A bed for the night in Gloucestershire

The location

The location

Cotswold House's attempt to take over quaint Chipping Campden moves on apace. First, the owners Ian and Christa Taylor transformed the chintzy hotel on the town's square into a must-stay for metropolitan sorts. Then, in 2003, they reopened the former grammar school as a luxury two-bedroom suite. This summer, they took over the nearby Noel Arms Hotel.

But rewind a moment to the 17th-century schoolhouse, once one of the oldest schools in the country, if not the oldest, because this is your destination. The space within these honey-coloured stone walls has been remodelled to provide a living area, kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The long and low Baptist Hicks Room, where pupils studied until the 1960s, has been carefully arranged to provide a sitting room, drawing room and dining room. Set below pavement level, it oozes character with its high beamed ceiling and two stone fireplaces, one bearing a bust of the school's founder, John Fereby.

Step up through an arch to the large fitted kitchen, two double bedrooms and the bathrooms. Outside, there's a small patio and parking. Unfortunately, you can hear people in the flat above, but it's not too bad.


King Charles II might have stayed in the Noel Arms in 1651, but the film star Johnny Depp slept here this summer.

The comfort factor

Hotel service in the privacy of an apartment. Now that's comfortable. Just as in the main house, classic and contemporary designs are tastefully mixed to create stylish and luxurious surroundings. The kitchen is well equipped with quality gadgets by Alessi. The beds are made impossibly cosy with wool underblankets and Frette linen - fusspots can even choose their bedding from a menu. The living area has antique furnishings, original art and a 42in plasma screen TV with DVD and CD system and library of films. I can't help heaping praise on the place because few hotels get it as right as Cotswold House.

The bathroom

You mean the bathrooms plural, because one bedroom has its own en suite. Smart and clean, they are supplied with Hermes toiletries, plump towels and soft robes.

The food and drink

If you don't fancy popping over to the hotel's à la carte restaurant, Juliana's, or the bistro, Hick's Brasserie, the chef will prepare dinner for you in the suite's kitchen.

The people

Couples, families, business people, lots of weekend guests come from London.

The area

Take a trip to Westonbirt - The National Arboretum, near Tetbury, to see its autumn display. Jump racing resumes this week at nearby Cheltenham Racecourse.

The access

There are a few steps to negotiate but the suite is generally on one level with wheelchair access. Children and pets welcome.

The damage

The suite costs £595 per night for the first two nights. Stay three to six nights and pay £550 per night, or seven nights or more for £500 per night. The price is on a b&b basis. These prices are a little easier to swallow when you consider four of you can share the bill.

The address

Grammar School Suite, Cotswold House Hotel, The Square, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6AN (0l386 840330; www.cotswoldhouse.com).

Kate Simon travelled courtesy of National Car Rental (0870 400 4560; www.nationalcar.co.uk) which offers three-day car hire from £52.