courses £38.

What are the people like?

The conference facilities (neatly tucked away) and honeymoon packages attract business and leisure guests. The bathrooms make it popular with couples. Staff are friendly but not intrusive.

Local interest?

The hotel holds special events, including wine-themed dinners and talks by garden designers. After you have exhausted the possibilities of the high street (mainly antique shops), visit equally pretty neighbours Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh. Warwick and Studeley castles, Hidcote, Kiftsgate, Upton and Bourton gardens are in easy reach. The hotel can organise ballooning and horseriding. Or you could walk the Cotswold Way.

What's the damage?

Guests get three nights for the price of two from Sunday to Thursday, including dinner, bed and breakfast from £235 to £400 per couple sharing a room or suite.

Access for all?

There is limited access for disabled people, with steps up to the hotel entrance and a cobbled and stepped walkway in the garden. Children are welcome.


Cotswold House Hotel, The Square, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6AN (01386 840330; www.cotswoldhouse.com).