Formerly the Painswick Hotel, this beautiful Cotswold stone hideaway was taken over by the interior designer and first-time hotelier Marchella De Angelis in the summer of 2006.
De Angelis, a joint founder of the super-trendy Lounge Lover bar in Shoreditch, east London, spent a year giving the hotel a badly needed refurbishment after a long period of neglect, and it reopened in August. While its handsome Palladian-style façade suggests a very traditional country house hotel interior, inside De Angelis has turned such preconceptions completely on their head.
Walk into the entrance hall and you'll be greeted by the sight of a shiny silver haute couture mannequin from the Seventies. The walls are painted in slate grey, broken up with colourful modern art. Venture into the bar, and you'll find yourself transported back to the Sixties by the bold black and white patterned wallpaper, bright yellow leather seats and funky wall-lights.
In fact, the whole hotel is a collision of styles, from the 18th-century dresser and Sixties chairs (re-upholstered in period fabric) in the library, to the Art Deco furniture in several of the bedrooms and the child mannequin from the Fifties that stands in an upper floor stairwell. You may think it wouldn't work, but somehow it does.
The building itself was believed to have belonged originally to the neighbouring St Mary's Church – renowned for its 99 yew trees – and the objects De Angelis has filled it with match that history perfectly. With such gems as Murano glass fish (from De Angelis's personal collection) in the bathrooms, and a horse's head from an early Victorian merry-go-round sitting on the window ledge in the library, it's almost like a gallery as well as a hotel. The building is Grade II-listed, so the fabric has not been touched, while many original features have been unveiled, such as Arts and Crafts panels in the restaurant and fireplaces in the bedrooms.
Cotswolds88hotel, Kemps Lane, Painswick, Gloucestershire (01452 813 688; www.cotswolds88hotel.com). The hotel is perched on a hill in the heart of the archetypical Cotswold village of Painswick.
Time from nearest mainline station: Stroud is four miles down the road, about seven minutes' drive away.
The hotel has 18 guest rooms, each individually decorated and filled with curiosities and furniture from various periods. All have flat-screen TVs and luxurious king-size beds with orthopaedic mattresses. Bathrooms have either Jacuzzi baths or walk-in power showers, or a combination of both. In some bedrooms the style is more radical than others; for instance, some guests may find the room with the Leigh Bowery wallpaper – covered in smiley faces of the outrageous performance artist and fashion designer – not quite to their taste.
Talking of taste, the 88Room restaurant is designed in a more neutral, easy-on-the-eye kind of way, and the food isn't likely to offend either. Using predominantly organic ingredients, the seasonally changing menu features interesting and inherently healthy dishes, with a good range of vegetarian options. A sample of the menu items would include cumin marinated lamb with feta, medjool dates and honey cider vinaigrette; corn-fed chicken with roast butternut squash; and roast globe artichokes with kohlrabi, oyster mushrooms, asparagus and truffle dressing.
Freebies: Mineral water, Kiehl's toiletries.
Keeping in touch: Direct-dial telephones in bedrooms, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Rooms start at £176, including continental breakfast.
I'm not paying that: St Anne's bed and breakfast (01452 812 879; www.st-annes-painswick.co.uk), right in the heart of the town, offers double rooms from £60 a night with breakfast.